This section is from the book "Materia Medica And Therapeutics Inorganic Substances", by Charles D. F. Phillips. Also available from Amazon: Materia medica and therapeutics.
It is said that a paroxysm of asthma may sometimes be prevented by placing about 10 gr. of alum on the tongue (Ringer). In bronchitis, 5 to 10 gr., given every four hours, serve to facilitate expectoration, and at the same time its amount is restrained and dyspnoea relieved. Moseley praised this use of alum many years ago, and advised it both for acute and chronic forms with viscid ropy expectoration; but it is in these latter cases only that I should consider it suitable.
Alumen: dose as an astringent, 10 to 20 gr.; as a purgative, 30 to 60 gr. or upwards; as an emetic, 1 dr. to 1 oz. In lead colic, 20 to 120 gr. have been given in the twenty-four hours. Alumen exsiccatum: the dose should be somewhat less, and practically this preparation should be kept for external use only. The solid drug seems to be more effectual than the liquid form; it may be given in pill or in confection with sugar, honey, or molasses: cream of tartar may be added, if necessary, to obviate constipation, and cinnamon or other aro-matics to prevent flatulence. The "Pills of Helvetius," formerly celebrated, contained 3 gr. mixed with "dragon's blood;" a more modern formula is with gentian, rhubarb, etc.
In solution it may be given with sweetened aromatic water or mucilage, or sulphuric acid and syrup of lemons may be added; or an "alum whey" may be made by stirring 2 dr. of the powder with a pint of boiling milk, straining, and adding sugar.
For a collyrium, a strength of 5 gr. to the ounce of rose water is suitable: for a gargle from 8 to 20 gr. in the ounce: for a lotion or injection it may be well combined with zinc sulphate, as in the liq. aluminis co. (L. P.), which was ordered with 1 oz. of each salt to 3 pints hot water. Ointment: 12 to 24 gr. to the ounce of simple ointment. Liniment: with white of egg and camphorated spirit (for bedsore).
[Preparations, U. S. P. - Alumen - Same as that of the Br. Pharmacopoeia; Aluminii et potassii sulphas, the common alum of the shops; Aluminii sulphas.]