Thursday, January 31, 2013

Thrush and the Use of Gentian Violet


Gentian violet sounds like it would come from a lovely plant and the dark bluish-violet color would indicate the same.  However, this substance actually comes from coal tar.  Historically gentian violet was used for staining bacteria so that it would be easier to study.  Today, it is used as a treatment for stubborn cases of thrush.

Thrush is a fungal infection in the mouth and a type of candida infection.  Adults sometimes experience the discomfort of this type of infection even though most commonly thrush is associated with infants.  The first course of action in treating thrush on an infant is to sterilize the bottles and toys that the baby may put in his or her mouth frequently.  If that doesn’t work, sometimes a physician will recommend using an antifungal cream or gentian violet.



Gentian violet has a strong antifungal property that penetrates deep into the skin.  The treatment is often applied to a woman’s breast during breastfeeding as well to ensure that the fungal infection is not passed back and forth from infant to mother.

A definite concern of this method goes much deeper than the potential it has for staining clothes.  Gentian violet used in excess has been linked to cancer in Australian laboratory studies.  This is definitely a frightening prospect when it comes to healing an infant.

The other tricky thing about thrush is that it causes sores and pain in the mouth.  Nobody likes to see an infant suffer and unlike an adult you cannot ask a baby to use a special mouthwash that they can swish around. 

Since thrush is caused by an imbalance of the mouth between yeast and healthy bacteria, one treatment commonly used is to introduce healthy bacteria into the mouth of the infant.  For mild infections, this can restore the balance the body needs without introducing a harsher substance.

As mentioned, frequent sterilizing of items that infants put in their mouth is another great course of action to prevent thrush from ever arising.  Bottles and toys should be washed frequently.

Another great tip is to use a clean washcloth to wipe the baby’s mouth after each feeding.  This practice is recommended by dental health practitioners in an effort to create a clean balance in the infant’s mouth prior to teething.  The wiping practice will actually assist the baby in having healthier teeth into adulthood.



Prevention is key when it comes to thrush.  Adults can use a variety of alternative solutions for stopping thrush including:

1.)  Apply peppermint oil to the toothbrush when brushing.  This not only reduces the burning and irritation experienced with an infection of the mouth.  Peppermint oil has antifungal properties that bode well for fending off candida in the mouth.  Dilute this oil with a carrier oil such as coconut oil.

2.)  Aloe.  Food grade aloe vera has antimicrobial properties that lend to a surprising amount of relief.  This plant has become famous for its ability to relieve the itching and burning associated with sunburn.  It also alleviates the discomfort felt by those experiencing a thrush inflammation of the mouth.

3.)  Coconut oil.  This oil has the miraculous ability to dissolve the cell walls of harmful yeast and bacteria while allowing healthy bacteria to thrive.  An excellent topical solution for thrush, it can be mixed with peppermint oil and aloe to form a sort of mouthwash for those suffering from thrush.



It is important to exhibit extra care with babies as their environment plays a key role in their development.  Ask your physician before undertaking any type of alternate remedy for yourself or your child.  Ask your doctor about aloe and coconut oil as a potential remedy for thrush in infants.  Essential oil is not recommended for use with infants.