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What can alum do?

Alum has fallen into disrepute, though used to be a staple in just about every household. Inquiries can be found on the Internet concerned parents, is alum poisonous ??? I hear panic out of it. What can you still use without hesitation, and what not?

Food, clothing, toys, deodorants, everything is becoming a health problem and risk in our time. The more information you get, the more confused and disoriented you feel. And yes, I always feel the same way, that's why I made up my mind to bring some order into the informative chaos.

The basic question is answered quickly.alum to touch, or to get a cloud of alum steam from is not dangerous. However, alum should not get into the hands of children, this applies to all chemicals. This also applies to glue, nail polish, citric acid, or hair shampoo. After all, you don't know what the little ones can think of! A piece of modeling clay quickly ends up in your mouth, or somewhere else where it shouldn't go.Alum is not suitable for consumption, and alum vapors, should not be deeply inhaled. If you follow these simple rules, you can apply alum externally and use it for various purposes.

For example, alum can be made wonderfulGrowing crystals, theProduction is harmless. Of course, when it comes to children, someone should also be there who is responsible and careful. Not necessarily because it is alum, but mainly because a solution is made with hot water. As an alternative, normal table salt is also suitable, only the large crystals are best grown with alum. An exact You will find instructions on my blog soon.

Back to alum.

What is alum anyway?

Under the name alum collect various types of aluminum sulfates. Including really toxic ones such as chrome alum, which are used for special industrial processes.

At the most common is Potassium aluminum alum = Potash alum, which is used, for example, as a deodorant and hemostatic stick. But also to grow crystals and to bleach and pickle certain materials. A liquid alum solution is a temporary sulfuric acid compound. It works astringent and antibacterial. Therefore, potassium alum is very effective in preventing the leakage of blood and sweat. By the way, alum is called both “tawas” and “potassium alum” in English.

What is alum used for?

  • Medicine: Alum acts as aHemostatic and pulls wounds together. It can be a tiny cut, like after one shave, for the oneAlum stickor razor stone can be used, however also major injuries were treated with alum. Alum is antibacterial and disinfectant. Even open wounds from hemophiliacs, those lacking the natural clotting factors can stop alum. There the protein is drawn in the tissuetogether. The egg white coagulates and stops the bleeding.
  • To show you whether the protein coagulation really works, I tried the whole thing with a raw egg.

  • Healing baths, around hemorrhoids or Skin disorders to alleviate. In the 19th century, alum was triedgonorrhea to cure by injecting a mixture of alum, partly with opium, into the urethra.
  • A.ntiseptic dressings, and against other diseases such as coughing up blood or diarrhea, alum has been used as a medicine.
  • Rinses for the mouth and throat to disinfect are still used today (1- max. 10% solutions).
  • In Chinese (ming fan) and Ayurvedic medicine (saurashti), alum is used.
  • In vaccinesAlum serves as an adjuvant. It strengthens the active ingredient. This means that only parts of the virus, rather than killed, complete viruses, are required for vaccination.

If you want to make an alum stone yourself, here is the link.

  • Cosmetics: Asdeodorant, this is the same effect as mentioned above. The pores contract. Also Foot and hand baths are used in the case of heavy perspiration, prescribed. Alum stoneis sold as "natural deodorant". After shaving the face, but also other parts of the body, it soothes the skin.
  • In the 50's it served as a Hair pomade.
  • AsBleach for the skin (Humans and animals) and is an ingredient in some toothpastes
  • Handcraft: In commercial modeling clay as well as homemade.
  • experiment: Grow crystals (also possible with salt or sugar)
  • Food: Additive (e.g. E522, E521)
  • Insertionof vegetables, raw eggs and cocktail cherries. Here, too, the contraction of the proteins acts again. The cell walls become firm and give fruits and vegetables a crisp bite.
  • Beware of kidney disease, because aluminum can accumulate in the organ!
  • Cook: In the 18th century, English bakers added alum to the To make bread whiter.
  • In China it will Breakfast pastries youtiao prepared with alum. But there is another way, as this recipe shows.


  • Pickling, bleaching, etching, strengthening:
  • Non-ferrous metal and silver from Clean solder residue. Alum dissolves both flux residues after brazing and traces of oxidation. Be careful with iron, it turns the metal pink and the solution can no longer be used.
  • Mordants for leather. Alum has been rubbed into the animal skin, and the protein fibers contract and combine again. In addition to the firming effect, it brightens the skin.
  • Color stabilizers (fixatives) and mordants for vegetable fibers. The fabric is boiled in an alum solution and then added to the watery vegetable paint. Already the Romans dyed their clothes using this process. A mixture of these works as a fixative stale human urine, alum, and slate. This process has been in use for millennia, and is believed to be still used in some regions of the world today.
  • Chemical pickling and bleaching of paper. (The pickling of paper is called sizing.)
  • Fire and insect repellants. Wooden beams were coated with alum (e.g. half-timbered houses), alum "sweats" in a fire. In addition, it should protect against insect infestation (aphids, snails, etc.).
  • Component in fire extinguishersto smother oil fires, and chemical fires.
  • Paint manufacture: An aqueous alum solution is produced and mixed with potash and caustic soda. The alum turns into fine crystalline clay, which binds the color pigments. The treatment makes the pigments spreadable.
  • Clarifying water. Alum binds suspended matter, other minerals and particles in a gelatinous substance that sinks to the bottom (= precipitation).
  • Alum has been shown to reduce the growth of cholera bacteria in drinking water.

But do not forget! Two is Better, additionally boil the waterbefore you drink it!

  • Garden: dyeing hydrangeas. When alum is added to the potting soil, pink flowers turn into blue ones.

What is alum made from?

Pure alum stone is virtually non-existent in Europe, so it had to be imported from Byzantium and Egypt for a long time. It wasn't until the 15th century that a Extraction area in Tolfa (Italy) found. The Medici raised one Trade monopoly thereon. When you discovered that too slight traces of alum in black slate, which is common in Europe, is contained, alum was obtained in a complex process. The slate had to be burned, leached, and finally the brine had to be crystallized. The recovery was very laborious, energy-intensive, and the yield was low.

Black shale with pyrite, earlier alum extraction

For a long time it was not known which components in the slate produced the alum. TheThe decisive minerals in shale are marcasite and pyrite. There are Iron disulfites, so-called pebbles. Pebbles turn into sulfuric acid when burned, and alum is formed together with the ash and clay minerals. The proportion of pyrite and marcasite in black slate is 5% on average.

From 1820 the succeeded Chemical industry to produce alum in large quantities inexpensively. It will Clay (iron-free - otherwise it turns red) mixed with sulfuric acid (50%) and treated with heat. As an alternative to clay, is also suitable Bauxite or cryolite, they can be converted into clay. The addition of sulfuric acid produces sulfuric alumina (aluminum sulphate) and silica. Residues are removed with water and potassium sulfate or chloride is added. The result is a fine powder, so-called alum flour, which eventually becomes crystalline with hot water. Incidentally, the mineral bauxite is the main component in the extraction of aluminum.

Alum stone - a "natural deodorant"?

How harmful is alum and is the "organic deodorant" made from it better for your health?

Alum stone is a highly concentrated aluminum salt.In this case, organic is not healthier, it is even more questionableas commercial deodorants containing aluminum salts. For a long time, aluminum salts have been used to be harmful. Even if Alum has many positive properties, one should not be naive. Finally, the dose makes the poison. The cosmetics industry has woken up and has started to offer aluminum-free deodorants. Getting a pinch of aluminum salt from time to time is not dangerous. Dabbing small areas with it doesn't pose a huge risk. On the other hand, spraying yourself daily with aluminum salts to reduce perspiration and odor can, as has been proven, lead to one Accumulation of salts in the blood to lead. For This can be dangerous for people with kidney disease because the aluminum is concentrated there. Aluminum salts are also available inSuspicion to favor other diseases, such as Alzheimer's and breast cancer. There is no real evidence, but there is daily maximum dose of aluminum exceeded quickly is, you should Reduce the use of aluminum salts. Especially in Food such as fruits, vegetables, teas and spices are found natural aluminum. Dishes that are wrapped in aluminum foil and are acidic can dissolve aluminum salts from the foil. Aluminum cookware can also give off aluminum in combination with acidic foods. It is therefore advisable to at least reduce the use of aluminum through the skin.

So you don't have to worry and discard all products that contain aluminum. Above all, that doesn't work at all, since aluminum and its salts can be found everywhere. Therefore it is so important to know first where aluminum salts are hidden everywhere.

I'll come again briefly back to the alumand summarize. Alum is a All-rounder and has had a huge impact on our history. As a drug (blood coagulation), economical (fixative), as well as our environment (degradation). It took us then as well as now saved from deathby closing wounds and stopping fires. But alum can also be different and harmfulby irritating the skin and mucous membranes, or by inhaling it regularly in large doses, can cause lung damage. As long as you use it responsibly, alum can be a wonderful helper.

Do you want to find out more about a certain mineral and always stay up to date? I I cordially invite you to subscribe to my newsletter and follow me on Facebook. It will continue to be exciting, I promise;)

Did you know that we imAluminum age are located? But for that another time.


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