Tawas | Tawas (Potassium alum)

Tawas Health Benefits, Dosage, Side effects and Warnings.


Scientific Name: Cassia alata

Other names:

Alum, potassium alum, soda alum, ammonium alum and aluminum alum and Alum.

Tawas is a transparent salt crystal that is soluble in water and widely used as a deodorant and astringent. This crystal has been used in traditional medicine having a number of medicinal uses and health benefits including treatment of hemorhoids, sores and others.

Tawas is a chemically hydrated aluminum potassium sulfate that possesses a specific crystal shape and is soluble in water and reacts with acid. Tawas has a chemical formula KAl(SO4)2·12H2O.  It is non-toxic, has somewhat a sweet acidic taste. There are several types of Alum in the market like potassium alum, soda alum, ammonium alum and aluminum alum, but the more common is the potassium alum.

Tawas has varieties of uses. Tawas has industrial, cosmetic, culinary applications as well as some medicinal and health benefits.

Tawas Traditional Medicinal Uses and Health benefits

Tawas has a long history of medical usage and has a long list of folkloric health benefits for the following conditions.

Tawas is popularly used as deodorant
Tawas is a safe natural way to control body odor or deodorant. Tawas is hypoallergenic, easily washable, it is not an antiperspirant thus it does not clog the skin pores. Tawas works by eliminating the odor causing bacteria so the body would not smell while maintaining the natural way of sweating. Tawas is applied by gently rubbing the crystal in the armpits or feet while the area is damp from showering or washing. Tawas leaves an invisible layer to the areas it is applied. The crystal has no scent and gives 24 hour protection.

Tawas as astringent. Tawas acts as astringent in small cuts to stop bleeding and infection.
Tawas is also used as a soothing agent during or after body hair removals by waxing or shaving.

Tawas is also used to treat hemorrhoids. Tawas powder dissolved in five parts water has been used to shrink hemorrhoids and stop them from bleeding

Tawas for canker sores. Powdered Tawas is commonly cited as a home remedy.

Tawas as mouthwash. Tawas is also used as mouthwash to protect against tooth decay and gum diseases. Tawas is used as an ingredient in some toothpaste and commercial mouthwash.

Science Research: Cassia alata Health Benefits

Tawas or Alum used as adjutant in human vaccines

Alum or alum is used in many human vaccines as an adjuvant based on its ability to enhance the body's response to immunogens. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC97997/

Antibacterial action of Alum or Alum

In a study published in “Indian Journal of Medical Research” 1996. Potash alum or Alum was found to inhibit the growth of pathogenic organisms in water that has the potential to cause epidemic. Such as V. cholerae  and V. cholerae. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8783521

Astringent action of Alum or Alum

A study published in “Chemical Senses” 1994, identified alum (Alum) as one of the chemical compound that possess high astringency effect comparable or even better than gallic acid and citric acid. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8055264

Alum or Alum used in the Treatment of Hemorrhage

In a study reported in  “Ann Chir Gynaecol”  1987, patients suffering from severe hemorrhage from the bladder were subjected to continuous irrigation with 1% alum solution.. Bleeding ceased in 8 patients, and was temporary in only one of these cases. In 2 patients with thrombocytopaenia the treatment failed. No side effects were noticed. Serum aluminum level was measured in one patient and the value was normal. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3674728

Alum (Alum) other Usages

Industrial Water Purification
Alum is commonly used in industrial applications as an agent in water purification. Alum is used in reducing the turbidity or cloudiness of water. When dissolved Tawas is mixed with cloudy water, the suspended minerals and particles are attracted together by the action of Tawas creating a heavy gelatinous substance that settle at the bottom called precipitates. The resulting clear water above is then ready for further filtration and purification.

In the 1950s, men sporting crew cut or flattop hairstyles sometimes applied Tawas to their front short hairs as an alternative to pomade[citation needed]. When the hair dried, it would stay up all day.

Tawas powder may be used in pickling recipes as a preservative to maintain fruit and vegetable crispness.
Tawas is used as the acidic component of some commercial baking powders.
Tawas was used by bakers in England during the 1800s to make bread whiter.

Flame retardant
Solutions containing Tawas may be used to treat cloth, wood, and paper materials to increase their resistance to fire.
Tawas is also a component of foamite.
Tawas is also used in fire extinguishers to smother chemical and oil fires.

Source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tawas

How to Get and How to Use Tawas

Where can I get or buy Tawas?

Tawas can be bought in powder or crystal form. Tawas is commonly available in most drugstores and health stores. Tawas is also sold by street vendors near churches or in wet markets.

Tawas powder is also available in spices section in supermarkets for pickling purposes. Tawas is not known to be harmful when taken in recommended dosages. However, individuals should always take caution before using for any internal treatment.

Dosage, Warnings and Side Effects of Tawas

Tawas is generally safe for topical use as deodorant, astringent, for mouthwash or for skin and sore wash  Tawas is safe for topical use even for infants, pregnant women and lactating mothers.

Effect of potash alum (aluminium potassium sulphate) on human semen and sperm.
However in a study reported in “Indian Journal of of Physiology and Pharmacology”  1998, different concentration of potash alum solution have different effects on sperm, motility/death and fructose level of the semen. Higher concentration have higher effects.

Pregnancy and Breast feeding. There is no sufficient studies done to investigate the adverse or side effects of Alum consumption during pregnancy and breast feeding. It is recommended to aovoid its use.

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