Alum contains aluminum sulfate and is found in styptic pencils and as astringents. As noted in a previous column, alum is used as a skin soothing agent. My mother had a “medicine drawer” containing every medicinal substance invented from the 1900s to the present. Years ago, Andy Ezell and I walked 36 holes at the Delmar and Stonecrest courses in western Pennsylvania. A buildup of sweat and moisture, “in the lower torso,” causes one to become “galded” — diagnosed as a “sore rash.” Mom told us before we went to play to place a clump of alum in our pant pocket to prevent the rash. We didn’t and we were sore. To this day, Stan Harris, president of the Louisiana Restaurant Association, and Bob Gelbach always carry rock alum.

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