Hydrogen peroxide or H2O2 is very similar to water. It looks the same, and it acts similarly to water in chemical reactions. However, it does have an extra oxygen molecule, which makes all the difference.
In concentrated form, hydrogen peroxide is very dangerous. However, if diluted, it has many uses, both commercial and medicinal. It acts as a powerful bleaching agent, it is an antiseptic, a disinfectant and an oxidizer. Its use in diluted form is not only safe, but very efficient.
Production of hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is found in various sources in nature. It is found in rain and snow, in plants, which synthesize it during photosynthesis, and sea planktons are considered to be the major producers of it.
In the human body, hydrogen peroxide is produced by the immune system. It is also present in the mother’s milk, especially in the colostrums, which is the first milk a new mother produces.
Commercially, hydrogen peroxide is manufactured in different strengths, for different purposes. It comes in grades like 3.5%, which is the pharmaceutical grade, 6% is used in cosmetics, 30% is the reagent and electronic grade, 35% is technical and food grade while 90% hydrogen peroxide is actually used as rocket fuel.
Medical uses of hydrogen peroxide
It has been known for a very long time that hydrogen peroxide can be very efficient in repairing different kinds of damage in the human body. After World War I, it was administered intravenously against pneumonia and later there were many studies which examined the possibility it could cure a wide range of illnesses, from mental disturbances to polio.
Hydrogen peroxide is a great antiseptic and disinfectant, and as such it is used to sterilize facilities in hospitals and ambulances, as well as the surgical instruments.
The FDA has approved the use of hydrogen peroxide as a mouthwash, of course in the diluted form. It can be used as a home remedy for skin infections like acne, lesions, cold sores, insect bites and burns.
Due to its properties, hydrogen peroxide is used in the treatment of viral, bacterial, fungal and parasitic infections, allergies, gingivitis, food poisoning, pneumonia, digestive problems, ulcers, boils, sinusitis, but also for very serious diseases like cancer, multiple sclerosis and liver cirrhosis.
Mixed with baking soda, hydrogen peroxide can be used as a remedy for teeth whitening and as an oral disinfectant which kills germs.
It can also be used to treat conditions related to the ears, such as ear infections and clogged earwax.
Hydrogen peroxide has many medicinal uses, but it is very important to know how to use it properly, For example, if using it as an addition to inhaling vapors or if taking it orally, it is vital to make sure it is properly diluted, otherwise it can irritate the tissues and mucous membranes and cause quite a damage.