Gentian violet is a non-prescription antifungal treatment, commonly used to treat yeast infections, particularly thrush in breastfeeding mothers and babies. It is a topical solution.



Gentian violet works best as a 1% solution, as 2% solutions may cause irritation in babies' mouths. It is a deep purple shade and stains both clothing and skin, although it will fade off skin within a couple days, and may be removed from clothing with rubbing alcohol.



Follow a physician's recommendations on how often to use the solution, as it may range from one to three times a day for about 3 days. Use a cotton swab to apply the solution to the nipples and when nursing, the medication will be transferred to baby.


Symptoms of Thrush

Typically a yeast or thrush infection in a nursing pair will result in painful, itchy or red nipples and breasts, and a white coating may appear inside baby's mouth. It may occur after antibiotic use, and the severity of itching, pain and redness varies greatly and may be seen in one or both breasts.


Where to Find Gentian Violet

Most pharmacies carry gentian violet, but it's best to call ahead. Ask if the solution is 1 or 2%, and request it be diluted to 1% if only 2% is offered. Often gentian violet will be behind the counter, but it doesn't require a prescription. Health food stores may also carry it.

  • Most pharmacies carry gentian violet, but it's best to call ahead.


Expect baby's lips and mouth area to be stained purple, but to minimise this apply some petroleum jelly to the lips and around the mouth. Don't stop using the gentian violet just because symptoms disappear; apply it as directed for length of time ordered by a physician to make sure the fungus is eradicated.