Listerine is a brand of antiseptic mouthwash product. It is promoted with the slogan “Kills germs that cause bad breath”. Named after Joseph Lister, 1st Baron Lister, a pioneer of antiseptic surgery, Listerine was developed in 1879 by Joseph Lawrence, a chemist in St. Louis, Missouri.
Originally marketed by the Lambert Pharmacal Company (which later became Warner-Lambert), Listerine has been manufactured and distributed by Johnson & Johnson since that company’s acquisition of Pfizer’s consumer healthcare division in late December 2006.
The Listerine brand name is also used in toothpaste, Listerine Whitening rinse, Listerine Fluoride rinse (Listerine Tooth Defense), Listerine SmartRinse (children’s fluoride rinse), PocketPaks, and PocketMist. In September 2007, Listerine began selling its own brand of self-dissolving teeth-whitening strips.
The active ingredients listed on Listerine bottles are essential oils which are menthol (mint) 0.042%, thymol (thyme) 0.064%, methyl salicylate (wintergreen) 0.06%, and eucalyptol (eucalyptus) 0.092%. In combination all have an antiseptic effect and there is some thought that methyl salicylate may have an anti-inflammatory effect as well. Ethanol, which is toxic to bacteria at concentrations of 40%, is present in concentrations of 21.6% in the flavored product and 26.9% in the original gold Listerine Antiseptic. At this concentration, the ethanol serves to dissolve the active ingredients.
The addition of the active ingredients means the ethanol is considered to be undrinkable, known as denatured alcohol, and it is therefore not regulated as an alcoholic beverage in the United States. (Specially Denatured Alcohol Formula 38-B, specified in Title 27, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 21, Subpart D) However, consumption of mouthwash to obtain intoxication does occur, especially among alcoholics and underage drinkers.
Did you know that Listerine® was marketed as an anti-dandruff product for 20 years?
It sounds strange now, but from the 1930s to the 1950s, Listerine was marketed as a cure for dandruff.
There are still many fans who swear by it today, saying that it helps clear seborrheic dermatitis, soothes an inflamed and itchy scalp and leaves the scalp feeling healthier in general – all of which, of course, promote hair health too.
Bizarre as it may sound, there are very good reasons why it may be effective.
Listerine contains menthol, thymol, and eucalyptol and methyl salicylate. These ingredients have antiseptic and anti-fungal properties, both of which are good for keeping the scalp in great condition. Methyl salicylate also has an anti-inflammatory, cooling action wherever it’s applied – perfect for soothing an itchy scalp.
Listerine was supposed to have a wide variety of uses when it was created, and not only used as a mouthwash.
It was invented in 1879, as a surgical antiseptic used for various purposes, and it began to be marketed as a mouthwash against bad breath in the 1970s!
Here are some interesting uses of Listerine:
Clean your screens
Clean the screens of your television and computer with Listerine and a soft cloth. Listerine is a good sanitizer for your bathroom. You can wipe down mirrors, sinks, cabinet fixtures, floors, and pretty much anything else with a mixture of Listerine and water. It can also help with mold and mildew.
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