Source: JAMA, March 4, 1988, Vol 259, No. 9 JAMA 100 Years Ago March 3, 1888 Peroxide of Hydrogen as a Remedial Agent By I.N. Love M.D. ...The commercial peroxide of hydrogen is a 3 per cent, aqueous solution and is prepared on a large scale for the bleaching of animal products such as feathers, hair, silk, bone, etc...From its very nature this agent should be a powerful antiseptic and a destroyer of microbes; anything which accomplishes oxidation as rapidly, if it can be applied safely, must be an excellent application to purulent surfaces for its cleansing effect. It has been administered internally for diabetes, but without success. Its recommendation for some forms of atonic dyspepsia, would seem to be reasonable, since we know that condition to be frequently due to a catarrh of the gastric mucus surface accompanied by excessive secretion and fermentation... The clinical application of a remedy is the best test of its value. As a contribution to the fund of knowledge upon this subject, I herewith present the following cases: Scarlet Fever and Diphtheria.--R.H., aged 4 years, an unusually intelligent and interesting boy, developed scarlet fever Dec. 22, 1887. A pronounced case, temperature vibrating for several days from 102 to 104 degrees, throat quite sore, some disposition to ulceration upon both tonsils. Within a week symptoms much modified....At this time diphtheria became a complication, involving the pharynx and the nasal passages. The secretions from all the mucus surfaces were very profuse and purulent in character, and suffocation at times seemed imminent from its accumulation, and the odor was extremely offensive to the patient as well as the attendants. A well organized fibrinous exudation appeared over the surface of the tonsils well forward to the palate, and upward to the posterior nares. The submaxilary and sublingual glands were much enlarged and engorged. Wherever a mucus surface was visible, if not covered with diphtheria membrane, it was violently inflamed nearly to the point of ulceration.... Having been using the peroxide of hydrogen in various strengths for some months as a purifying and stimulating wash for purulent ulcers, sinuses, and fistulae, as well as diphtheria, I concluded to use it as an application in this case. Diluting it with one part to two of water for application to the nasal passages by means of a syringe, and using it in its purity by means of probang and absorbent cotton to the pharynx. I soon had the satisfaction of seeing the pus, and accumulated mucus cleaned out from all the surfaces as if by magic. The child was a bright little hero, and, though semi delirious, he helped materially in its application, and also in the removal of the oxidized purulent matter. The nasal passages, front and back, were soon cleared out, the fauces as well were kept in a comparatively clean condition. A good opportunity was now presented for applying the solution in its purity to the membrane direct, and the disintegration of the same was accomplished after repeated application in a very decided manner. Wherever the solution came in contact with organic matter, a marked effervescence and bubbling ensued, and a breaking down of the accumulation or exudation and throwing off of the same occurred. The beneficial effect of the application was apparent, all the distressing symptoms were much abated, and within three or four days they had passed away... Cancer of the Womb.--In this affection I have had great satisfaction in using the peroxide in its purity as a cleanser, deodorizer, and stimulator of healing....One who has never observed the horrible stench in the room of a neglected cancer of the womb can have no conception of the value of the drug in this connection. Dr. Joseph Grindon, a dermatologist of St. Louis, informs me that he has used the agent to remove pigment spots from the skin. This is the main remedy furnished by dealers to weak-minded women for blonding the hair. It is needless for me to continue to cite cases and conditions where the peroxide of hydrogen will prove of value. I think it worthy of trial in gonorrhoea... (JAMA 1888;10:262-265) Edited by Elizabeth Knoll, PhD, Assistant to the Editor, and Micaela Sullivan-Fowler, Research Associate, AMA Division of Library and Information Management.