Giemsa stain – Principle, procedure, results, advantages & disadvantages

giemsa stain
Giemsa stain

Principle of Giemsa stain

Giemsa stain is a compound dye. That means it contains both acid and basic dyes in combination. Giemsa stain is a differential stain. That means it helps to differentiate both acidic and basic components of cells. This stain contains azure, methylene blue, and eosin dye.

  • Acidic dyes:- Azure and eosin
  • Basic dye:- Methylene blue

Azure and eosin provide a wide range of colors. Methylene blue is a metachromatic dye that provides dyed purple and not blue.

Giemsa powder is commercially available.

Stain: – preparation

Procedure of Giemsa stain

Firstly, you have to prepare blood smear (It should not be too thick or too thin)

After that, let it into dry

Blood smear fix in methanol (30 seconds)

Flood the slide with 1:5 dilution of stain with buffer with a stain time of 12 minutes

(Note:- The best way is you have to change the dilution series like 1:3, 1:9 for every concentration for 10-15 minutes stain time. After that observe color differences.)

Results of Giemsa staining

  • Erythrocyte (Red blood cells):- Pink
  • Platelets:- light pale pink
  • Lymphocyte cytoplasm:- sky blue
  • Monocyte cytoplasm:- pale blue
  • Leukocyte nuclear chromatin:- Magenta

Advantages and disadvantages of Giemsa staining


Easily available

Easy to prepare

cheap in expense

Simple to use at any time for urgency

This stain can produces excellent nuclear and cytoplasmic detail


pH color changing will effect into incorrect staining reactions

Uses of Giemsa staining

  • Chromosomes are visualized with Giemsa stain
  • This stain used to identify mast cells
  • This stain helps to identify the Leishmania amastigote stage
  • Giemsa stains the fungus histoplasma and chlamydia bacteria
  • Stain bone marrow specimens
  • Giemsa stained Borrelia in peripheral blood smear
  • This stain used to identify trophozoite of Trichomonas vaginalis
  • Giemsa stained Trypanosoma parasites

See more information about Leishman stain

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