Potassium Permanganate: Benefits & Medical Uses

Potassium permanganate (KMnO4) is a very common chemical substance, where you can find at most chemist’s  shops. It’s cheap and effective, here are two main features:

  1. Available in purple solution or purple crystalline form
  2. An inorganic compound that can be soluble in water

Also known as permanganate of potash and Condi’s crystals, it is very useful for variety of chemical uses because of its strong oxidizing properties. In medical applications, it has also benefits as below:

  1. Being an antiseptic
  2. Used in treatment of toenail fungus or fungicide
  3. Used in purification of water in the past (Now this practice is discontinued as it can lead to stains on teeth)

Medical Uses:

Crystals of potassium permanganate are widely used in treating some kinds of skin conditions being as a purple solution after dissolved in warm water, these conditions include fungicide, dermatitis and eczema. This is found to be very effective in treatment of the skin conditions, however there is also a problem connected with this treatment option. It can result in discoloring on towel or other material in bathing because of the formation of  stains. We can control the concentration of the solution to settle this problem, it becomes a pink color when the concentration is 1:10,000 and blackish color if excess dissolved.

In the earlier years  potassium permanganate was used in continuous urine infections, vulvovaginitis, vaginal thrush and even vaginal douche after childbirth.

Used in Fisheries:

As a chemical oxidizing agent, potassium permanganate has also been used in treating diseases in the fish caused by infections of bacterium and fungus or parasite. It can improve the quality of water in fish pond by oxidizing the organic matter just like bacteria and algae to be dissolved in water, so it can increase the oxygen for the fish. But we should note the quantity of this chemical compound should be controlled, the excessive will lead to the death of the fish. So it’s important to measure the water volume in pond in order to get the exact quantity of crystals required.

Water Purification:

This type of chemical substance is used for purification of water to remove iron and magnesium. These metals impart an unpleasant color and unpalatable taste to water. So it is necessary to remove them to make water potable. The water collected from deep ground sources is mostly treated by mixing it. One of the useful applications is to reduce the formation of rust thus reduce corroding of the water pipes and water equipment. Cholera and other water born diseases can be avoided by killing the bacteria by washing the fruits and vegetables with a very weak solution of potassium permanganate. All cooking utensils and chop board also should be washed and cleaned in a similar way.

Other Uses:

The excellent oxidizing property of potassium permanganate makes it very useful in so many other applications. It is used as an oxidizing agent in many chemical reactions in laboratories and industry. It is used as disinfectant and deodorizers. It is used in the synthesis process of many organic compounds. In waste water treatment this chemical compound is used to neutralize hydrogen sulfide. Along with an indicator it can be used to test for alcohol consumption. Like that it has numerous applications.

Proper Storage and Handling:

However, it is required to handle and store this chemical properly. The following tips can be easily followed: Wear rubber or surgical gloves when handling this chemical since it quickly reacts with the skin forming dark brown stains. Due to its strong oxidizing property it should be kept away from highly oxidizable substances.

It reacts with sulfuric acid very strongly as an explosive. Utmost care is required to avoid its coming in contact with sulfuric acid.

Potassium permanganate can thus be used for many applications. But you should get the proper advice for its application and ensure proper handling and storage.