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What Are the Medicinal Uses of Gentian Violet?

Gentian violet, a time-honored remedy, boasts antifungal properties, making it a go-to for treating thrush and athlete's foot. Its antiseptic qualities also aid in minor cuts and abrasions. Intrigued by its vivid hue and healing prowess? Discover how this vibrant compound can be a colorful ally in your medicine cabinet. What other benefits might it hold? Continue exploring with us.
Jennifer Mackin
Jennifer Mackin

Gentian violet is a type of medicinal anti-fungal used to treat fungal infections on the skin or inside the mouth. A doctor may prescribe it for ringworm, athlete’s foot, or thrush. Gentian violet is also available over-the-counter (OTC) in many places. As its name indicates, this medicine includes an antiseptic dying agent that can stain the skin and clothes purple.

When applying the medicine for a fungal infection on the skin, a person should be careful during application of the gentian violet and use it exactly as described on the bottle or by a doctor. Using the medicine too often or using too much can cause irritation to the surrounding healthy skin. To ensure that the medicine only gets on the infected skin, a cotton swab should be used. Skin irritation can also occur if the area is bandaged after application, so the infected area should not be covered.

Gentian violet is sometimes used to treat athlete's foot.
Gentian violet is sometimes used to treat athlete's foot.

Sometimes the gentian violet can cause more irritation to the infected area. If the fungal infection worsens, the skin becomes hot to the touch, or starts to ooze pus, a doctor should be contacted immediately. Another possible side effect is skin sores. This normally occurs in areas where there are skin folds, such as between the toes or the underside of the breasts. To help prevent this from happening, a person should wait until the medicine is completely dry before putting on his or her clothing or shoes.

The medication should not be used on open sores. Doing so can cause tattooing of the skin. This is occurs when the dye seeps deep into the skin and permanently stains it, like a tattoo.

Gentian violet can be used to treat oral thrush.
Gentian violet can be used to treat oral thrush.

Gentian violet can also be used to help get rid of thrush, which is an overgrowth of yeast often found on the inside of a baby’s mouth. The anti-fungal agent in the medicine can help fight the yeast. Treating thrush with gentian violet should be done exactly as prescribed, since the anti-fungal should not be swallowed. Typically, a light coating should be applied directly to the white patches inside the baby’s mouth. Petroleum jelly can be applied before the treatment to keep the baby’s lips from being stained purple.

Doctors often prescribe gentian violet to treat oral fungal infections.
Doctors often prescribe gentian violet to treat oral fungal infections.

Some people are allergic to the active ingredients in gentian violet. Anyone who has allergies to any type of food, dyes, or food preservatives should tell the prescribing physician and use caution when using this product. A serious allergic reaction may include trouble breathing and swelling of the tongue or throat.

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    • Gentian violet is sometimes used to treat athlete's foot.
      By: roblan
      Gentian violet is sometimes used to treat athlete's foot.
    • Gentian violet can be used to treat oral thrush.
      By: adam88xx
      Gentian violet can be used to treat oral thrush.
    • Doctors often prescribe gentian violet to treat oral fungal infections.
      By: JackF
      Doctors often prescribe gentian violet to treat oral fungal infections.
    • Signs of an allergy may include swelling of the throat.
      By: DDRockstar
      Signs of an allergy may include swelling of the throat.
    • Gentian violet is available over-the-counter in some areas.
      By: Tyler Olson
      Gentian violet is available over-the-counter in some areas.
    • Gentian violet may be used to treat ringworm.
      By: schankz
      Gentian violet may be used to treat ringworm.