Book of the week

"It is released without a prescription": How the greenback appeared

The publishing house "Bombora" published a book "Dispensed without a prescription", which tells about popular drugs developed back in the USSR. Life around publishes excerpts from a chapter on greenery.

Zinin reaction

Invented greenback by accident. Moreover, brilliant green, known as "green", was originally the name of one of the aniline dyes. This is not uncommon in medicine - scientists are looking for one thing, and at the end they get something completely different, no less, and sometimes more valuable and useful. The discovery of the antiseptic properties of zelenka is most closely associated with the names of several scientists at once.

In the middle of the 19th century, in the course of experiments with coal tar, German chemists Otto Unferdorben and Fridlib Runge, as well as their Russian colleague Julius Fritzsche, simultaneously discovered several substances (crystallin, kyanol and aniline), and a little later the Russian chemist Nikolai Zinin isolated benzene from tar tar. All of these substances were subsequently combined into one name - "aniline". "Zinin reaction" is recognized as the best way to obtain it.

Brilliant green

For a long time, the discovery of aniline was considered of little use - at least no one could find him a worthy practical application. Quite by accident, this was possible at the beginning of the second half of the XIX century, the 18-year-old son of a carpenter, self-taught chemist William Henry Perkin from London. In his father’s house, he had a laboratory equipped where he conducted various experiments. For a long time he tried to synthesize quinine artificially - at that time the only substance that was used to treat malaria.

Natural quinine - the one obtained from the bark of a quinine tree - cost a lot of money, so it was extremely important to find its cheap synthetic analogue. Well, that just did not do Perkin with aniline - created distillates, poisoned the substance with various acids, interfered with everything that came to hand. The carpenter’s son could not get artificial quinine, but nevertheless he entered his name in the history of world chemistry.

Once William Henry mixed aniline with ethyl alcohol - the output was a bright purple liquid. It happened in 1856. The young chemist gave the new substance the French name "Movein" (in honor of the mallow flower). It turned out that it is good to dye clothes with Mauvein - firstly, it turned out beautifully, and secondly, the fabric did not fade for a long time and did not fade under the influence of sunlight. But the main thing - the production of a new dye was simple and cheap. Perkin synthesized many artificial dyes based on aniline - yellow rivanol, raspberry fuchsin, blue, purple, black. Having patented his invention, the young inventor opened a successful dyeing enterprise. Natural dyes that do not have such a persistent effect began to go into oblivion.

Inspired by the experience of Perkin, other naturalists continued their experiments with aniline. In 1879, in Germany, on the basis of aniline, they obtained an emerald green dye and named it in the Latin manner viridis nitens, which translates as "brilliant green." Subsequently, part of the name was translated into French - brillant. Hence the simple translation into Russian - "diamond green". For a long time, this dye was used for its intended purpose in the manufacturing business.

Nobody even thought about the medical use of the substance until the beginning of the twentieth century, when diamond green was used in pharmacology for tinting various kinds of microorganisms in order to better examine them under a microscope.

Green knees

Zelenka, in the sense in which it is known to us today, appeared in the 20s of the 20th century thanks to Soviet chemists and pharmacists, whose names are not preserved in history. It was the Soviet pharmacologists who first drew attention to the fact that under a microscope, microorganisms stained with brilliant green to improve their visualization, suddenly die.

So a solution of brilliant green with alcohol, tinin and water was developed. Zelenka began to be used as an antiseptic in surgical operations, childbirth, various injuries, and even for cleaning medical facilities, tools and hands of medical staff. This has led to a significant reduction in mortality in sepsis.

Zelenka is a fast-acting, highly active antiseptic; effective against Staphylococcus aureus (Staphylococcus aureus), diphtheria bacillus (Corynebacterium diphtheriae) and gram-positive bacteria. Years passed, but even now it is impossible to imagine our life, our childhood and the childhood of our children without knees smeared with green.

Why are greens most often smeared with children? The fact is that it does not have such a powerful antiseptic effect as, for example, iodine, and therefore is more suitable for delicate baby skin. In addition, it does not dry the epidermis. Doctors recommend lubricating large wounds not with iodine, namely with diamond greens: it does not leave any scars on the skin, unlike iodine, which burns the upper layers of the epidermis with prolonged use.

In Europe, zelenka has not become a popular medical product, and even less so a means of first necessity. Europeans did not like the “external effect” - green spots remain on the skin for a rather long time, while, for example, Castellani’s liquid is colorless.


Cover: Bombora

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