Hydrogen peroxide is a widely used mild acid. It is present in fresh fruits, vegetables and in mother’s milk. Read more to know about its medical uses.
Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is a weak acid with strong oxidizing properties. It is water with one extra oxygen molecule, hence is very similar to water in appearance, chemical formula, and reaction products. It is extremely dangerous in concentrated form, but uniquely useful in diluted form. It is stable at room temperature. It is also a powerful bleaching agent, and is used for whitening paper. Hydrogen peroxide is widely administered as an antiseptic, as a disinfectant, as an oxidizer, and in monopropellant and bipropellant systems. Its use is both effective and safe.
Rain and snow contain hydrogen peroxide. Plants synthesize it during photosynthesis; so all fresh vegetables and fruits contain it. It is also generated by the lignifying xylem of many vascular plants (higher plants, for example, trees), which is very important for the plant metabolism. The planktons in the sea produce the maximum hydrogen peroxide. Our body’s immune system also generates. It is present in mother’s milk, especially in the first milk (colostrums) after childbirth, which boosts the baby’s immune system.
Commercially, it is produced in different grades for use in various purposes. Some of the grades are 3.5% pharmaceutical grade, 6% beautician grade, 30% reagent grade, 30 – 32% electronic grade, 35% technical grade, 35% food grade, and 90% for use in rocket fuel. Hydrogen peroxide of 35% is the only recommended grade for internal use.
Hydrogen peroxide is used in industries like paper, pulp, textile and leather, electronics, mining and processing, therapeutic products, drinking water purification, waste water treatment plants and hazardous waste treatment plants, site remediation, timber production, composting, and so on. Medically, its therapy is used to treat many of the ailments.
According to William Campbell Douglass, M.D. of Georgia, hydrogen peroxide is an essential metabolite, meaning that it is necessary to life’s process. Post World War I, intravenous infusion of its diluted form was used in the treatment of epidemic pneumonia. Studies conducted in 1940s by Father Richard Willhelm, pioneer in promoting hydrogen peroxide, have revealed that it can be used to treat several ailments, right from bacterial-related mental illness to even polio.
Hydrogen peroxide is used as an antiseptic for sterilization in cleaning hospital toilets, bathrooms, and ambulances. It can effectively kill the disease-causing microbes. It is also used for disinfecting medical and surgical equipment.
It has been approved by the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use as mouthwash. In fact, many of the renowned companies manufacturing dental-related products use hydrogen peroxide. It can also heal all the skin-related infections such as acne, cold sores, insect bites, pimples, burns, and so on.
It is used in the treatment of arthritis. It supplies oxygen and kills the anaerobic pathogens Streptococcus viridans that cause arthritis. Due to its properties, hydrogen peroxide therapy has been used in many of the diseases such as viral, bacterial, fungal and yeast infection, allergies, food allergies and poisonings, gingivitis (inflammation of gums), pneumonia, digestive problems, cancer, multiple sclerosis, anemia, sinusitis, liver cirrhosis, and so on.
It has been known to be used as a home remedy. Homemade toothpaste can be made by mixing it with baking soda. Due to its bleaching and antiseptic properties, it whitens the teeth, and also takes care of the germs.
For treatment of cuts and infections, prepare 3% hydrogen peroxide by diluting with water. Dip cotton, and use it for wiping the infected areas, and follow this procedure twice daily. It kills the harmful microbes and heals the wound or infection.
Cold and flu are air-borne diseases. Studies have found that most of the cold and flu infections take place through the ear canal. To prevent such an infection, dip an ear bud into the solution of 1 – 2 drops of 3% hydrogen peroxide, and apply into the ear. This is known to shorten duration of the ailments. It is most effective to practice at the early stages of infection. It also protects the ear from infection. This therapy is also useful in case of cleaning earwax.
Unsupervised use is not advised, as it may lead to medical complications. Inhalation therapy for colds can be harmful, if it is not diluted properly before use. Its internal use for therapy is known to cause stomach ulcers, and intestinal problems. It is always recommended to check the safety and efficacy of the home remedy, or consult your physician before using it for any medical problems.