How Do I Choose the Best Tincture of Iodine?

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  • Written By: Sonal Panse
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 20 August 2014
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Tincture of iodine is a transparent, reddish liquid that is commonly used for medicinal purposes. It is used as a skin antiseptic for infection prevention and infection control in wounds, and also as a radiation home remedy. The tincture strength varies for different solutions, and this is indicated on the label. To choose the best preparation, you will need to know what strength is suitable for your purpose; it is best to consult your pharmacist or doctor on this matter.

It is also a good idea to use a commercial preparation of this tincture only as indicated by the directions on the label. A stronger preparation than what is required for a minor wound, for instance, may need to be diluted before it is applied; otherwise it may cause skin burns. When buying tincture of iodine, always make sure it is suitable for home use. As with all medical preparations, particularly if you happen to have any existing health problems, it is advisable, as mentioned, to consult your doctor to make sure it is safe for you to use that particular preparation, without the possibility of any adverse reactions.

Tincture of iodine is made up of iodine, sodium or potassium iodide, alcohol and water. The U.S. National Formulary (NF) has specified the amounts of these ingredients needed to produce normal and strong solutions. While these iodine tinctures are available commercially available, it is also possible to prepare them at home.

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To prepare this tincture, you will need iodine crystals, ethyl alcohol, sodium iodide or potassium iodide, and distilled water. Instead of ethyl alcohol and distilled water, clear liquor can also be used. The purpose of the alcohol is to give chemical stability to the mixture of iodine crystals and sodium iodide or potassium iodide. Distilled water is used to dilute the solution to the required concentration; normal iodine tincture solutions, for instance, will contain about 50 percent water while strong solutions will contain 50 percent alcohol.

It is necessary to be very cautious when preparing tincture of iodine at home, as the ingredients can cause toxic reactions. They are known to adversely affect the mucous membranes and cause breathing difficulties. Some of the ingredients are also known to irritate the skin and may exacerbate skin conditions like dermatitis. They can also pose a potential risk to the eyes. Inhaling the fumes can also cause serious health problems.

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Discuss this Article

anon345497
Post 4

Get informed before you take action. Iodine isn't supposed to be used on "fresh/open" wounds. I just bought a 4oz bottle of 2.2 percent Iodine from a highly rated vendor online.

I have seen 3 different types of iodine for sale online: tincture, Indoral (pill form) and Magnascent (atomic level)/atoms of iodine (it comes in liquid also). There are also additional types: provident and I can't tell you anything about it, since I haven't done any research. You can buy 7 percent iodine on the Internet. Best wishes and hope you get well soon. -- phillip

SteamLouis
Post 3

@ysmina-- I believe the limitation in iodine tinctures is not because it's dangerous but because stronger iodine tinctures can be used to make other chemical products. That's why over-the-counter tinctures cannot go over 2%.

But if you talk to your doctor about it, I'm sure he can prescribe one that's between 2% and 9%. But make sure to learn the directions for it, because there is always a risk of irritation or burns like the article also said.

By the way, this is only for topical, liquid tincture of iodine. I don't know much about iodine supplements, their dose and use is different.

ysmina
Post 2

I read a homeopathy book which included a section on the uses of iodine. There was a remedy mentioned in there which said that a regular application of 7% tincture of iodine on skin tumor treats the cancer.

I have a dark spot on my leg that has recently been biopsied. The lab results showed malignancy. I'm interested in trying this remedy but I've come to know that 7% tincture of iodine is not available without a prescription.

Does anyone know why? Is it dangerous to use it at that percent?

I checked the ones available over the counter and the highest percentage I found was 2%. I can have the tumor removed at any time but I really wanted to give this remedy a chance first.

candyquilt
Post 1

I learned about the danger of using iodine antiseptic improperly very early on. I was in Middle School and got a bad cut on my leg when I fell from my bike. I didn't want to show my mom what happened because I thought she would get upset with me.

So, I didn't tell anyone and took a cotton ball and put iodine on it. I then taped that to my cut with a band aid and went to sleep. In the morning, I woke up with a really bad pain on my leg. I opened the band aid and my cut looked horrible. There was a dark round area where the iodine was sitting all night.

I finally showed my mom and being a nurse, she told me that I had gotten a second degree burn. She was so upset with me. She cleaned the area and did first aid. She then threw away the iodine bottle. My leg hurt for weeks and there is a round purplish scar on my leg since. Whenever I see it, I remember how dangerous iodine can be.

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