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Home / Drugs / Starting with G / Gentian Violet
Gentian Violet

A dye that is a mixture of violet rosanilinis with antibacterial, antifungal, and anthelmintic properties. [PubChem]
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Basic Violet 3
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Basic Violet-3
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Calcozine Violet C
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Crystal Violet AO
Crystal Violet AON
Crystal Violet base
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Crystal Violet chloride salt
Crystal Violet Extra Pure
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Crystal Violet O
Crystal Violet Pure DSC
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Crystal Violet SS
Crystal Violet Technical
Crystal Violet USP
gentian violet gr
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Hecto Violet R
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Hexamethyl Violet
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Methyl Violet 10B
Methyl Violet 10BD
Methyl Violet 10BK
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Violet CP
Violet XXIII
CategoriesAnti-Infective Agents, Local
ManufacturersSavage laboratories inc div altana inc
Key pharmaceuticals inc sub schering plough corp
SynonymsCrystal Violet


For the treatment of bacterial and fungal infections inside the mouth (thrush) and skin, also for the prevention of transmission of Chagas' disease (as a blood additive).


Gentian violet is a mutagen, a mitotic poison, and a clastogen. Gentian violet has been used in medicine for almost 100 years: as an antiseptic for external use, as a topical antibiotic, as a topical antifungal agent, as an antihelminthic agent by oral administration, and more recently, as a blood additive to prevent transmission of Chagas' disease. It is thought to work by binding to the DNA of target organisms and causing disruption, mutation or inhibition of DNA replication.

mechanism of action

In aqueous solutions Gentian violet (GV) dissociates into positive (GV+)and negative ions (Cl-) that penetrate through the wall and membrane of both gram-positive and gram-negative bacterial cells. The GV+ interacts with negatively charged components of bacterial cells including the lipopolysaccharide (on the cell wall), the peptidoglycan and DNA. A similar cell penetration and DNA binding process is thought to take place for fungal cells as well. Because Gentian violet is a mutagen and mitotic poison, cell growth is consequently inhibited. A photodynamic action of gentian violet, apparently mediated by a free-radical mechanism, has recently been described in bacteria and in the protozoan T. cruzi. Evidence also suggests that gentian violet dissipates the bacterial (and mitochondrial) membrane potential by inducing permeability. This is followed by respiratory inhibition. This anti-mitochondrial activity might explain gentian violet's efficacy towards both bacteria and yeast with relatively mild effects on mammalian cells.


LD50=420 mg/kg (rat, oral). Oral administration can cause gastrointestinal irritation, and intravenous injection can cause depression in the white blood cell count.


Primarily hepatic, mostly demethylation