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The many uses of Condy's Crystals

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Permanganate of potash crystals, better known as Condy’s crystals have a lot of uses. At public swimming baths it is dissolved in foot-baths as disinfectant. The oldies also used one or two crystals in the drinking water of sick fowls or birds and some of the people apparently also put some crystals in the bath water to get a quick tan. At a university hostel they even tried to colour a poor guy purple with it, with rather bad consequences. If you prepare it too strong it can burn the skin horribly. It was even believed that the crystals would help for snakebite and for many years it was considered as the proper emergency treatment.

Don’t confuse Condy’s crystals with copper sulphate which, according to tradition, were put in the tea or coffee of ex-servicemen to subdue "readiness".

This small purple crystal still has, for the hunter and those who expose themselves to the wilderness, very handy emergency uses.

  • Water purifier. Add two or three crystals per litre of water and stir until the colour is light pink. Allow the mixture to stand for at least thirty minutes and you have drinking water in an emergency. If possible, filter the water and also boil it.

  • Antiseptic: Add crystals in water and stir until it is purple. This mixture can be used to disinfect wounds as well as for fungus problems i.e. Athletic foot and other external infections.

  • Start a fire: To start a fire, form a small heap with one teaspoon of crystals, dribble glycerine, antifreeze or brake fluid on the crystals. Patiently wait until it catches fire and use to start your fire.

Be sure you have a bottle of Condy’s crystals with you on your next hunting expedition. It has little weight, does not take up much space and is versatile in emergencies

Dr Wallace Vosloo is an Engineer and Scientist by profession. His family has lived in Africa since 1696 and he has a deep love for the continent. He is a practical outdoorsman and loves traditional hunting, axe and knife throwing, longbow shooting, black powder rifle- and cannon shooting, salt and fresh water fly fishing and tracking. The art of survival is Wallace’s main field of interest and his passion is to transfer these old forgotten skills to young hunters.

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