Hydrogen Peroxide Uses
Some people use hydrogen peroxide to clean their wounds, while others use it as a mouthwash, earwax softener, teeth whitener, or, in some cases, even a cancer treatment. Although hydrogen peroxide has a long history of use as a wound cleanser, it is no longer recommended by many in the medical profession for this purpose.
Claimed Benefits of Hydrogen PeroxideAlthough most typically used for wound cleansing, hydrogen peroxide is sometimes claimed to be a "wonder drug," capable of curing or treating numerous different conditions. Some of these supposed uses for hydrogen peroxide are more legitimate than others.
Generally Accepted Uses of Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide has traditionally been used as a wound cleanser, although its use has recently fallen out of favor with the medical profession, since there is little evidence that it is effective and because it can potentially damage healthy tissue.
Hydrogen peroxide is also commonly used in mouthwashes, mostly as a "debriding agent" (to loosen and remove dead, damaged, or otherwise diseased tissue). Therefore, using this product as a mouthwash is just another way of using it as a wound cleanser.
It is also sometimes used to help remove earwax, usually by softening the wax (see Hydrogen Peroxide for Earwax for more information).
Due to its bleaching action, hydrogen peroxide is used in teeth-whitening products as well.
One notable Web site praises the benefits of hydrogen peroxide, claiming that hydrogen peroxide therapy (usually given by mouth or IV) has been used successfully for the following conditions:
- Allergies, including food allergies
- Altitude sickness
- Alzheimer's disease
- An irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia)
- Various infections, including bacterial, viral, parasitic, and fungal infections
- Cerebrovascular disease (such as strokes)
- Chronic pain
- Cirrhosis of the liver
- Cold sores
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Digestion problems
- Gum disease
- Insect bites
- Lupus erythematosus
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Parkinson's disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Sore throat
- Type 2 diabetes
However, according to Dr. Steven Galson of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), "No one has presented any evidence that hydrogen peroxide taken internally has any medical value."
One should be careful of relying on anecdotal evidence (stories of personal experience), since such stories may be due to the "placebo effect" or could even be completely fabricated.
The American Cancer Society recommends that people with cancer not seek treatment from individuals promoting any form of hyperoxygenation therapy (including hydrogen peroxide therapy) as an alternative to proven medical treatments.