Lillie's Alum Hematoxylin

Ingredient Amount Function
Hematoxylin 5 g Dye
Ammonium alum 50 g Mordant
Distilled water 700 mL Solvent
Glycerol 300 mL Stabiliser
Sodium iodate 0.5 g Oxidant
Glacial acetic acid 20 mL Acidifier


Compounding procedure
Dissolve the dye and Alum in the water.
Add the iodate, glycerol and acid.
Leave overnight to ripen before using.


  1. Bring sections to water with xylene and ethanol.
  2. Place into the staining solution for 5 minutes.
  3. Rinse well with water.
  4. Differentiate with acid ethanol if necessary.
  5. Rinse with water and blue.
  6. Rinse well with water.
  7. Counterstain if desired.
  8. Dehydrate with ethanol, clear with xylene and mount with a resinous medium.

Expected results


  1. This is a strong, regressive solution.
  2. The staining time should be determined by trial.
  3. Acid ethanol is 0.5% - 1% hydrochloric acid in 70% ethanol.
  4. Blueing is done with alkaline solutions such as hard tap water, Scott’s tap water substitute, 0.1% ammonia water, 1% aqueous sodium acetate, 0.5% aqueous lithium carbonate etc.


Lillie, R.D.,
Histopathologic Technic and Practical Histochemistry
McGraw-Hill, New York, USA




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