Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Iodine Made Easy

Excerpted from WoundsInternational.com
Authors: Sibbald RG, Leaper DJ, Queen D

What is iodine?
Iodine is a natural dark violet, non-metallic element that plays a key role in human metabolism. It is essential for the production of thyroid hormones and an iodine deficiency can result in hypothyroidism. Iodine occurs naturally in the form of iodide ions in sea water, fish, oysters and certain seaweeds. It can also be found in vegetables grown in iodine-rich soil and dairy products. It has been described as 'the most potent antiseptic available'.

What is the history of iodine in wound healing?
In the 4th century BC, before iodine had been discovered, Theophrastus, a pupil of Aristotle, recorded that iodine-rich seaweeds could be used to reduce the pain of sunburn. One of the first antiseptic iodine preparations to be used in wound care was Lugol's solution containing elemental iodine and potassium in water, which was developed in 1829. This solution was also used to treat wounds in the American Civil War.

The antimicrobial properties of iodine were first demonstrated in 1882 by Davaine. In the First World War, iodine was found by Alexander Fleming to reduce the incidence of gas gangrene in the wounds of soldiers when compared to carbolic acid.  Since the mid-19th century, iodine-based preparations have also had an important role in the prevention of surgical site infections. Povidone iodine preparations are popularly used as an antiseptic to prepare the patient's skin before surgery and are also used by surgeons and theatre staff as a skin cleanser and antiseptic in preoperative hand scrubs.

Early uses of iodine involved aqueous and alcoholic iodine preparations, which were associated with unpleasant side effects including pain, irritation and skin staining.

Learn more about Civil War pharmaceuticals at www.CivilWarRx.com.


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