G is for Gentian violet

June 27, 2023

Gentian violet is an antiseptic dye that has been used since the 1890’s. It has antifungal and some antibacterial activity and has been used historically in podiatry as a topical treatment for a number of skin conditions, commonly interdigital. It is not used much now.

Gentian violet, also known as crystal violet or methyl violet 10B, is a synthetic dye with antifungal and antiseptic properties. It has been used for various medical purposes for over a century. Gentian violet is primarily known for its antifungal properties. It is effective against a wide range of fungi, including Candida species, which can cause fungal infections in the mouth (thrush), skin, and nails. Additionally, it has mild antiseptic properties, helping to prevent infection in minor cuts, burns, and wounds.

Gentian violet has been used in various medical applications. It was commonly used as a topical treatment for fungal infections before the introduction of newer antifungal medications. Gentian violet is still used in some countries as an inexpensive and effective treatment for oral thrush in infants. It is also used in the preparation of microscope slides for staining certain types of cells and tissues.

Gentian violet works by binding to the fungal cell wall and disrupting its structure. This prevents the growth and multiplication of fungi, eventually leading to their death. It is effective against both yeast and filamentous forms of fungi.

Gentian violet is a vivid purple dye that has staining properties. It is commonly used in laboratories for staining bacteria and various types of cells. It helps visualize the presence and morphology of microorganisms under a microscope.

Gentian violet may cause skin irritation or allergic reactions in some individuals. It can also stain the skin, clothing, or other surfaces it comes into contact with. Care should be taken to avoid ingestion or contact with eyes. It is not recommended for use in pregnant women or infants without medical supervision.

Gentian violet is available as a liquid solution or in the form of a powder. It can be found in various concentrations, typically ranging from 0.5% to 2%. It may be sold over-the-counter or require a prescription, depending on the country and its intended use. Gentian violet is banned in some countries.


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