Alum crystal has numerous uses in everyday life. Being an inexpensive compound, it has varied range of applications. Not only is Alum used for water purification, but it has a number of health and medicinal applications as well. Benefits of Alum are extensive for healing of cancer sores, healing of muscle cramps and even removal of mouth odor.
Overview of Alum
Alum is scientifically called as potassium aluminium sulphate or also called as Potassium alum. It refers to two salts, potassium aluminium phosphate and ammonium aluminium sulphate. It is generally called as Alum which is found as an extremely astringent crystal. Alum is popular and easily available chemical substance. Alum is a natural mineral found in both ground and surface water. Potassium alum is widely available while soda alum and ammonium alum are synthesized commercially.
Health Benefits of Alum
- Benefits of Alum in Treating Canker Sores: A pinch of alum powder is pressed over the canker sore and the following day the person is relieved of sores. It is used to heal mouth sores too. For all day freshness, mix powdered alum in the mug of water and use it as the last rinse while bathing.
- Alum is Beneficial in Treating Eye Abscess: Alum is rubbed with sandalwood to make a paste and is applied on the boil. The same day the eye abscess gets healed which indicates that use of alum is excellent for treatment of eye abscess.
- Benefits of Alum in Relieving Muscle Cramps: Mixture of alum and turmeric applied to areas of muscle cramps helps to relieve these cramps.
- Alum is Beneficial in Healing Cracked Heels: Cracked heels are healed when mixture of alum (heated in pan and then cooled) along with coconut oil is applied.
- Treating Wrinkles and Pimples: With pollution and ageing, the skin loses its flexibility and starts developing wrinkles which ruins appearance. Due to some anti-ageing compounds in alum, it blocks and diminishes wrinkles. Acne is one of the most common skin problems and it is difficult to avoid, especially during puberty. Alum has germ killing and cooling qualities which makes it an effective agent to treat pimples too.
Medicinal Benefits of Alum
- Medicinal Benefits of Alum for Treating Diarrhea and Dysentery: Due to its drying effect, alum root can heal diarrhoea. Consumption of a cup of strong alum root tea helps in the management of diarrhea and dysentery.
- Benefits of Alum for Heavy Bleeding Cuts: Few research studies have reported that application of alum powder has the ability to heal the bleeding cuts. It is often used to stop bleeding in case of cats and dogs. However, its application may be limited when the wound is very deep.
- Antiseptic Benefits of Alum: Alum is antiseptic in nature and prevents growth of bacteria.
- Medicinal Benefits of Alum in Vaccine Preparation: It is used as an adjuvant in many sub-unit vaccines such as hepatitis A, hepatitis B and DTP vaccine in order to augment body’s response to immunogens. Vaccines containing adjuvants made with aluminium or alum have been reported to last for a longer time span in the body and make the immune response more effective.
- Benefits of Alum for Treating of Hemorrhage: Styptics are a specific type of anti-hemorrhagic agent that works by contracting to close the wounded blood vessels. Alum either in powder form or crystal form or in styptic pencils is applied to cuts to induce contraction in organic tissues and prevent hemorrhage and bleeding.
- Treating Jaundice: Alum is extremely beneficial in the treatment of jaundice. A 0.5gm of Alum powder is mixed with cow milk and is to be taken thrice per day to treat jaundice.
Other Uses and Benefits of Alum
- Oral Health Benefits & Uses of Alum: Rinsing with alum containing water inhibits these bacteria and removes bad breath.
- Using Alum as an Aftershave: If it is rubbed on freshly shaved face, it improves tone of the skin. It prevents and reduces bleeding from minor cuts.
- Use of Alum as a Beauty Agent: Since ancient times, women have applied alum to remove unwanted facial hair. It is an ingredient in some depilatory (hair removal) waxes. However, one needs to apply moisturizer to avoid the skin from becoming dry. Alum is a good skin whitening agent too.
- Water Purification as a Major Benefit of Alum: It is well known that muddy water gets purified with the use of alum. This helps to settle down the mud present in the water giving filtered water that can be used for drinking.
- Benefits of Alum as a Deodorant to Treat Body Odor: Alum has strong antibacterial property and used as a deodorant to inhibit the growth of bacteria responsible for body odour.
- Use of Alum as an Emetic Agent: Alum is also used as an emetic agent to induce vomiting when a person has swallowed poison.
Nutritional Composition of Alum
Alum called as potassium aluminium sulphate is made of double salts, potassium aluminium phosphate and ammonium aluminium sulphate. As such alum is not consumed with food. However some amounts of it are taken to treat jaundice, diarrhoea, dysentery and stomach problems.
Alum has high medicinal applications. Further research needs to be carried out to determine its additional uses which will be beneficial for the humans.