The scientific name of alum is potassium aluminum sulfate and the most commonly used variety of alum is the potash alum and is called “fitkari” in the local dialect. There are many types of alum but the potash alum is used for different household needs. It has been in use since ancient times and is still used in the form of blocks or in the form of powder and it comes in various shapes and sizes. Its crystalline blocks are transparent, has no odor and no color. Its melting point is quite high at 200 degrees Celsius when it forms an anhydrous salt losing the water of crystallization.
Fitkari or alum has been in regular use in Unani medicine and Ayurveda. It is also known to be used in traditional Chinese medicine too. From ancient times alum was used as the one-stop solution for many health problems. It is not very costly and can be bought easily and can heal or solve certain health disorders and can also be used in beauty products.
Health benefits of Alum
Alum remove canker sores problem
Alum is used to heal small oral sores. These sores are very painful and hurt whenever you are eating or talking. These make you feel so uncomfortable that you would want to get rid of them as soon as possible. If a little bit of powdered alum is pressed on to these oral sores, it gives a stinging sensation for a few minutes, and there is marked relief the next day. Though many people, especially children do not like to use alum as it has a burning feeling, yet this homemade remedy is a great way to remove those painful mouth sores effectively. People of all ages can use this, as a solution in boiling water or raw as a mouth rinse or on sores, but care should be taken so that raw alum is not swallowed. As a mouthwash, it prevents the buildup of bacteria thus keeping foul breath away.
Alum reduce eye abscesses
Alum can be mixed with sandalwood powder and rose water to get a fine paste which then can be used on eye abscesses that are caused by harmful microorganisms. Though it stings at first, this works on the boil and it breaks bringing much-needed relief from pus-filled sores.
Alum reduce the muscle cramps
If you are facing muscle cramps problem, then use mixture of turmeric applied and alum to areas of muscle cramps. It helps to reduce the cramps problem.
Alum removes the crack heal problem
Alum is extremely effective on cracked heels which occur as fissures under the feet as the skin becomes dry and brittle. It is heated till all the water evaporates, then cooled and powdered, mixed with coconut oil and rubbed on the heels. This should be done regularly for a while and it is sure to bring relief as alum exfoliates the skin around the heels making it smooth and soft.
Alum helps to stop bleeding
Alum is synonymous with shaving. It has been used by barbers since a long time ago as an astringent, as it excellently heals minor cuts that may lead to bleeding during shaving, as it seals the blood vessels that supply blood to the facial skin. A piece of alum block is just rubbed over the small cuts and after sometime bleeding stops.
Alum helps as vaccine preparation
People can use this adjuvant with several sub unit vaccines such as hepatitis B, hepatitis A and DTP. It helps to increase the body immunity system.
Alum helps purify water
We should all drink purified water as it helps us to keep fight diseases and keep healthy. Nowadays we have sophisticated water purifiers which bring us purified water through its latest technologies to our homes. But this technique cannot be used to purify muddy water. Alum does the work here. Even when we are traveling outdoors to a remote place where we cannot get purified water, alum powder comes in handy.
Medical benefits of Alum
It includes several benefits. Therefore whenever one goes on a camping trip it is advisable to carry a block of alum or alum powder. When the little amount of alum powder is mixed into the muddy water, after about 15 minutes, the mud settles down as sediment at the bottom and there is clear water on the top. But alum should never always be used in moderate quantities or as recommended or it may have side effects that can be in the form of vomiting or stomach pain or cramps.
Beauty benefits of Alum
It removes the pimples and acne problem
Alum is the best remedy for acne and pimples which is so common in growing children. Due to its astringent and antiseptic qualities, it can cleanse and disinfects the skin. Using it in a proper way can bring relief from pimples and blackheads making the skin smooth and soft. For this alum is mixed with fuller’s earth and rosewater and made into a fine paste. This is then applied to the affected area and left on for 15 minutes and then rinsed off. This is a beauty tip that can be followed to get a glowing and blemish less skin that we all want.
Maintain natural hair growth control
Alum is also one of the best ways of hair removal. This problem affects mostly women which are the reason that they may feel uncomfortable and is a cause of distress they may suffer from poor self-confidence and self-esteem. Though there are many ways to remove unwanted hair, like a laser treatment can do the trick, yet it is too costly and may not be affordable by most. Alum can work magically, though many are not aware of the fact, to get rid of unwanted body hair and it also has a long-lasting effect. Just dip a cotton ball into a mixture of alum and rosewater and go on applying on the required areas. Let it completely dry off and repeat. Wash it off after the process and apply some olive oil. You have to repeat this process a couple of times for a few weeks for desired results. People who have sensitive skin should be cautious not to keep it on for more than 10 to 15 minutes.
Alum work as a body deodorant
Alum works wonders as a body deodorant. Most of the deodorants that are available in the market today use alum as one of its key ingredients along many other things as alum help to destroy harmful bacteria that are the root cause of bad body odor. Therefore instead of using chemicals, we can rely on this natural remedy to get rid of body odor. Just rub a block of alum onto your wet underarms, wait for a few minutes, and wash off. But it should not be done daily, only on alternate days, as it may cause harm to your skin if used every day.
It creates good impact on hair
Alum can be used for treating lice in the hair. Getting rid of lice is a very tedious task and whenever we are confronted by this problem we try to use many ways to give us relief. When a specially made lice removing shampoo or lice treating cream or some other home remedy does not work we can try and experiment with alum. It is a very natural and sure shot way to relieve you of this problem. Alum powder is mixed with water and applied on the scalp and left on for 30 minutes. An herbal shampoo can be used to wash the hair after this. This process has to be followed regularly and it is sure to yield good results.
Alum is also found to be beneficial on toothaches, piles, tonsillitis, and cold and cough too.