Masson's Alum Hematoxylin

Ingredient Amount Function
Hematein 20 g Dye
Potassium alum 60 g Mordant
Distilled water 1 L Solvent
Glacial acetic acid 20 mL Acidifier


Compounding procedure
Dissolve the Alum in boiling water.
Add the dye.
Filter when cool.
Add acetic acid.
The solution may be used immediately.


  1. Bring sections to water with xylene and ethanol.
  2. Place into the staining solution for an appropriate time.
  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 solution uses hematein instead of hematoxylin
  2. The high concentration of hematein indicates this is most likely a strong, regressive solution.
  3. The staining time should be determined by trial.
  4. Acid ethanol is 0.5% - 1% hydrochloric acid in 70% ethanol.
  5. 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.


Gray, Peter. (1954)
The Microtomist's Formulary and Guide.
Originally published by:– The Blakiston Co.
Republished by:– Robert E. Krieger Publishing Co.




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