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#1
Old 04-11-2002, 01:50 PM
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Mercurochrome = "Monkey Blood"?

When I was but a wee elf, my Mom would put Mercurochrome on my cuts and scrapes. It was red, and stung a bit.

She always called it "Monkey Blood". I figured it was just something she made up, until I came across [Link Removed]
So, who else's mom put "Monkey Blood" on their cuts? Is this a regional thing? And how in the world did Mercurochrome get this name, anyway?

BTW, I grew up in Southeastern Louisiana.

Last edited by Idle Thoughts; 04-12-2012 at 05:32 AM.
#2
Old 04-11-2002, 03:28 PM
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My mom put monkey blood on my cuts. She was from the ARK-LA-TEX area. This would have been around 1970 or so.
#3
Old 04-11-2002, 06:44 PM
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Monkey's blood is my grandmother's thing. She grew up in TX and lived most of her live in TX and LA.
#4
Old 04-11-2002, 07:36 PM
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I remember that.

I think it was called "Merthiolate" or "Mercurochrome" a tincture of something or other, stung like hell and left quite a stain. Did contain mercury, I'm sure it and other "tissue poisons" aren't used anymore. I always dreaded that stuff.
#5
Old 04-11-2002, 10:36 PM
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Merthiolate and Mercurochrome are two different, though similar, things. Both used Mercury to kill germs and both were bright red. But Merthiolate had an alcohol base and stung like hell, while Mercurochrome has a water base and didn't sting at all. Neither was particularly a great antiseptic.

It's similar to the difference between tincture of iodine and Isodine.

I'd never hear "monkey blood" before, though.
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#6
Old 04-11-2002, 11:02 PM
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That's what my great-grandmother called it, and we used it all the time. She grew up in Texas. Sounds like a regionalism.

There's mercury in it?
#7
Old 04-11-2002, 11:48 PM
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In elementary school, anyone who skinned a hand or knee out on the playground would be sent to the nurse's office to get some kind of yellow disinfectant sprayed on the wound. For no apparent reason, this was always called monkey blood. I grew up in Texas and heard the term for the first time around 1986.
#8
Old 04-12-2002, 01:17 AM
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"Monkey Blood" must be a regional term. I grew up in Florida, my boys grew up in Alabama, and lots of Merthiolate and Mercurochrome were used over the years. I've never heard the "Monkey Blood" term prior to this thread.
#9
Old 04-12-2002, 02:00 AM
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My brother (the clumsy one) was always getting painted up with BOTH, until it turned out he was allergic to mercurochrome. I don't think I ever got dosed with mercury at all.

But that old fluoroscope in the basement... we had a ball with that! And the jar of liquid mercury in the basement, and all those Fresca™s! Mmmm, Monkey Blood!!!
#10
Old 04-12-2002, 08:54 AM
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Yep,

I grew up in the ARK-LA-TEX also and didn't even realize that "monkey blood" wasn't a universal term.
#11
Old 04-11-2012, 12:19 PM
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Mercurochrome aka Monkey Blood

Hello,

I was raised in South Texas and we too called it "monkey blood" as well. Maybe it's a "southern thing." Our family doctor, who was born and raised in North Texas, never heard it called "monkey blood."

I just read that Mercurochrome/Monkey Blood was banned by the FDA due to very trace amounts of mercury in the antiseptic. The FDA felt that even though its very trace amounts and shouldn't pose a risk to users, they would prefer to err on the side of caution and ban it until someone tests the products ability to cause mercury poisoning.

Whatever, it was a great product, it was used on me a LOT when I was a kiddle and never did I even remotely get mercury poisoning. However, all of the really great home remedies have been banned or mucked up by the FDA in some way that the really great DIY first aid supplies are made worthless. For example, Phisohex, boric acid solution, mustard plasters, or linament...good luck on finding any of those items very easily.

All that said to say...you're not alone, others called it Monkey Blood too! )
#12
Old 04-11-2012, 12:33 PM
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Was there any particular reason to call it "monkey" blood or could it have been anything, like "zombie" blood, for example.
#13
Old 04-11-2012, 12:38 PM
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I am shocked, shocked I tells ya, that something with "mercuro--" at the beginning of its name would contain mercury. Furthermore, I don't see how mercurochrome, a substance purchased at a drugstore or pharmacy, magically better than "modern" first-aid supplies which are, last I checked, substances that are purchased at a drugstore or pharmacy.

Moreover, there's boric acid powder in my cabinet. I can get it at any big-box store. Is it different from boric acid solution?
#14
Old 04-11-2012, 12:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JaicieK View Post
Whatever, it was a great product, it was used on me a LOT when I was a kiddle and never did I even remotely get mercury poisoning. However, all of the really great home remedies have been banned or mucked up by the FDA in some way that the really great DIY first aid supplies are made worthless. For example, Phisohex, boric acid solution, mustard plasters, or linament...good luck on finding any of those items very easily.

I can find no information on Boric Acid being banned, and it seems to be available at hardware stores locally here in CA - are you sure?

I think you are confusing "banned for all uses" with "banned as a food additive":

Quote:
Originally Posted by wikipedia
Food additive

Borax, given the E number E285, is used as a food additive in some countries but is banned in the United States. As a consequence, certain foods, such as caviar, produced for sale in the U.S. contain higher levels of salt to assist preservation.[10] Its use as a cooking ingredient is to add a firm rubbery texture to the food, or as a preservative. In oriental cooking it is mostly used for its texturing properties. In Asia, Borax (Chinese: 硼砂; pinyin: péng​ shā​) or (Chinese: 月石; pinyin: yuč shí​) was found to have been added to some Chinese foods like the hand-pulled noodles lamian and some rice noodles like Shahe fen, Kway Teow, and Chee Cheong Fun recipes.[11] In Indonesia it is a common, but forbidden, additive to such foods as noodles, bakso (meatballs), and steamed rice. The country's Directorate of Consumer Protection warns of the risk of liver cancer with high consumption over a period of 5–10 years.[12]

Also, people put all sorts of crap in their cuts to kill bacteria, much of which does at least as much damage to the human cells as the bacterial cells. A person is far better off washing a cut regularly with clean water, changing bandages, and perhaps a little alcohol instead of mercurochrome.
#15
Old 04-11-2012, 01:45 PM
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Reminds me of gentian violet, which stains your skin a really pretty purple color for quite some time. My grandma used to paint us grandkids with it anytime we got a boo-boo at her house. We didn't call it anything animal-related, though.
#16
Old 04-11-2012, 03:01 PM
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Mercurochrome was a merbromin (C20H8Br2HgNa2O6) aqueous solution while merthiolate was a thimerosal (C9H9HgNaO2S) tincture. My parents always had mercurochrome because it didn't sting. It seemed that everyone else (grandparents, aunts, etc.) always had the painful merthiolate.

BTW, Hg is mercury for the elementally uninformed.

Last edited by california jobcase; 04-11-2012 at 03:03 PM.
#17
Old 04-11-2012, 03:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JaicieK View Post
Hello,

I was raised in South Texas and we too called it "monkey blood" as well.
Yep, same here!
#18
Old 04-11-2012, 03:31 PM
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I was raised in Fort Worth, but it was my FATHER who called it monkey blood, not my mother...and my father was raised in Massachusetts. However, he picked up a lot of regionalisms and learned to love Texas barbecue and chicken fried steak.
#19
Old 04-11-2012, 10:42 PM
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*scoff*

I got Bactine.


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#20
Old 04-11-2012, 10:44 PM
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Raised in New Mexico and I got plenty of monkey blood for my cuts.

Also, the link in the OP didn't take me anywhere useful.
#21
Old 04-11-2012, 10:49 PM
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Well, it is from 2002 which in internet time is an eon.

My parents never used mercurochrome for my injuries as by the time I existed no one was using mercurochrome for injuries.
#22
Old 04-11-2012, 10:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Covered_In_Bees! View Post
Raised in New Mexico and I got plenty of monkey blood for my cuts.

Also, the link in the OP didn't take me anywhere useful.
It has been ten years.
#23
Old 04-11-2012, 11:22 PM
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Good catch!

#24
Old 04-12-2012, 10:26 AM
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I grew up in Oklahoma, and we called it Monkey Blood.
#25
Old 02-02-2013, 01:21 AM
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My family is 6 generations Fort Worth area and also called it "Monkey Blood". I guess it is a regional thing.
#26
Old 02-02-2013, 05:27 AM
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Mom wasn't a fan of mercurochrome (thought it was a waste of money, and she was pretty much right) so I always tried to make sure I injured myself at my best friend's house, where her mom had multiple bottles of the stuff.

And whaddaya mean you can't find mustard plaster? You can by mustard powder at any supermarket. Add a little flour, if you like, and then water. Bam! Ya got a mustard plaster. http://tipnut.com/mustard-plaster/

And there are dozens of liniments still being sold. Mine's better than all of them, though.

Phisohex can be lethal through skin absorption. I'm rather glad Clearsil replaced it. It is still available as a prescription though, so if you're really jonesing for harsh skin cleaners, talk to your doctor.
#27
Old 07-27-2013, 12:17 AM
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Today while having stitches on my finger removed at my work dispensary, the doctor, who must have been at least as old as me (I'm 51), spread some medical stuff on it that looked reddish brown, and I remarked that it looked like monkey blood. He asked what that was and I told him it was mercurochrome, used back when I was a kid. He lit up saying, "Oh yeah, I remember that stuff. Good antibiotic, but was banned for having mercury in it. You taught me something today."

It made me wonder how far the nickname monkey blood had spread. As I can see in this thread that it appears to be a southern related nickname, but I was born and raised near Seattle, WA, and every kid in town called it monkey blood. So it must have spread to other areas of the country too.
#28
Old 07-27-2013, 12:29 AM
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I'm also from South Texas. I've never heard monkey blood in English, but it was called sangre de chango when I was growing up, which is the same thing in Spanish. I never realized that the term was used in English as well.
#29
Old 07-27-2013, 12:50 AM
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How long ago did they stop using mercurochrome? I've never heard of it, let alone that it was called monkey blood.
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#30
Old 07-27-2013, 01:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elfkin477 View Post
How long ago did they stop using mercurochrome? I've never heard of it, let alone that it was called monkey blood.
Quote:
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) removed it from the “generally recognized as safe” and into the “untested” classification to effectively halt its distribution in the United States on October 19, 1998 over fears of potential mercury poisoning.[3] Sales were halted in Germany in 2003,[4] and in France in 2006.[5] It is readily available in most other countries.[citation needed]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merbromin
#31
Old 07-27-2013, 03:11 AM
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It was banned when they found it spread the zombie infection.
#32
Old 07-27-2013, 05:38 AM
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I use the term "monkey blood" but it refers to any red syrup that you'd put on top of ice cream.
I'm from the north-east of the UK so don't know how regional that is.
#33
Old 07-28-2013, 02:38 PM
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I've never heard of mercurochrome or the name "monkey blood", but apparently you can buy it in the UK. The "traditional" antisceptic here is TCP, which is phenol-based and stinks to high hell.

I can't believe that people would cover themselves with something containing mercury. Was it not common knowledge in those days that mercury is toxic? (According to a google search, its toxicity was discovered way back in 1926.)
#34
Old 07-28-2013, 08:37 PM
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Back in the 60's and 70's the stuff that construction crews sprayed on freshly poured concrete slabs to help them cure properly was universally referred to as "monkey blood".

Don't know if that is still the case, however. Been out of that business a looooong time.

Last edited by Daylate; 07-28-2013 at 08:37 PM.
#35
Old 07-28-2013, 08:54 PM
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Just adding another data point: I'm a Texan and I learned the term monkey blood for mercurochrome from my mom, though I think I only had it used on me a couple of times and that was at my grandparents' house.
#36
Old 09-27-2013, 02:12 PM
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Monkey blood in Washington, D. C. and Dallas/Fort-Worth

Quote:
Originally Posted by Morgainelf View Post
When I was but a wee elf, my Mom would put Mercurochrome on my cuts and scrapes. It was red, and stung a bit.

She always called it "Monkey Blood". I figured it was just something she made up, until I came across [Link Removed]
So, who else's mom put "Monkey Blood" on their cuts? Is this a regional thing? And how in the world did Mercurochrome get this name, anyway?

BTW, I grew up in Southeastern Louisiana.
* * *



In the sixties and seventies when I was little in the Washington, D.C. and Dallas/Fort-Worth areas, if I or one of the neighborhood brats got a small cut it would get swabbed in "monkey blood" - Merthiolate or Mercurichrome - from a small bottle kept in the medicine cabinet, followed by a band-aid.

I'm not sure why but it seems we grew out of this practice by the time I was in high school in 1974 - maybe because I was more appearance-conscious by then and didn't want to advertise with a garish visual announcement what by then was deemed childish clumsiness, or maybe it was avoidance of what might have been seen as a maudlin appeal to sympathy, or maybe it was due to a newfound awareness of the benefits of letting minor wounds heal on their own with exposure to air and sunshine while keeping them washed and dried, or maybe it was a newfound general apprehension regarding exposure to mercury (it seems that Phisohex also disappeared at about this same time); I suspect it was a combination of all of the preceding.
#37
Old 09-27-2013, 02:35 PM
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Merury's toxicity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiyoshi View Post
I've never heard of mercurochrome or the name "monkey blood", but apparently you can buy it in the UK. The "traditional" antisceptic here is TCP, which is phenol-based and stinks to high hell.

I can't believe that people would cover themselves with something containing mercury. Was it not common knowledge in those days that mercury is toxic? (According to a google search, its toxicity was discovered way back in 1926.)
* * *



Lots of stuff is toxic if you ingest it in heavy enough concentrations - alcohol is one example.

The toxicity of mercury applied topically in commercially-available concentrations is unproven i.e. it doesn't appear to be a problem, so people used it for it clearly demonstrable antiseptic benefits, particularly at a time when life-threatening infections such as tetanus, gangrene and anthrax weren't too distant a memory and were perceived as posing by far the greater risk.

Last edited by B L Zebubba; 09-27-2013 at 02:38 PM. Reason: Personal preference.
#38
Old 09-27-2013, 02:42 PM
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We used both Merthiolate and Mercurochrome; until now I never heard of "monkey blood." We also used to play with mercury from broken thermometers, and were exposed to leaded paint.

This explains a lot.
#39
Old 01-01-2014, 01:24 AM
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All I remember of this is when one summer I was running up the stairs barefoot And I stripped and tore the nail off my second toe and my Busha put some on my toe but when my dad room me to my doctor's office he wanted it off my toe!!! It took my dad, and three other people to hold me down while he cleaned it off, I was six and I still remember it 46 plus years later! I milked it up, after I got home I climbed onto her lap and cried laying a guilt trip!
#40
Old 10-03-2014, 06:37 PM
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Not much that I can add to this conversation but to let you know some history of the drug. It is widely mentioned on the M*A*S*H series. During the ere discovered by Hugh H. Young in 1918, as a medical aid as an antiseptic. In the USA (FDA) moved it from the “generally recognized as safe” classification into the “untested” in some bureaucratic concerns over the mercury in the product. Trying to locate the percentage of mercury in the solution but can't seem to find it.. But pretty sure its only about 1% or something.. If anyone can find it post it.. Any way in 1998 the FDA outlawed the sale of Mercurochrome, Germany, and France have also followed, But the rest of the world, it is still sold, and used quite frequently under the same name as well as Merbromin (marketed as Mercurochrome, Merbromine, Sodium mercurescein, Asceptichrome, Supercrome, Brocasept and Cinfacromin) Side bar story many grandmothers threw out the United States used to call it 'Monkey Blood' my assumption is that the antiseptic has a red color to it.
#41
Old 01-21-2015, 11:14 AM
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Looks like my regional history fits right in. Born in Arkansas, where Mom was from. Dad was from Central Texas, and I grew up in El Paso . . . but had relatives throughout Texas and Arkansas. It was "monkey blood' in our house.

In reflecting upon that nickname after I grew up, I always assumed it had started as a way to make the "medicine" more interesting and "magical" for the children who were often treated with it. And, therefore, less threatening.

It would be interesting to know when and how that name got started, but I fear that's been lost to the ages at this point.
#42
Old 01-21-2015, 11:24 AM
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... just look at how many different times this thread has been revived. 7 posts with more than a month break before them!
#43
Old 01-21-2015, 12:16 PM
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Yes, yes, zombie monkeys.

Also raised in TX, also heard it called that, even though my mom was a hydrogen peroxide-ist. My doctor even had a poster with a chimp holding a bottle of Mercurochrome. I have no additional information on where the nickname came from, though.
#44
Old 01-21-2015, 12:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JaicieK View Post
However, all of the really great home remedies have been banned or mucked up by the FDA in some way that the really great DIY first aid supplies are made worthless. For example, Phisohex, boric acid solution, mustard plasters, or linament...good luck on finding any of those items very easily.
Hibiclens (or the comparable generic chlorhexidine wash) is arguably a better antibacterial cleaner than Phisohex as well as being less toxic.

You can get boric acid in any old drugstore as far as I know, and they still sell it as "Swim-Ear" for preventing outer-ear infections.

Mustard plasters aren't really effective, and probably had side effects that caused them to be banned.

Liniment is all over the place- just google it!
#45
Old 01-21-2015, 01:31 PM
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It's been a long time since I've seen mercurochrome, but I'm pretty sure my family just called it "iodine". It was a different color, but hey, it's all the same thing, right?
#46
Old 01-21-2015, 01:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrCube View Post
It's been a long time since I've seen mercurochrome, but I'm pretty sure my family just called it "iodine". It was a different color, but hey, it's all the same thing, right?
No. Iodine is atomic number 53 (I). Mercurochrome, C20H8Br2HgNa2O6.

Last edited by Musicat; 01-21-2015 at 01:42 PM. Reason: spelling check
#47
Old 01-21-2015, 01:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by purplehorseshoe View Post
I am shocked, shocked I tells ya, that something with "mercuro--" at the beginning of its name would contain mercury. Furthermore....
I recently found out that the Iron that is commonly found in multivitamins is actually the metal Iron that bridges are made out of. Who'd've thunk it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by purplehorseshoe View Post
...Moreover, there's boric acid powder in my cabinet. I can get it at any big-box store. Is it different from boric acid solution?
If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.
#48
Old 01-21-2015, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Arrogance Ex Machina View Post
... just look at how many different times this thread has been revived. 7 posts with more than a month break before them!
Google "mercurochrome monkey blood" and it's the #2 result. Looks like this thread alone is responsible for bringing seven new members to the dope.
#49
Old 01-21-2015, 03:23 PM
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To add an outlier (geographically) - I grew up in South Africa and we alse referred to mercurochrome as "monkey's blood". This would have been in the 90s/early 00s.
#50
Old 01-21-2015, 05:04 PM
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I just remember the line from Raising Arizona

Quote:
You need to start two savings accounts, one for the orthodontry one for the college fund. You can soak his thumb in monkey blood and that might knock some off the orthodontry but it won't do nothing for the college.


I don't know how but I knew monkey blood was iodine.
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