Alum is serviceable applied externally in cases of bleeding from superficial vessels, as from the surface of wounds or mucous membranes, e.g., of the nose or of the vagina, from haemorrhoids, from leech-bites, or after tooth-extraction: in such cases it may be used in substance, a pointed plug or the fine powder being firmly pressed on the part, or a compress steeped in a strong warm solution may be allowed to cool upon it. Such applications condense the tissues and contract the vessels, but it should be borne in mind that if too strong or too prolonged, they may give rise, especially in scrofulous subjects, to unhealthy ulceration. The alum powder is sometimes combined with zinc sulphate, or diluted with starch or sugar, and the solution may be made with decoction of logwood. Combined with benzoin and alcohol, it forms a celebrated styptic and antiseptic, the "Aqua Pagliari" (benzoin, 100 gr., alcohol, 1/2 oz.; dissolve and add water, 1/2 pint; alum, 1 oz.; boil till clear, then filter). The solution of Mentel is similar, but made with the single sulphate.

Therapeutical Action (Internal)

The internal use of alum is combined with its external application in many varieties of hemorrhages, though it is not depended upon so much now as formerly: it is best suited for cases of "passive hemorrhage," with relaxed condition of mucous membrane, and when no acute inflammation is present.

In Haemoptysis, tubercular or otherwise, when moderate but persistent, it is a good adjuvant to other remedies, e.g., sulphuric acid. Skoda commonly gave 10-gr. doses with Dover's powder. A spray containing the same quantity in 1 oz. of water may be used with advantage at the same time.

In Bleeding from the Stomach or bowels - dependent as these symptoms often are upon cirrhosis, and when passive and atonic in character -alum may be a suitable remedy; its astringent effect in such cases is, in part, at least, direct and local.

In Menorrhagia Cullen specially commended alum, and it is still used more frequently perhaps in this flux than in any other. In the form of "alum whey," which is prepared by boiling 2 dr. of the powder with 1 pint of milk, straining off the curd, and adding sugar, it is a not unpleasant medicine, of which a wineglassful, three or four times daily, will generally control the discharge - according to my own observation.