Gentian Violet


CAS no. 548-62-9

Gentian Violet is also known under other names as Crystal Violet, Methyl Violet 10B, Basic Violet 3 or Methylrosanilinium Chloride.

It is used in various applications in human/veterinary medicine and in laboratory. 

In medicine Gentian Violet has antibacterial, antifungal, and anthelmintic properties. In laboratory it is used as a histological stain and in Gram's method of classifying bacteria. Crystal Violet is also a dye colour (Basic Violet 3). 

BHM Chemicals is a supplier of high quality Gentian Violet in various grades suitable for use in medicinal applications for human/veterinary use as well as in laboratory. 

Available grades include Ph. Eur., USP, BP, BP1980 and Technical.

Minimum order quantity: 10kg

Gentian violet, also known as crystal violet or methylrosanilinium chloride, is a vibrant dye and antiseptic agent that has been used for various purposes for over a century. While its use has declined in recent years, gentian violet remains a fascinating compound with a rich history and several notable applications. 


Gentian violet is a synthetic dye derived from coal tar and belongs to the family of triarylmethane dyes. Its chemical structure consists of three aromatic rings linked together, which give it its distinct purple color. The molecular formula of gentian violet is C25H30ClN3, and its chemical name is "hexamethyl-p-rosaniline chloride."

  1. Colorful Characteristics. One of the most striking properties of gentian violet is its intense purple color when it is in solution. It is highly soluble in water and is often used as a dye in various applications, including textile dyeing, histology, and staining biological specimens. Due to its vibrant hue, gentian violet has also found use in the cosmetic industry for creating bold and vivid makeup products.
  2. Antimicrobial Properties. Gentian violet possesses strong antimicrobial properties, making it effective against a wide range of bacteria, fungi, and even some viruses. It works by binding to cell membranes and interfering with their structure and function. This property has made gentian violet a popular choice for topical antiseptic applications.


  1. Medical and Veterinary Applications. Gentian violet has a long history of use in the medical and veterinary fields. It was commonly employed as a topical antiseptic to treat various skin infections, including fungal infections such as ringworm and yeast infections. In addition, it was used to disinfect wounds and mucous membranes. While its use has declined due to concerns about safety and the availability of more modern antimicrobial agents, gentian violet still holds a place in the history of medicine.
  2. Staining in Microbiology. One of the most significant applications of gentian violet is in microbiology and histology. It is used as a staining agent to visualize and differentiate various microorganisms under a microscope. Gram staining, a common laboratory technique, often employs gentian violet to categorize bacteria into Gram-positive and Gram-negative groups based on their cell wall characteristics.
  3. Treatment of Thrush. Thrush, a fungal infection caused by Candida species, can affect the oral cavity, throat, and genital areas. Gentian violet has been used as a topical treatment for oral thrush in infants, especially when other treatments have proven ineffective. Its antifungal properties can help combat the Candida overgrowth responsible for thrush.
  4. Wound Care. Although gentian violet is less commonly used today for wound care, it still has potential benefits. Its antimicrobial properties can help prevent infections in minor cuts and abrasions. However, it should be used with caution and under medical supervision, as its staining property can be undesirable when applied to open wounds.
  5. Laboratory Research. Gentian violet continues to have applications in research laboratories. Scientists may use it in cell culture work or as a stain for various biological specimens. While alternative dyes and techniques have emerged, gentian violet's historical significance and utility in specific contexts maintain its relevance.

Safety Considerations

While gentian violet has shown effectiveness in various applications, its use has decreased due to safety concerns. Prolonged or excessive exposure to gentian violet can lead to skin irritation, tissue damage, and allergic reactions. Moreover, there have been concerns about its potential carcinogenicity. As a result, regulatory agencies in some countries have restricted its use in certain products.

Gentian violet, with its distinctive purple hue and antimicrobial properties, has a storied history in medicine, microbiology, and various other fields. While its use has waned in recent years due to safety concerns and the availability of alternative treatments, it still holds a place in the annals of scientific research and medical practice. Understanding the properties, uses, and benefits of gentian violet is essential for appreciating its contributions to science and medicine.

In contemporary settings, gentian violet's applications are more limited, but it continues to play a role in specific medical treatments and laboratory work. Researchers and healthcare professionals must consider its potential risks and benefits when deciding whether to incorporate it into their practices.

As scientific research advances, we may gain a better understanding of gentian violet's properties and potentially discover safer alternatives. In the meantime, gentian violet remains a colorful and intriguing chapter in the history of science and medicine.

Please note that while gentian violet has been used historically and in some contemporary contexts, its use may vary by region, and regulatory guidelines should be followed. Always consult with healthcare professionals for appropriate treatment options.

Please note that the information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice.


  1. Ozbek B, et al. (2006). The effects of gentian violet and eosin on healing of surgical wounds in rats. PubMed
  2. Menon T, et al. (2016). Gentian violet: A 19th-century drug re-emerges in the 21st century. Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology
  3. Lee JH, et al. (2018). Gentian violet: A versatile drug in medical practice. Journal of Conservative Dentistry
  4. Stutzman L, et al. (2001). A comparative study of toluidine blue and crystal violet in the Gram staining of corneal smears. Archives of Ophthalmology




Content (Assay)



Heavy Metals


Ethanol-insoluble matter

Loss on drying

Sulphated ash




Dark green, shiny powder, hygroscopic. Sparingly soluble in water, freely soluble in ethanol (96%) and in methylene chloride.

Minimum  96.0%

Conforms to BP1980 tests

Less than 4ppm

Less than 20ppm

As per BP test: No turbidity or white precipitate is produced

As per BP test: The residue weighs not more than 10mg

Less than 9.0%

Less than 3.0%

Hazardous class 9, UN 3077, Packing group III

Keep container tightly closed in a cool and dry place and protected from light. Protect from contamination by foreign substances.