This section is from the book "A Text-Book Of Materia Medica, Pharmacology And Therapeutics", by George F. Butler. Also available from Amazon: A text-book of materia medica, pharmacology and therapeutics.
Origin. - It is occasionally found as an efflorescence near volcanoes and upon alum-slate. For medicinal use it should be prepared from aluminum hydrioxide, by dissolving it in the requisite quantity of dilute sulphuric acid.
Description and Properties. - A white, crystalline powder, having a sweetish and afterward astringent taste; permanent in the air. Soluble in 1.2 parts of water, and much more freely in boiling water; insoluble in alcohol. Used externally.
Alumnol - Alumnol - Alumnol. - Origin. - This substance was discovered by Filehne of Breslau, and is a mixture of aluminum salts of naphthol-sulphonic acid, containing about 5 per cent. of aluminum and 15 per cent. of sulphur.
Description and Properties. - It occurs as a light, odorless, white or reddish-white, non-hygroscopic powder. It possesses a sweetish and astringent taste, and is readily soluble in water or glycerin, less so in alcohol, and insoluble in ether.
While becoming darker on exposure to the air, its properties are unaffected. Used externally and locally.
Aluminum Aceto-tartrate. - Origin. - First prepared by Athenstadt by dissolving 5 parts of basic aluminum acetate in a sufficient quantity of water by the aid of 2 parts of tartaric acid, and evaporating the solution to dryness.
Description and Properties. - It occurs in shining, almost colorless, amorphous masses, with a faint, acetous odor and an acidulous astringent taste. Soluble in water; insoluble in alcohol. Used externally and locally.
Aluminum Boroformate. - Origin. - Prepared by heating together boric acid, formic acid, and alumina.
Other combinations of aluminum are: Alsol (acetate), Boral (borotartrate), Cutol (borotannate), Gallal (gallate), Sozal (aluminum hydrate, dissolved in phenolsulphonic acid). Salumin (salicylate), and Tannal (tannate). They have the same indications as alumnol.
Synergists. - The vegetable and mineral astringents.
Physiological Action. - Externally and Locally. - Alum contracts the small blood-vessels and coagulates the albumin in the tissues, but in order to have any effect it must be applied to a denuded surface. It is also mildly escharotic, particularly if anhydrous. The albuminate formed is soluble in an excess of pro-teid. Applied to the unbroken skin, it thickens and hardens it.
Internally. - Digestive System. - Its first effect when taken into the mouth is to excite the salivary secretion, the albumin in it, as well as that of the buccal mucous membrane, being precipitated. When its astringent action takes effect the secretions are diminished and the mucous membrane of the mouth and tongue is blanched and puckered. The enamel of the teeth is affected, breaking under its influence.
The digestive juices are diminished in quantity and the pepsin precipitated. Constipation follows, though it may be preceded by a slight diarrhea.
Taken in large doses, alum produces nausea, vomiting, purging, and abdominal pain.
Under ordinary conditions aluminum salts have no action on the general functions. Thrown into the circulation hypodermically they have a profound influence on the nervous structures, but such results are of experimental interest alone.
Absorption and Elimination. - As stated, alum is absorbed by the stomach and intestines; it is eliminated by the kidneys and liver.
Untoward Action. - The prolonged use of alum is very apt to produce a cough in persons having sensitive bronchi.
Therapeutics. - Externally and Locally. - Alum is used to destroy exuberant granulations and verrucosities. It is an excellent hemostatic in epistaxis and bleeding from the gums, vagina, rectum, bladder, bites, and sockets of extracted teeth.
It is much used for sore throat by public speakers and singers, and is also efficient in tonsillitis, particularly the follicular form, gangrenous pharyngitis, stomatitis ulcerosa, relaxation of the uvula and pharyngeal mucous membrane, swollen and overriding gums, and mercurial p'tyalism.
The destructive effect of alum upon the teeth must always be borne in mind: the alum stick or a swab is preferable whenever possible. If a mouth-wash or gargle be necessary, wash and brush the teeth well immediately after using the alum.
Five grains (0.32 Gm.) to 1 ounce (30.0 Cc.) of water is an excellent preparation for ophthalmia, conjunctivitis, and trachoma, but must not be used if there is any corneal inflammation, as it is apt to cause ulcers. By adding milk or white of egg to the mixture its efficiency is greatly increased. This preparation is also very serviceable in preventing the discoloration of a "black eye." An injection of 5-10 grains (0.32-0.64 Gm.) to the ounce (30.0 Cc.) of water is much used in gonorrhea, leucorrhea, and gleet, and also for washing the vulva in pruritus.
Sweating of feet, hands, and axillae, when excessive and fetid, is checked by the application of a lotion of powdered alum.
Soaking a piece of cotton or lint with alum and placing it under an ingrowing toe-nail affords marked relief.
Chilblains, old sores, and ulcers are also benefited by the use of alum.
A spray, gargle, or insufflation has been used with good results in diphtheria, bronchorrhea, chronic laryngitis, aphonia due to atony, bronchitis, and whooping-cough.
Internally. - Alum operates advantageously as an astringent in arresting gastric and intestinal hemorrhages, hematuria, and menor-rhagia. The diarrheas of typhoid fever, and chronic dysentery, and occasionally the acute forms, are often benefited by an alum enema.
By checking absorption and producing emesis alum serves as an antidote for lead-poisoning, and is an efficient remedy in lead colic.
Alumen exsiccatum is employed chiefly as an escharotic for fungous growths, and to stimulate indolent ulcers and mucous membranes with morbid secretions.
Whenever the drug is used as a powder externally or for insufflation, powdered dried alum is the form to use.
For internal use, 5-10 grains (0.32-0.64 Gm.), mixed with a little simple syrup or syrup of orange peel to prevent nausea, will be found beneficial. For collyria, 2-3 grains (0.12-0.20 Gm.) in 1 ounce (30.0 Cc.) of water, or the alum curd, as already mentioned, may serve best. The curd may be separated by adding 2 drams (8.0 Gm.) of alum to I pint (473.0 Cc.) of milk, boiling, and straining. The gargle and injection can be used in strengths of 5-20 grains (0.32-1.29 Gm.) to 1 dram (4.0 Gm.). For insufflation the dried alum is employed.