Gentian violet is a water
soluble dye (coloring substance) used primarily in medicine to stain
bacteria, but also in other histological procedures.
It is not
derived from gentians, but got its name since it is pink-violet like some
gentians in the genera of Centaurium,
violet is derived from coal tar. Another
common name for gentian violet is crystal violet, and it is
also called Andergon, Aniline Violet, Axuris,
Badil, Basic Violet 3, Brilliant Violet 5B, C.I. 42555, Gentiaverm, Hexamethyl-p-Rosaniline
Chloride, Hexamethylpararosaniline Chloride, Meroxylan, Meroxyl, Methylrosaniline Chloride, Methyl Violet 10BNS,
Methylvioletti, Mythyrosailine Chloride, Pyoctaninum Caeruleum, Pyoktanin, Vianin, Viocid,
and Viola Crystallina.
Gentian violet has been used
in forensics to develop fingerprints (link,
are often divided up in two categories: "Gram-positive"
Gentian violet stains Gram-positive bacteria blue-violet. The
Joachim Gram discovered this in 1884, and the
still used today.
Gentian violet is also a good
topical treatment for yeast infections or thrush caused by the fungi
Candida albicans, but it stains skin purple. Its antifungal
properties as been known for a long time and it is still being used as
an over-the-counter treatment in Europe and North America. Gentian
violet is not completely harmless and is considered carcinogenic after
tests with feeding mice with large doses of this chemical.
Material Safety Data Sheet for Gentian Violet
Note: The GENTIAN
RESEARCH NETWORK do not endorse or encourage the use of gentians or
gentian-derived products for any medicinal purposes or as a cure for
specific diseases and ailments. The information is listed here for
educational purposes only. The health value and safety of any of these
plants and products has not been evaluated by us and we do not recommend
any of them for medicinal use.