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Interesting facts about Zelenka

Занимательные факты о Зеленке

Diamond green (tetraethyl-4,4-diaminotriphenylmethane oxalate) (Viridis nitens) is a synthetic aniline dye of the triphenylmethane series.

Technical names - main green 1; No. 42040; the main bright green; malachite green J.

Antiseptic; used in the form of aqueous or alcoholic solutions to lubricate the skin with its diseases and injuries.

Not to be confused with a substance similar in structure - malachite green (tetramethyl-4,4-diaminotriphenylmethane).

Interesting facts about Zelenka

Занимательные факты о Зеленке

For born in the USSR, greenback is a symbol of indestructible will and confident well-being. Zelenka was (and remains elsewhere) a universal means of combating many diseases.

However, not everyone knows what caused such a popularity of this medicine, why it is “diamond” and why Western medicine rejects the use of such a magical doctor.

1. The history of its origin is rooted in the 19th century and the weaving industry. William Perkin, a young London chemist, was developing a cure for malaria at the time. The result of one of the experiments was a substance painted in an unnaturally bright purple color. It was impossible to wash this color from clothes. A resourceful father from an unexpected experiment "squeezed out" the practical benefits and opened a factory for the production of aniline dyes.

2. Doctors used dyes for their own purposes. They stained the preparations in order to better see the life of microorganisms under a microscope. Suddenly, doctors found that one of the dyes, namely diamond green, destroys microbes. Since then, this antiseptic drug has confidently entered the medical practice. Today, many effective antiseptics have been invented, but the green stuff is in no hurry to give way to analogues.

3. Zelenka in dry form - these are lumps of golden green color. The Latin name of this substance is viridis nitentis, in literal translation - green brilliant. One of the scientists, translating the term into French, used the word brillant, which does not contradict the meaning (brillant in one of its meanings is brilliant). Confusion occurred when translating from French into Russian. Brillant was used in the meaning - diamond. Among all the dyes, only brilliant green is distinguished by such a pompous name.

4. It is worth noting that to date, brilliant green is used only in Russia and some CIS countries. What is the reason for such hostility from the remaining world? European scientists find it difficult to give a clear answer. They argue their dislike with the following provisions:

  • The mechanism of action of zelenka is not well understood. Western medicine does not intend to use the drug scrupulously unexplored. How to spend money and time experimenting with green
  • The aesthetic side. Well, I don’t like the extremely civilized part of the planet this way of "landscaping" the patient. Why spoil the appearance when there is such an abundance of invisible antiseptics around?

By the way, the widespread belief that zelenka is a strong carcinogen can in fact be just a myth. Relevant studies on this subject have not been conducted.

5. Do you know that:

  • for a white rat, a dose of 0.05 g / kg is a lethal dose,
  • brilliant green in industry is used for dyeing (cotton, silk, paper, etc.),
  • The chemical formula of Zelenka is C27H33N2 * HC2O4 * H2O,
  • during the Stalinist repressions on the bodies of the executed, the arrest number was displayed exactly as “brilliant green”.

History and etymology

Diamond green was first obtained in 1879 in Germany. About the antiseptic properties of this substance learned only in the next century. In the middle of the 20th century, diamond greens, durable and cheap to produce, became widespread in the Soviet Union.

In Russian, the name of this dye came from the French language. In dry form, brilliant green is a golden-green lumps, in Latin viridis nitens, - literally "brilliant green." When translating into French, the word brillant was used - in French “brilliant”, which the Russian translator mechanically translated as “diamond”.

In addition to Russia and several countries in the post-Soviet space, diamond green is not used anywhere else in medicine, although, for example, in Europe, it is included in the list of approved medications. There are three possible reasons. First, the doctrine of evidence-based medicine is accepted in Western countries, and the molecular mechanism of action of this (and other) dyes is still unknown. Secondly, it is still not known for certain whether diamond green has carcinogenic properties. Thirdly, when used for a medicine, the aesthetic side is also important, which is why Western medicine takes into account changes in the patient’s appearance when using the drug.

In the post-Soviet space, a solution of brilliant green is widely known under the colloquial name zielonka. In the Soviet and Russian criminal milieu, there is the expression “smear (anyone )’s forehead with greens”, which originally meant execution (death penalty), and subsequently simply murder (with a firearm). This expression arose during the time of the Stalinist repressions, when a prisoner was written in zelenka on his thigh by a shot or dead prisoner. Therefore, initially there was an expression: “smear a leg with greens”, and they started talking about “forehead” later, although the forehead had nothing to do with writing the number with greens.

The properties

In Russia, the quality of the Brilliant Green dye is regulated by TU 6-09-4278-88. The quality of the drug Diamond Green is regulated by the regulatory documents (ND) of the manufacturers of this antiseptic.


  • Greenish-golden lumps or golden-green powder.
  • It is soluble in water (1:50) and ethanol, soluble in chloroform.
  • Solutions in water and ethanol have an intense green color.
  • The maximum absorption curve at 625 ± 0.5 nm.


  • When brilliant green concentrated hydrochloric acid is added to a 0.2% solution, an orange color appears, and when a NaOH solution is added, a pale green base precipitate forms (these reactions are used to establish authenticity).
  • Incompatible with disinfectant medicines containing active iodine, chlorine, alkalis (including ammonia solution).


Diamond green is obtained only by synthetic means. The synthesis is reduced to the condensation of diethylaniline with benzaldehyde; the resulting 4,4'-bis-diethylaminotriphenylmethane is oxidized with lead (IV) or manganese (VII) oxide; the carbinol base obtained in this way, when reacted with oxalic acid, forms brilliant green.

Interesting facts about Zelenka


Занимательные факты о Зеленке

It is produced in the form of salts of bis- (para-diethylamino)-triphenylhydrocarbinol with various anions:

  • Oxalate (CAS 23664-66-6) - the most widely used in medicine.
  • Sulfate (CAS 633-03-4) - is used for photometric determination of certain chemical elements and as a pH indicator.
  • Base (CAS 630-98-8).

In medicine

In the territory of the former USSR, a solution of brilliant green is used as an antiseptic drug (in the United States and the European Union as an antiseptic it is allowed, but not used).

As a medicine, a 1% or 2% alcohol solution of oxalate is used (57% ethanol, less often in the form of an aqueous solution, from 0.1% to 2%, in accordance with the recommended dosage), is also available in the form of a pencil.

It is indicated for disinfection of fresh postoperative and post-traumatic scars, umbilical cord of newborns, abrasions, cuts, and other violations of the integrity of the skin, in the treatment of purulent-inflammatory skin processes - hordeolum ("barley"), meibomite, blepharitis, pyoderma, local furunculosis, carbunculosis, staph infection. It is applied externally, the drug is applied to the damaged surface, capturing the surrounding healthy tissue.

It is a highly active and fast-acting antiseptic (active against gram-positive bacteria), and also has a fungicidal effect against certain pathogenic fungi. Gram-negative bacteria are practically not affected.

In the aquatic environment, it has a detrimental effect on the culture of Staphylococcus aureus (Staphylococcus aureus) at a concentration of 1:10,000,000; its phenol coefficient is equal to 40,000. Diphtheria bacillus (Corynebacterium diphtheriae) is highly sensitive to brilliant green.

In the presence of organic substances, the antimicrobial activity decreases: when assessing the activity of this dye in a medium containing 10% blood serum, the phenol coefficient is 120 (0.3% of the value in an aqueous medium).

Also used in veterinary medicine.

In medical microbiology

In bacteriology and histology, it is used for staining cell media.

It is also used for the preparation of brilliant green agar culture medium intended for reseeding cultures and identification of bacteria of the genus Salmonella.

In industry

Diamond green is used as a dye for cotton and silk, paper, wood (the colors are not very resistant to light and wet treatments), it is used for the manufacture of funnel varnishes.

In agriculture

It is part of the Zar-2 preparation used to limit the growth of the antennae of strawberries and strawberries (composition: chlorocholinchloride - 40%; acetic acid - 6.0%, brilliant green - 0.1%, drinking water - up to 100.0% )

In chemistry

In analytical chemistry, Brilliant green is used in the form of sulfate for the photometric determination of B, V, Sb, Re, Au, Ta, Tl, Hg, Zn, which are part of some anions, for spectrophotometric determination of iodine.

In toxicological chemistry and forensic toxicology it is used as a high-quality reagent for thallium salts.

Also used as a pH indicator for microscopy; with a transition from green at pH 0.1 to yellow at pH 2.6.

In art

The writer N.V. Gornov has a fantastic story “Diamond Green”.

Toxic effect

Under industrial conditions, workers cause inflammatory skin diseases. With medical use, allergic reactions are possible (itching, urticaria). If it enters the mucous membrane of the eyes, there is a burning sensation, lacrimation, and a burn is possible.

Absolutely lethal dose for white rats is 0.05 g / kg.