Alum or Tawas is a transparent salt crystal that is soluble in water and is widely used as a deodorant and astringent. This crystal has been used in traditional medicine having a number of medicinal uses and health benefits such as treatment of hemorrhoids, sores and many more.
Alum is a chemically hydrated aluminum potassium sulfate that possesses a specific crystal shape and is soluble in water and reacts with acid. Alum has a chemical formula KAl(SO4)2·12H2O. It is non-toxic, has somewhat a sweet acidic taste. There are several types of Alum in the market like potassium alum, soda alum, ammonium alum and aluminum alum, but the more common is the potassium alum.
Alum has varieties of uses. It has industrial, cosmetic, culinary applications as well as some medicinal and health benefits.
Alum Traditional Medicinal Uses and Health benefits
Alum has a long history of medical usage and has a long list of folkloric health benefits for the following conditions.
Usually for canker sores, a small piece of alum is powdered and then a pinch of that alum powder is pressed over the canker sore. It stings for a while, but by the next day, usually the person is relieved of canker sores. But many don’t like to use the alum powder as such and young children will find it hard to bear the burn caused due to alum powder. This homemade alum mouth rinse is good way to use alum to get rid of mouth sores. To make the rinse, powder alum in a mortar and pestle. Boil water in a pan along with little salt, once the salt has dissolved remove from the heat and stir in the alum powder. Once the alum has dissolved, strain and use it as a mouth rinse at least 2 to 3 times a day. Salt is also very effective in treating canker sores and this mouth rinse can be safely used by both young and old. If you are using the raw alum powder, make sure not to swallow it while applying over the canker sore and use only a tiny bit.
Alum is wonderful for treating eye abscess. One of my relatives who taught me the remedy has been using it for eye abscess for quite some time. For treating abscess, rub alum on a sandalwood stone along with little water. You have to rub it nicely to get a paste, as it doesn’t rub into a paste easily. This paste is very effective and it stings initially, when applied. But the boil breaks on the same day it is applied, giving one a good relief from eye abscess. In India, you can find this stone pretty easily. This stone can be stored for years and used.
Alum powder is very useful in treating cracked heels. For this remedy alum is heated in a small empty kadai. When we heat alum, it liquifies and foams. Once all the water evaporates, we are left with a crumbly mixture. Once it cools down, it is powdered and mixed with coconut oil and applied on the legs. The mixture should be ground smoothly, else it will be difficult to apply it on the heels. This remedy gives amazingly good relief, if applied regularly for some time.
Alum has been used as an after shave treatment for centuries. Once you start using alum, you will get rid of all the expensive after shaves. For the first time, you might not like it, but if you continue to use it, you will find positive improvement in you skin tone. To use, after shaving, rub a piece of alum block over the wet face for few seconds. You can either wash it off or leave it on the skin.
Alum is amazing for water treatment. To purify the muddy water, powder alum and add about 1 gm of alum powder for every liter of muddy water. You will find the muddy particles settling down, leaving you with clear water. Next time you go on a camping trip, take a small block of alum with you.
Alum is wonderful as a deodorant due to it’s antiseptic and anti bacterial properties. To make the deodorant, powder alum along with little myrhh and use it as dusting powder, or you could simply wet an alum block and use it. However it is advised to use it every other day instead of every day.
Alum can be effectively used for body hair removal for women. A mixture of alum powder and water or better still rosewater can be applied all over the body. This paste tends to retard the body hair growth over time.
Alum can be effectively used for wrinkles. Take a piece of alum and wet it in water. Rub it on your damp face for few seconds. Alum tends to tighten the skin. Wash your face in water and apply moisturizer.
Alum can be effectively used for treating pimples. A face pack made with egg whites, powdered alum and fullers earth is very effective in treating acne.
Alum can be used effectively to get rid of hair lice. To make the lice treatment, powdered alum is mixed in water along with little tea tree oil. This mixture when applied on the scalp for some time, helps to get rid of lice.
Dissolving alum crystals in 5 parts of water is done to be used for shrinking hemorrhoids, to stop any bleeding, and to reduce the mucus discharge that usually occurs in an increased manner when hemorrhoids occur.
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Source: Medical Health Guide | Wild Turmeric