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Alum- Properties, Benefits, and Side-effects

By Anand Dubey March 10, 2021

Alum- Properties, Benefits, and Side-effects

Alum, also known as Phitkari in Hindi, is a very commonly used substance in every household. Most people associate it as something used as an aftershave. But phitkari has much more benefits. Phitkari is a substance, which helps in making the water clean and providing a glow to the skin. Red and white phitkari are the most commonly used alum depending on the color.

What is Alum?

Phitkari is a colorless and transparent substance. It is found in the form of crystal or granulated powder. Its taste is astringent and mildly sweet. It is called potassium aluminum sulfate in the Scientific language. The stone, which looks like the whole salt, has innumerable medicinal properties. 

Due to the properties, it is very important in the field of medicine.

In Ayurveda, Phitkari is called Saurastri. It is used for various kinds of treatments. Alum has analgesic (pain reliever), antipyretic (fever reliever), homeostatic, corrosive, stimulant, irritant removing properties. It is also a major cleaning agent. In addition, Phitkari is also very beneficial for health.

Medicinal Properties found in Phitkari

  • Antibiotic (exterminating microorganisms)
  • Anti-inflammatory (inflammation reducing)
  • Astringent
  • Anti-trichomonas (reducing protozoan infections)
  • Antioxidant (destroying free radical effect)


Types of Alum and their Use


Potassium alum-

Also known as ‘potash alum’ and ‘potassium alum sulfate’. It is primarily used to clean water. 

Ammonium alum-

Ammonium alum is a white crystalline stone. This is a major ingredient in manufacturing after-shave lotion and personal care products.

Chrome alum-

Also known as chromium potassium sulfate, this type of phitkari has its use in the leather-making process.

Sodium alum-

It is an inorganic compound of alum, also called ‘soda alum. It is a major ingredient for making baking powder and also in food additives. Therefore, people also call it ‘eating alum’.


Selenate alum-

This type of Phitkari contains selenium instead of sulfur. Hence it is also used as an antiseptic.

Aluminum sulfate-

People also call it ‘papermaker alum’ but it is not Phitkari, technically.

Advantages of Alum

In daily life, Phitkari cures a number of health problems ranging from beauty to severe injuries, muscle spasms, and pimples as well. Let us know about some other similar benefits of Phitkari-

Good for teeth-

Phitkari helps in fixing cavities in teeth. Therefore, regular use of Phitkari is good for teeth. In addition, it also removes tooth worm. 

Useful for mouthwash-

According to research conducted by Turkey’s Ghazi University, Phitkari helps remove plaque deposited on teeth and eliminate harmful bacteria present in saliva. Therefore, Phitkari is useful for mouthwash.

Effective to remove body odor-

Phitkari is also beneficial in removing body odor. Phitkari has antibacterial properties. Therefore, bathing by mixing Phitkari in water eliminates the bacteria that cause the odor of the body and removes bad body odor. Due to this property of Phitkari, it is a major ingredient in manufacturing deodorants. 

Able to reduce the effects of wrinkles and aging-

According to NCBI research, Phitkari is a natural astringent. It helps to cure the lifeless, dry skin by tightening the skin. Due to the same properties of Phitkari, it is present in many cosmetic creams.

Freedom from lice-

Phitkari also has a positive effect on hair. It is also effective in curing the problem of lice. For this, apply phitkari paste on the scalp.

Beneficial in Urinary Tract Infection-

Alum also benefits in problems related to Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). Phitkari is a strong astringent which works effectively on the bleeding part. Phitkari helps to prevent bleeding from the bladder due to an infection. Never apply it directly to the infected area. Doing so can cause severe burns.

Best medicine for wounds-

Phitkari is one of the best medicine for healing wounds. For this, keep the Phitkari directly or as a paste on the wound for one to two minutes and then wash it with water. By doing this, the bacteria present on the wound die, and the wound heals quickly. 

Beneficial for acne-

According to research conducted by the International Journal of Women’s Dermatology, Phitkari has astringent properties. This fixes the problem of acne by tightening the pores. 

Effective for eye abscesses-

Alum is a good solution to cure eye boils. For this, make Phitkari and sandalwood paste and apply it to the boils of the eye. This is an effective remedy for eye abscesses.

Side effects of Alum

  • Excess use of potassium Phitkari can adversely affect the skin.
  • Excessive intake of Phitkari may negatively affect semen and fructose levels in men.
  • Prolonged consumption of Phitkari can cause cancer and Alzheimer’s (amnesia).
  • Excessive use of Phitkari causes dysentery and skin dryness.

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