Gentian Violet is an antiseptic dye that has been used for over a century to treat different forms of candida overgrowths, also commonly known as yeast or thrush infections. The dark purple dye can be used as a fabric dye, a gram stain when using a microscope, and can even treat fungal infections due to its antifungal properties.

Gentian violet is commonly used to treat oral thrush for infants who are breastfeeding/chestfeeding and is safe to use intraorally in newborns. It’s less common but equally as effective when used to treat vaginal yeast infections and is becoming more frequently recommended by OB/GYNs as an alternative to typical over-the-counter vaginal yeast infection treatments.

The therapeutic properties of Gentian Violet are no stranger to East Asian medicine practitioners, as it is derived from the East Asian herb Long Dan Cao, also known as Chinese gentian root. Long Dan Cao is used for draining damp heat from the Liver and Gallbladder organ systems, which can translate to a western medical diagnosis of treating a vaginal yeast infection. It’s great for pain, swelling, and itching of the genitals and can treat foul-smelling vaginal discharge.

To use Gentian Violet as an at-home vaginal yeast infection treatment, I recommend buying a topical 2% solution of Gentian Violet and a pack of OB/GYN applicator swabs. Applying the Gentian Violet at home is easy but can be a bit messy, which is why I recommend you do it in an empty bathtub so you can rinse the tub out after if there are any spills.

Application & Usage

To apply, dip the tip of the OB/GYN applicator into the Gentian Violet bottle until the entire swab is covered and apply to the affected area. If your yeast infection feels more internal, apply it to the internal walls of the vaginal canal. If it feels more external, the Gentian Violet can be applied to the labia minora and the vaginal opening. Another common way to do an at-home Gentian Violet application is to dip a tampon in the gentian violet and insert it vaginally, but a tampon can be difficult to insert once saturated with the dye.

Gentian Violet can be applied vaginally once a week, and you should see a reduction in yeast infection symptoms after 24-48 hours of the initial application. Sometimes, one application is all you need to knock the yeast infection out, but for more pesky infections, a few once-a-week applications should do the trick. One thing to note is that it’s important to wear black cotton underwear for the next few days following the Gentian Violet application, as it can stain clothes.

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