Natural Red Alum/Phitkari Surkh, Fitkari Surkh (پھٹکری سرخ) crystal is formed next to volcanic fumaroles. it is also known as Aluminum Potassium Sulfate. Being water soluble, natural alum was originally obtained from desert sources. In the seventeenth century, alum began to be manufactured from impure alum shale which is found in Britain. Due to its unusual properties, red alum has long been one of the most valued medicinal, personal, craft and industrial resources.
The key medicinal properties of red alum are astringent, antiseptic, antimicrobial and it is strongly deodorizing.
Uses of Red Alum:
- Alum stone is commonly used for after shaving treatment. It is used a styptic for minor bleeding from shaving cuts.
- Alum is used as a natural deodorant for body odor as it has the capability of inhibiting bacterial growth which is responsible for body odor.
- Alum is used to treat minor bleeding resulting from minor cuts and abrasions. Sprinkling alum powder can help to stop bleeding. However deep cuts and non stop bleeding requires medical intervention.
- Alum is used in water purification treatment widely. Alum attracts fine particles and suspended materials in raw water. It settles down those particles at the bottom of the water. The water over those particles are clean other than the dissolved particles. Hence alum powder is widely used in purifying muddy water when people go for camping.
- Alum powder is used to treat canker sores easily. Just place a pinch of alum powder on top of the sore and leave it for 30 seconds. Wash it off thoroughly. Repeat this for 2-3 times daily till the canker sores go off. You will get complete cure mostly within 3 days.
- Alum is used for pimples, acne marks, acne scars and acne treatment widely. Alum is used for tightening the skin too.
- Alum powder is one of the home remedy to treat athlete's foot. Add 2-3 tbsp of alum powder in hot water and soak the feet in the water till the water remains hot or warm. Soak for a minimum of 20 minutes. Dry the feet and do not wear any synthetic fabrics till the athlete's foot is cured. Repeat this daily to get rid of athlete's foot quickly.
- Alum is widely used for hair removal. Women in ancient ages used alum for removing unwanted facial hairs like upper lip hair.
- 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.
Alum should not be consumed internally. It is best suited for local applications only.