Properties : Potassium permanganate occurs as slender prisms, of a dark purple color, almost opaque by transmitted light and of a blue metallic luster by reflected light, odorless and having a taste which is at first sweet but afterward disagreeable and astringent. It is soluble in water (1:15) and decomposes when brought into contact with alcohol.

Action and Uses: Potassium permanganate is deodorant, disinfectant and possibly emmenagogue. As an emmenagogue, potassium permanganate may be given in doses of from 0.03 to 0.06 gm. (from to 1 grain) three times a day.

It has marked oxidizing properties and is used for this purpose in the treatment of certain forms of poisoning when the poison is still in the stomach. In morphin poisoning the stomach should be washed with a solution of potassium permanganate (1:2,000). The same treatment is useful in phosphorus poisoning. In cases of snake bite it may be given by hypodermic injections of a solution (1:500) in the vicinity of the wound.

Potassium permanganate has been used to disinfect the hands in surgery. The hand is dipped into the disinfectant solution until it is a mahogany brown, and then dipped into a warm saturated solution of oxalic acid and rinsed in sterile water.

It is applied externally for excessive sweating of the feet.

Dosage: It is usually administered in the form of pills, being mixed with kaolin and massed with petrolatum. For application to the skin a solution of 1:500 may be used.