African Food – Some facts about Alum
1. Alum in block form (usually potassium alum) is used as a blood coagulant.
2. Alum was used as a base in skin whiteners and treatments during the late 16th century.
3. Alum is listed as an ingredient of some brands of toothpaste or toothpowder.
4. Alum powder dissolved in five parts water has been used to shrink hemorrhoids and stop them from bleeding
5. Alum is added to water for gargling to help relieve sore throat.
6. Alum is used as the acidic component of some commercial baking powders.
7. Alum powder, found in the spice section of many grocery stores, may be used in pickling recipes as a preservative to maintain fruit and vegetable crispness.
8. Alum was used by bakers in England during the 1800s to make bread whiter. The Sale of Food and Drugs Act 1875 prevented this and other adulterations.
9. Alum is used to clarify water by neutralizing the electrical double layer surrounding very fine suspended particles, allowing them to flocculate (stick together). After flocculation, the particles will be large enough to settle and can be removed.
10. Alum’s antiperspirant and antibacterial properties contribute to its traditional use as an underarm deodorant. It has been used for this purpose in Europe; Mexico; Thailand, where it is called Sarn-Som; throughout Asia; and in the Philippines, where it is called Tawas. Today, potassium or ammonium alum is sold commercially for this purpose as a “deodorant crystal,” often in a protective plastic case.
Alum can be gotten at Shikenan African Shop