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  #1  
Old 04-11-2002, 12:50 PM
Morgainelf Morgainelf is offline
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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 04:32 AM..
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  #2  
Old 04-11-2002, 02:28 PM
hudley hudley is offline
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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.
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  #3  
Old 04-11-2002, 05:44 PM
Leifsmama Leifsmama is offline
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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.
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  #4  
Old 04-11-2002, 06:36 PM
Tedster Tedster is offline
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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.
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  #5  
Old 04-11-2002, 09:36 PM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is offline
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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, 10:02 PM
Zyada Zyada is offline
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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?
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  #7  
Old 04-11-2002, 10:48 PM
Fionn Fionn is offline
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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.
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  #8  
Old 04-12-2002, 12:17 AM
John Carter of Mars John Carter of Mars is offline
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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.
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  #9  
Old 04-12-2002, 01:00 AM
stockton stockton is offline
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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!!!
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  #10  
Old 04-12-2002, 07:54 AM
Shagnasty Shagnasty is offline
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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.
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  #11  
Old 04-11-2012, 11:19 AM
JaicieK JaicieK is offline
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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! )
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  #12  
Old 04-11-2012, 11:33 AM
Blank Slate Blank Slate is offline
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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.
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  #13  
Old 04-11-2012, 11:38 AM
purplehorseshoe purplehorseshoe is offline
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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?
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  #14  
Old 04-11-2012, 11:44 AM
wevets wevets is offline
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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.
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  #15  
Old 04-11-2012, 12:45 PM
Rachellelogram Rachellelogram is offline
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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.
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  #16  
Old 04-11-2012, 02:01 PM
california jobcase california jobcase is offline
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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 02:03 PM..
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  #17  
Old 04-11-2012, 02:17 PM
Chanteuse Chanteuse is offline
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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!
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  #18  
Old 04-11-2012, 02:31 PM
Lynn Bodoni Lynn Bodoni is offline
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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.
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  #19  
Old 04-11-2012, 09:42 PM
VOW VOW is offline
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*scoff*

I got Bactine.


~VOW
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  #20  
Old 04-11-2012, 09:44 PM
Covered_In_Bees! Covered_In_Bees! is offline
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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.
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  #21  
Old 04-11-2012, 09:49 PM
Inner Stickler Inner Stickler is offline
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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.
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  #22  
Old 04-11-2012, 09:50 PM
running coach running coach is online now
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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.
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  #23  
Old 04-11-2012, 10:22 PM
Covered_In_Bees! Covered_In_Bees! is offline
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Good catch!

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  #24  
Old 04-12-2012, 09:26 AM
Enright3 Enright3 is offline
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I grew up in Oklahoma, and we called it Monkey Blood.
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  #25  
Old 02-02-2013, 12:21 AM
JamesHerrington JamesHerrington is offline
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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.
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  #26  
Old 02-02-2013, 04:27 AM
WhyNot WhyNot is offline
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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.
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  #27  
Old 07-26-2013, 11:17 PM
billgerat billgerat is offline
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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.
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  #28  
Old 07-26-2013, 11:29 PM
FlikTheBlue FlikTheBlue is offline
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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.
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  #29  
Old 07-26-2013, 11:50 PM
elfkin477 elfkin477 is online now
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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, 12:07 AM
WhyNot WhyNot is offline
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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
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  #31  
Old 07-27-2013, 02:11 AM
Malacandra Malacandra is offline
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It was banned when they found it spread the zombie infection.
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  #32  
Old 07-27-2013, 04:38 AM
Novelty Bobble Novelty Bobble is online now
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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.
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  #33  
Old 07-28-2013, 01:38 PM
Kiyoshi Kiyoshi is offline
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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.)
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  #34  
Old 07-28-2013, 07:37 PM
Daylate Daylate is offline
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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 07:37 PM..
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  #35  
Old 07-28-2013, 07:54 PM
Tangent Tangent is offline
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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.
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  #36  
Old 09-27-2013, 01:12 PM
B L Zebubba B L Zebubba is offline
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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.
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  #37  
Old 09-27-2013, 01:35 PM
B L Zebubba B L Zebubba is offline
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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 01:38 PM.. Reason: Personal preference.
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  #38  
Old 09-27-2013, 01:42 PM
panache45 panache45 is offline
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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.
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  #39  
Old 01-01-2014, 12:24 AM
Tank's Nurse Tank's Nurse is offline
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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!
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