Alum

Alum
Alum or Phitkari is a transparent salt like substance. There are various types of Alum such as Potassium Alum or Potass, Ammonium, Chrome, Selenate. It is soluble ten times in normal water and three times in warm water. Alum possesses properties such as antimicrobial, anti-worm and anti-inflammatory. It helps to manage mouth ulcers, wounds and cough[1].
In Ayurveda, Alum (Phitkari) is used in the form of Bhasma (Pure Ash) called as Sphatika Bhasma. Alum (Sphatika) is heated in a pan until all the water evaporates. At the end of the process, white powder is collected which is known as Sphatika Bhasma.

What are the synonyms of Alum?

Potassium Aluminum sulphate, Bulk potassium Alum, Sulphate of Alumina and Potash, Aluminous sulphate, Phitikhar, Phitkar, Phitkari, Phatikari, Surashtraja, Kamakshi, Tuvari, Sithi, Angda, Venmali, Phatkiri, Phatkari, Patikaram, Adikharum, Shinacrum, Pattikaramu, Tawas, Trae phitki[1].

What is the source of Alum?

Plant Based

Benefits of Alum

1. Whooping Cough
Alum (Sphatika bhasma) helps to control the symptoms of whooping cough. It reduces mucus in the lungs and controls vomiting in some cases of whooping cough. This is due to its Kashaya (astringent) property.
Tips:
a. Take 1-2 pinch of Alum (Sphatika bhasma).
b. Mix with one teaspoon honey.
c. Have it twice a day after taking light food to control whooping cough.

2. Menorrhagia
Menorrhagia or heavy menstrual bleeding is known as Raktapradar or excessive secretion of menstrual blood. This is due to an aggravated Pitta dosha. Alum (Sphatika bhasma) balances an aggravated Pitta and controls heavy menstrual bleeding. This is due to its Kashaya (astringent) and Raktastambhak (hemostatic) properties.
Tips:
a. Take 1-2 pinch of Alum (Sphatika bhasma).
b. Mix with one teaspoon honey.
c. Have it twice a day after taking light food to manage menorrhagia.

3. Bleeding piles
Piles are known as Arsh in Ayurveda which is caused by an unhealthy diet and a sedentary lifestyle. This leads to the impairment of all the three doshas, mainly Vata. An aggravated Vata causes a low digestive fire, leading to constipation. This causes swelling in the veins in the rectum area leading to piles mass. Sometimes bleeding can also occur in this condition. Alum (Sphatika bhama) helps to control bleeding. This is due to its Kashaya (astringent) and Raktastambhak (hemostatic) properties.
Tips:
a. Take 1-2 pinch of Alum (Sphatika bhasma).
b. Mix with one teaspoon honey.
c. Have it twice a day after taking light food to manage piles.

Precautions when using Alum

Recommended Dosage of Alum

  • Alum Bhasma - 1-2 pinch twice a day.

How to use Alum

1. Alum Powder
a. Take 1-2 pinch Alum (Sphatika Bhasma).
b. Mix with 1 teaspoon honey.
c. Have it once or twice a day after taking food.

Benefits of Alum

1. Mouth Ulcer
Mouth ulcers are also known as Mukh Pak in Ayurveda and they usually appear on the tongue, lips, inside the cheeks, inside the bottom lip or on the gums. Alum helps in quick healing of mouth ulcers. This is due to its Kashaya (astringent) and Ropan (healing) properties.
Tips:
a. Take 1-2 pinch Alum powder.
b. Mix with honey as per your requirement.
c. Apply on the affected area once or twice a day.
d. Repeat daily to manage mouth ulcers.

2. Wound healing
Alum helps in quick healing of the wound, decreases swelling and brings back the normal texture of the skin. This is due to its Kashaya (astringent) and Ropan (healing) properties. Alum also works on the wound by controlling bleeding because of its Raktastambhak (hemostatic) properties.
Tips:
a. Take 1/4 teaspoon Alum powder.
b. Mix with water and heat it for 5-10 minutes.
c. Remove from heat and let it cool.
d. Wash the wound with this water 2-3 times a day.
e. Repeat daily for quick wound healing.

3. Leucorrhea
Leucorrhea is a thick, whitish discharge from the female genitals. According to Ayurveda, leucorrhea is due to an imbalance of Kapha dosha. Alum is useful in leucorrhea because of its Kashaya (astringent) property when Alum powder is used as a vaginal wash.
Tips:
a. Take 1/4 teaspoon Alum powder.
b. Mix with water and heat it for 5-10 minutes.
c. Remove from heat and let it cool.
d. Wash the wound with this water 2-3 times a day.
e. Repeat daily to manage leucorrhea.

4. Bleeding cuts
Alum is useful in minor bleeding cuts in any part of the body. Alum helps to control bleeding and accelerates the healing process. This is due to its Raktastambhak (hemostatic) properties.
Tips:
a. Take 1-2 pinch of Alum powder.
b. Mix with coconut oil.
c. Apply on the affected area to control bleeding and for quick healing.

Recommended Dosage of Alum

  • Alum Powder - 1-2 pinch of Alum powder or as per your requirement.

How to use Alum

1. Alum Powder
A. Wound wash
i. Add 2-3 pinch of Alum powder to lukewarm water.
ii. Wash your wounds with Alum water followed by plain water 2-3 times a day.

B. Tooth powder
i. Take just 2-3 pinch of Alum powder.
ii. Use it as tooth powder twice a day.

2. Alum Block
a. Take ½-1 Alum block.
b. Wet it properly.
c. Rub over the face after shaving.
d. Let it dry.

Frequently asked questions

Q. Is Alum safe to use?

ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Yes, Alum is safe to use externally and internally. In Ayurveda, Alum is used in the form of Bhasma named Sphatika bhasma which can be taken orally to manage various diseases.

Q. How much Alum do I put in my water?

scientific
Scientific View
The quantity that can be used may vary from 5 mg to 70 mg. It highly depends on the turbidity (cloudiness in the water due to the presence of suspended particles) of the water. Clear water needs less quantity while turbid water needs more quantity of Alum.

Q. What does Alum do?

scientific
Scientific View
Alum has various applications. Most commonly it is used in pharmaceutical, cosmetic industry and food industries.

Q. Is Alum a spice?

scientific
Scientific View
Alum is not a spice. It is a mineral that exists in the crystalline form. It is used for making some cuisines and pickles as a preservative. However excess use of Alum should be avoided in food preparations.

Q. How does Alum help in controlling bleeding?

scientific
Scientific View
Alum has an astringent property that helps reduce bleeding from minor wounds. It also works in skin contraction and helps to close wound openings.

Q. Is Alum acidic or alkaline?

scientific
Scientific View
Alum is acidic in nature. 1% solution of Alum has a pH of 3.

Q. How do you apply Alum to underarms?

scientific
Scientific View
Alum can be used as an effective remedy to lighten dark underarms.
Tips:
1. Gently rub Alum onto your underarms.
2. Keep it for 20 minutes and then wash it off with plain water.
3. Applying regularly will help make the skin tone lighter.

Q. What is Alum used for in cooking?

scientific
Scientific View
In terms of cooking, Alum is generally used as an ingredient in bakery as a preservative. It is used in pickles and to maintain the freshness of fruits and vegetables.

Q. Is Alum good for piles?

scientific
Scientific View
es, Alum is beneficial in case of piles. Alum, when injected into the piles, leads to narrowing of the wall of the blood vessel. This reduces the blood flow and prevents piles. It also reduces the size of the piles[5][6].
Tip:
Potassium Aluminum sulphate is mixed with tannic acid and injected into the piles[5][6].

Q. Does Alum cause diarrhea?

ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
No, Alum or Sphatika bhasma helps to control diarrhea. This is due to its Kashaya (astringent) property.

Q. Does Alum cause constipation?

ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Alum or Sphatika helps to improve digestion but it can cause constipation if you already have a history of constipation. This is due to its Kashaya (astringent) nature.

Q. Is Alum safe to ingest?

ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
According to Ayurveda, Alum (Phitkarii) can be ingested in the form of Bhasma called as Sphatika Bhasma. Alum (Sphatika) is heated in a pan until all the water evaporates. At the end of the process, white powder is collected which is known as Sphatika Bhasma.

Q. Is Alum good for mouth ulcers?

scientific
Scientific View
Yes, topical use of Alum is good for mouth ulcers. Alum has astringent and hemostatic properties. Alum promotes tissue contraction and decreases the size of the wound. It promotes healing by reducing pain and inflammation. Alum also prevents the recurrence of mouth ulcers[2][3].

Q. Is Alum good for bleeding gums?

scientific
Scientific View
Yes, Alum is good for bleeding gums. It has hemostatic and astringent properties. It controls bleeding by shrinking the gum tissue. Alum also helps in strengthening the mucous layer of the gums[7].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Yes, Alum is useful for bleeding gums. Alum helps to control bleeding when applied on the affected area. This is due to its Kashaya (astringent) and Ropan (healing) properties.

Q. Is Alum good for injuries due to burn?

scientific
Scientific View
Yes, application of Alum is good for injuries due to burn. Alum has good antiseptic and astringent activities. It helps in wound contraction, removal of dead tissue and in the formation of new skin cells. Alum helps in wound healing by inhibiting the bacterial growth and reducing the chance of infection[4].

References

  1. Akhtar Ali, Hamiduddin, Mohammad Z. qShibb-e-yamani (Alum) a unique drug and its utilization in unani medicine: a physicochemical and pharmacological review. Int J Res Ayurveda Pharm.2017;8(2):17-22.
  2. Roqaiya M, Begum W. A review on medical aspect of Alum in unani medicine and scientific studies. WJPR.2015;4(6):929-940.
  3. Rafieian N, Abdolsamadi H, Moghadamnia A, et al. Efficacy of Alum for treatment of recurrent aphthous stomatitis. Caspian J Intern Med.2016;7(3):201-205.
  4. Sawarkar P, Sawarkar G. “Management of chronic burn wound by compound ayurvedic preparation Dagdhahar Malahar\" Introduction. Ayurlog: National Journal of Research in Ayurved Science.2018;6(4).
  5. Tomiki Y, Ono S, Aoki J, et al. Treatment of internal hemorrhoids by endoscopic sclerotherapy with Aluminum potassium sulfate and tannic acid. Diagnostic and Therapeutic Endoscopy.2015.
  6. Tokunaga Y, Sasaki H. Impact of less invasive treatments including sclerotherapy with a new agent and hemorrhoidopexy for prolapsing internal hemorrhoids. Int Surg.2013;98:210–213.
  7. Tarighi P, Khoroushi M. A review on common chemical hemostatic agents in restorative dentistry. Dent Res J (Isfahan).2014;11(4):423–428.
Disclaimer
The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.