With the exception perhaps of carbolic acid, this very beautiful product of the chemist's art is in more universal demand than any other remedy of its class. Its purple crystals are readily soluble in water in any proportion required, and its virtues depend upon the large proportion of oxygen which it contains and readily gives up to unite with and destroy organic substances.
Condy's Fluid, so generally prescribed, is said to be composed of two grains of permanganate of potash to each ounce of water, but the makers have denied the statement. It is, however, believed that sodium is the alkaline base of the salt, and it is for all practical purposes the same as potash in its action.
The annexed table, showing the relative activity of various disinfectants, is copied from The Household Physician, and justifies the high regard in which permanganate of potash is held: -
1 part of carbolic acid in
1,250 parts of water hindered the growth of the organism.
1 part of boracic acid in
1,250 " "
1 part of chlorine in ...
1,500 " "
1 part of eucalyptol in
2,500 " "
1 part of camphor in ...
2,500 " "
1 part of permanganate of potash in...
3,000 " "
1 part of oil of cloves in
5,000 " "
1 part of peppermint oil in ...
33,000 " "
1 part of thymol in ...
80,000 " "
1 part of corrosive sublimate in
1,000,000 " "
It will be seen that one grain in 3000 of water is capable of hindering the growth of organisms.