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Canker Sores
Natural Cures

Cure Canker Sores with Inexpensive Home Remedies

Last Modified on Feb 08, 2016

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57 User Reviews | 30 YEA | 1 NAY | 3 BETTER BUT WITH SIDE EFFECTS | 1 WARNING! | 2 SIDE EFFECTS    Treatment

Posted by Sid (Salmon Arm, BC, Canada) on 01/18/2009

[WARNING!]  Alum is a form of aluminum. Oral injestion of aluminum can cause canker sores. Do you really want to do that? The reason it works may be the same reason that the mercuric ointment my mom used to put on my rashes ( I later found out that I was mercury toxic) got rid of my rash. Apparently, it makes it go deeper into your body, thereby getting rid of the eruption on the surface.

EC: More about this here:

Replied by Chris
St louis, MO
Alum has nothing to do with alumnium; how on earth do you labor under that delusion?

EC: Best answer we could find on the alum used in cooking:

"Alum is a salt that in chemistry is a combination of an alkali metal, such as sodium, potassium, or ammonium and a trivalent metal, such as aluminum, iron, or chromium. The most common form, potassium aluminum sulfate, or potash alum, is one form that has been used in food processing. Another, sodium aluminum sulfate, is an ingredient in commercially produced baking powder. (Have you never noticed the faint metallic taste in baking powder? It comes from the alum.)

The potassium-based alum has been used to produce crisp cucumber and watermelon-rind pickles as well as maraschino cherries, where the aluminum ions strengthen the fruits' cell-wall pectins.

Alum is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a food additive, but in large quantities well, an ounce or more it is toxic to humans. As a result, efforts have been made and are being made to wean us of our alum dependency. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says that if good quality produce and modern canning methods are employed, there is no need to use alum to bolster the crispness of our pickles and cherries. In any event, t"he department says, even if alum is used to soak the pickles, it should not be used in the final pickling liquid.

Replied by Dan
Grand Rapids, MI
The reason alum works is that it is an astringent, not because it forces anything into your body.

Posted by Saskia (Takoma Park, MD, USA) on 10/06/2008

[YEA]  I had started taking apple cider vinegar twice a day, and after two days noticed the beginning of a canker sore. It didn't hurt yet, so I checked this site, then went out and got some Alum in the grocery store. I did as someone else suggested and wetted my finger, then dipped it into the alum, and then held it on the canker sore for about 5 minutes. Because I caught my canker sore so early, it didn't really sting at all.

I did that twice the first day, and again twice on the second day. It never hurt at all, and it got a little larger at first, but then started receding, and now 4 days later, its basically gone! I'm so happy with the Alum cure! I used to spend a whole week in agony thinking there was no way to help it- I love this website!

Posted by Cblhris (Bloomington, IN) on 08/09/2008

[YEA]  I am apparently one of those peoplt that are particularly susceptible to canker sores. I have tried many remedies, but the best by far is the alum. It stings a bit of first, but after one application the canker sore pain is gone. After two, the lesion is gone. Having used it dozens of times, I can say that if you don't mind the sting, alum is the only way to go!!

Posted by Bonnie (Magalia, California) on 07/22/2008

[YEA]  Hello, I was on your sight last night and was reading your cures and remembered my Mom's.Since I currently have a huge ulcer under my tong I got out the alum(a pickeling product used to make pickles) and wet a Qtip and dabed it on everytime I thought of it for about 12 hours and my sore is gone. Good ol Mom! Not sure where you can get alum because mine is from 1965 and it still works and still tastes terrible! Hope this helps someone.

Posted by Kellye (Long Beach, CA) on 06/07/2008

[YEA]  Wow, thank goodness for this website. I had been suffering for 3 days with two annoying cankers. I researched online and it seemed there was no cure or relief. I stumbled upon this website and I am happy to say with a combination of alum crystals rubbed gently on the sores followed by a light paste of aspirin, literally within 4 hrs the cankers no longer hurt and they are subsiding. Yeah! I highly recommend this combo.

Replied by Lyn
Springfield, Vermont
[YEA]   Exactly that is what I did too.. A few friends over the years have suggested the Alum.. About a year ago I went as far as to buy a small container of it.. The powdered kind.. It tasted terrible and burned like crazy so that was that.. I have been having these darn cankers ever since I gave up smoking 4 1/2 years ago.. I get them off and on.. And when I do get them they last for months.. Tonight I forced myself to deal with the pain and eat my supper.. It was very painful.. But I got thru it..

I have been reading this site and decided that the alum couldn't hurt anymore then the acid from my spaghetti had.. So I got brave and wet my finger and held it on the sore under my tongue.. It burned wicked bad.. I thought ya right this is going to work.. Still hurting and throbbing I tried the aspirin.. Held it to the sore till it disolved and didn't rinse my mouth.. Still just letting it disolve and swollowing as needed till the aspirin is gone..

Its amazing after doing this the pain had gone.. I can't believe it.. Will report back tomorrow and see how it is then.. All I can say is its worth a try.. It seems to have worked for me so far.. Good luck..

Posted by Hailey (Chilliwack, Canada) on 05/14/2008

[YEA]  YES alum really works! My braces will often give me canker sores. My wires would always split the canker in two AS it grows, so whenever I open my mouth it pulls on the canker. I put alum in it and the next day it had completely decreased in size and no longer hurt. After two days it was completely gone!

Posted by Joy (Oklahoma City, OK) on 10/09/2006

[YEA]  I've suffered with canker sores for 40 years and have tried almost everything. i read about alum on your website and decided to try it on the 4 lesions i had that were as large as a pencil eraser. 3 hours after applying the alum, i experienced complete pain relief. the sores still took time to heal but i was able to eat anything i wanted and had virtually no pain during the healing period. a week later i felt another sore starting. i applied the alum and it was gone the next morning.

Posted by Jennifer on 08/11/2006

[YEA]  I tried the alum as suggested for my canker sore. It was really sore and I couldn't take it so I decided to give this a try. I got it at the grocery store for about a dollar. I got the granulated stuff and just put a little pinch on the sore. I felt immediate relief after I rinsed. The pain has definitely lessened a lot overall and I am able to eat with little pain. It has only been about 12 hours since I did it. Another try and it might be completely better! Thanks!! PS it tastes bad and stings a little but definitely worth it.

Replied by Debbie
Toronto, Canada
I have not tried alum as yet but was told that it"s good for tightening the skin. I just don't know were to get it to buy in Toronto so this is my question, were do I get alum to buy? so that I can comment back on how it works. please write back to let me know.

EC: Alum is sold in the spice section of grocery stores.

Replied by Farooq
Cornwall, Ontario, canada
[YEA]   I have been getting cankers since I moved to Canada. Have seen many many Doctors but nothing helped.

But then I read about sodium lauryl sulfate found in most of toothpastes was one of the reason for Cankers. I stopped using those toothpastes and thank God I do not get it very often, as I was use to get it about twice a month.

But once in a while I will get it. This time it was on my tongue I read it on this website about Alum and bought it from Food basics. Used it once and seems to be very helpful.

Replied by Lj
Seattle, Wa
I just bought some alum and dabbed a q tip in water and the alum. Held it on sore for 5min. Hurt like hell. Rinsed it out. Still hurts... I can see that it looks less red and more white. I think it's making it heal faster. Not doing much for pain relief though

Posted by Teri (Denham Springs) on 08/09/2006

[YEA]  okay... I tried the ALUM yesterday for a canker sore I have on my upper lip and YES it burned like a mother but today it hardly hurts at all!! I have one on my tongue too but that one seems to still bother me... I am going to put the alum on it again today.. so with my fingers crossed I hope it will help that one too. I did have my drug store order me some Rembrant toothpaste without that SLS in it. The net rated that one the #1 choice. I'll try anything!

Replied by Brandi
Newport Beach, Ca
Rembrandt w/o SLS? What does that mean?

Also I think the conflicting alum reports are because there are different forms of alum. There are 3 I believe, but I bought ammonium alum and it hurt so badly I wanted to bite my tongue off. But I believe the alum most of these people are talking about is potassium based alum. So I'm ordering some of that and hopefully it will be less painful then my first attempt. We'll see!

EC: It's a toothpaste brand that doesn't contain sodium laureth sulfate.

Posted by Dan (Dayton, Ohio) on 04/21/2006

[YEA]  I have used alum for canker sores for nearly 3 decades. The alum is usually found in the spice section of grocery stores. I have found from experience that the granulated version is much better than the powder, which often dissolves too quickly in your mouth to do the job properly. I have found the best method is to wet the end of a finger, then dip the finger into the alum granules. This should get quite a lot of them to stick to your finger. Then make sure that the canker sore is thoroughly wetted, and press the finger with the alum crystals against the sore. Hold it there for approximately 3 to 5 minutes. It also helps if you lay down while doing this, and orient the cold sore so that it is up, and not down. This helps keep the inevitable saliva from washing away the alum too quickly. I have found that if I don't lay down and do this, I often have to do the treatment twice. However, by doing this, often a single treatment causes the sore to go into remission within 12 hours. I have often treated the sore when going to bed, and woke up to find it no longer hurting, and on the mend the next morning. This seems to be the most reliable and cheapest way to get rid of canker sores.

Replied by Mrsouch
Pitttsburgh, Pa
Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Have not eaten or drank in 24 hours for the pain on the underside of my tongue. I did the alum and powdered an aspirin. I'll let you know in the morning.

Posted by Eddy (Springfield, VA) on 04/14/2006

[YEA]  I have used alum ever since I was a child. I had a lot of canker sores during childhood. It tastes terribly and does burn a little but the canker sore is usually gone with a couple of days. I have not been able to find it lately but I will check the spice section in the grocery store as suggested. I have tried everything over the years, and this works the best! The only thing is to make sure you put the top on tight as it will dry out!

Posted by Stacey (St. Paul, Minnesota) on 07/14/2005

[YEA]  I use a cooking spice called Alum on my canker sores and it helps heal them really fast and takes away the pain. It tastes awful and you must let it sit for a min to absorb but it really does help.

Replied by Michael
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
[YEA]   My grandmother used to apply alum to our canker sores when we were kids. She kept a bottle in her night stand next to her 38. The alum hurt like the dickens, but it always seemed to work. We never knew if the 38 was plan B, or just in case the pain from the alum was too much to bear.

Alum Crystals  
1 User Reviews | 1 YEA

Posted by Edward (San Francisco, CA) on 09/05/2014

[YEA]  I'm 73 years old and have used the alum treatment for canker sores most of my life...My grandmother took powdered alum, heated the powder in a small pan till it melted. My mother took the heated (melt) powder and poured the stuff into a small piece of aluminum foil to make alum crystals. Then the crystals were put on the sore...After a few minutes the pink sores turned white, and without pain.

Alum, H2O2, Aspirin  
10 User Reviews | 1 SIDE EFFECT

Posted by BC Boy (Smithers, Canada) on 05/17/2008

[SIDE EFFECTS]  Remedy Side Effects for Canker Sores: I found Earth Clinic while googling for a canker sore remedy. I was relieved to find so many positive responses to these remedies. So I went and picked up several of the remedies hoping at least one would work as good as stated. I started with Alum. I dabbed a wet finger into the powder and applied it to the 4cm canker sore inside my bottom left gum. At first it stung like salt on an open wound. Then it subsided to the feeling of a butcher knife cutting into my gum. After a half an hour of this I rinsed my mouth out with water and spend 15min in front of the bathroom mirror applying H202 with a q-tip. The pain of applying the H202 eventually subsided to a pounding throb. My mouth was watering so bad I had to stuff kleenex inside my gums to dam the flood. The H202 eventually stopped sizzling so I rinsed and tolerated the dull throbbing ache for 1/2 hr. Finally I applied crushed aspirin to the sore. the aspirin burned but not as much as the alum. My mouth was now feeling like I'd been punched in the face.... twice. My bottom lip was puffy and my gums were numb everywhere except for the sore. I tolerated that for another 15min and finally rinsed the aspirin out with a cold budweiser. It's now been 2hrs later and I'm on my 7th beer and the pain has almost completedly subsided in the past 10min. So far the side affects of the treatment has been tolerable. Hopefully my head won't hurt as bad as my mouth in the morning....

Replied by Lorik
Blacksburg, Va, USA
WOW talk about an overachiever.. I'm not sure why one would do all three remedies at once.. good grief Charlie Brown!!!
Replied by Juanita
N.O. , La. USA
OMG... I really believe you over did this, my friend!

I always use Alum at the first sign of a fever blister. All I need to do is wet my finger then touch it to the Alum and apply this mix to the sore for about 15 seconds. It stops the sore in its tracks. You can also use this if you bite your tongue or get a 'lie' bump (swollen taste bud)... It works for me everytime! My neice who is prone to fever blisters found she can keep her outbreaks at a minimum by taking an L-Lysine supplement daily! Juanita

Replied by CC
Las Cruces, NM
You are too funny! I know what you mean when you just can't take it anymore and you are willing to try anything! You really ARE willing to try anything! Cheers to you!
Replied by Tricia
I can't stop laughing. Next time try hitting 7 beers before you start your remedies.
Replied by Susan
Mcloud, Oklahoma, US
OMG, THIS was my LAUGH for the day; SO hilarious! Please forgive me for getting my pleasure from your pain...(literally) but talk about DETERMINATION!!! Seriously, only one who has suffered with cold sores can testify to the utter miserableness. I'm THINKING mine might have come from drinking too much orange juice along with 1 or 2 oranges daily w/my 1-2 TBL ACV. I used to be plagued w/them in my younger years quite frequently (inside the mouth is the worst). However, this one is inside my nose and right below it. I'm going to try the SLS free toothpaste and see how that works. This is my first post on this site that I have been lurking on for the last year or so; this is a great place to come for whatever ails you. I appreciate this site and all its contributors. The "posts" AFTER the story were so funny, too.
Replied by Jessica
Jefferson City, Mo, Usa
Gargling with a shot of Jamison has helped mine, along with alum & gargling with peroxide. Jamison worked better than the OTC numbing spray.
Replied by Kay
In The Valley, Ca
Hey, I'm thinking 7 beers might be the cure for a lot of things, maybe we should start a new catagory here........... Maybe......... Party animal pain relief remedies! I'm sure it would be a relief for insomniacs! It would sure put me to sleep!!! Very funny post, thank you so much for making us smile!!
Replied by Mouthonfire
Lake Mary, Florida, Usa
Holy Crap! LOL! I'm going to go with the "7 beers first" remedy, followed by suturing my mouth shut since everything I put in it burns like hell.
Replied by Mgj

Alum, Heated on a Piece of Metal  
1 User Reviews | 1 YEA

Posted by Dave (Austin, Tx) on 11/30/2009

[YEA]  Alum for fever blister/cold sore/canker sore

Thought I might help those of you who are suffering with cold sores etc. As a child I 'suffered' with this malady on occassion. When ever it happened, I would tell my mom and she would immediately reach into the kitchen spices for the alum. This is the new information which I have not seen on any site thus far. Before using the alum mom would put a small amount on a disposable piece of metal (usually the top removed from a can of vegetables) and heat the alum to the point where all the moisture is driven from the alum powder. At this point the alum will crystallize on the can lid (This is what I learned to call burnt alum). Allow to cool. Once the crystallized alum has cooled, take a spoon and crush the burnt alum and apply as described elsewhere. As mentioned alum is an astringent, and the value of this process is to improve the astingent properties of the alum. As with those who have used this remedy regularly, I also had complete relief within two days.