A selection of medication with natural or synthetically produced aluminium compounds:
- Alum was already in use as styptic medication in the ancient world. Its effectiveness as an astringent (which means it causes cells or tissue to contract) is based on the fact that it causes protein coagulation in the uppermost cell layers of the tissue being treated.
- For centuries, fine clay has been taken as an antacid, a substance to combat over-acidification of the stomach. Clay contains aluminium hydroxides as fine particles of large surface area, and these combine with the excess gastric acid. Nowadays synthetic aluminium hydroxides as well as aluminium phosphates are used.
- The use of acetate of alumina, which has the chemical name aluminium acetate (an acetate is a salt of acetic acid), is a tried and tested method for treating swellings and sprains.
- Aluminium powder in ointments, burn powders and coatings on bandages speeds up the healing of difficult-to-heal wounds, especially burns. In the past, aluminium aerosols were also inhaled to prevent silicosis (black lung).
- Aluminium salts (like aluminium chloride) and aluminium soaps are used in significant quantities as the base materials for the manufacture of cosmetics, for example deodorants.
Medication containing aluminium can be used on humans and animals without any health risk because aluminium is neither toxic nor harmful.