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Herbs that help stop bleeding

 
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https://southernappalachianherbs.blogspot.com/2021/10/herbs-that-help-stop-bleeding.html


Several herbs can be very effective in staunching or stopping bleeding.  About this time last year, I bought a washing machine for my mother, delivered it to her house and hooked it up.  I had no help, but I had my pickup truck and a dolly - I thought I was set.  As I lugged it up the stairs and into the house, it suddenly over-balanced and the dolly kicked back on me.  A sharp edge of metal hit my shin with enough force to fracture the bone and split the skin.  Being a stubborn guy, I just kept going.  By the time I had the machine all hooked up, my jeans, sock and shoe were soaked in blood and my leg had swollen.  Only then did I realize it wasn't a minor injury.  I was stuck, hours away from my home in the mountains, with none of the herbs I needed on hand.

First, I did basic, traditional first aid.  I washed the area and disinfected the wound with rubbing alcohol.  Then, I bandaged it, elevated the leg and applied an ice pack.  Gradually, the bleeding slowed, but it didn't totally stop.  On day two, it would still begin bleeding again anytime I lowered the leg, stood or walked on it.  So, I had a problem.  I had no butterfly bandages, duct tape or super glue... and, the last two are fairly unpleasant, emergency only techniques anyway.  I had to find an herb to stop the bleeding.  After checking the kitchen and scouting the yard (not being able to go far), and not seeing anything I would normally use.  Suddenly, it hit me - I was in the sandhills of NC (near Fayetteville)... I was surrounded by Pine trees (Pinus)!  I soon found a wounded tree and scraped off some pine pitch with my knife (always carry a knife, of course).  After cleaning the wound a gain, I pulverized the dried pitch into a powder and rubbed it in to the wound.  The bleeding slowed and stopped within minutes.  I covered that with some fresher, gummier pitch and then bandaged it.  The bleeding totally stopped, the wound closed.  The swelling went down. The fracture was slight and healed up on its own. My leg healed very quickly, did not become infected and now, I barely have a faint scar.

So, why was Pine so effective?  Pine pitch is a styptic.  It stops bleeding.  When dry, it becomes a very fine, sticky powder that helps blood coagulate.  Pine is astringent; it shrinks tissue - it can shrink capillaries and reduce swelling.  Pine is disinfectant, which is why Pinesol is used as a cleaner.  Historically, Pine extracts and oils, turpentine and such, were widely used as medicine.  A soak or bath made from pine needles, pitch or the inner bark can reduce swelling, ease pains from bruises, sprains and swollen joints, and soothe a sunburn.  A tea of pine needles is excellent for a sore throat.  I will mention Pine several times in this book.

But, what other herbs could I have used?

Usually, the quickest and most effective herb to stop bleeding that is easily at hand is Cayenne Pepper (capsicum).  Yes, cayenne pepper that you would grab from a kitchen cabinet.  And yes, it will burn.  However, Cayenne is an excellent styptic that quickly stops bleeding from minor cuts.  It also slows or staunches bleeding in serious wounds.  An additional benefit of Cayenne has been mentioned by Dr. Patrick Jones, who uses herbs in his veterinary practice.  "Doc Jones" as his students call him (myself included) uses cayenne not only as a primary treatment to stop bleeding, but keeps a Cayenne tincture on hand for shock.   He often gives the example of a dog that has been hit by a car - its gums are pale, respiration is shallow, eyes are dull... the dog is fading fast.  A quick shot of Cayenne tincture to the back of the throat immediately brings the dog back from the brink of death.  Cayenne is useful both internally (taken as a tincture) or externally (used powdered).  Whereas nearly everyone has a pine tree near their home and can use that for emergency medicine, Cayenne pepper is something you need to buy and keep on hand in at least two forms.  A liniment of Cayenne is also useful for joint and muscle pain - more on that later.   A jar of it costs a dollar at the "dollar store", so this one is cheap and easy!

Another styptic that you may be able to find, depending on the time of year, was commonly used by the old mountain folks.  It is Puffball Mushrooms. (calvatia, calbovista and lycoperdon).  When Puffballs are past their edible stage, they dry and open to "puff" out millions of spores as their means of reproduction.  Like finely powdered Pine pitch and finely ground Cayenne Pepper, these spores help blood coagulate to stop bleeding.  The only real downside of using Puffballs is that the spores will make the wound turn a disturbing black color.  While this is harmless, it will terrify emergency medical staff.  So, if you end up in an emergency room or being treated by paramedics, be sure to tell them you used Puffballs to stop bleeding... before they try to amputate anything!  If you are in danger of losing consciousness, you may want to write that on the limb or area with a pen.  Dried Puffball mushrooms keep for years, so you don't have to wait until you are wounded to go crawling around, hoping to find Puffballs - gather them in the right season, for future use.

Finely powdered Oak Bark (quercus)can be used similarly.  Not only can the powdered bark act as a styptic, Oak is extremely astringent. This astringency can help shrink capillaries and close the wound.

Shepherd's Purse.  (Capsella bursa-pastoris)  This member of the Mustard Family is recognizable by its oddly shaped seed pods - they look like small purses and are slightly heart shaped.  Shepherd's Purse is useful both internally (taken as a tincture) or externally (used powdered).  Shepherd's Purse has a long history of use to reduce excessive uterine bleeding.

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is the herb most traditionally used for bleeding.  According to legend, Achilles used yarrow to staunch the bleeding of soldiers wounded in battle.  Yarrow is useful both internally (taken as a tincture) or externally (used powdered).  Along with Shepherd's Purse, Yarrow was an herb commonly carried into battle by soldiers from ancient times, even until World War 1.  Yarrow is also effective for nose bleeds.

Another herb that soldiers once carried is Bugle (Ajuga reptans), known by its old English name, "All Heal."  Bugle is a small herb in the mint family, considered a weed in most places.  The astringent quality of this herb makes it useful taken internally, for hemorrhages.  A plaster of the fresh plant, or an ointment was used for external wounds.  Bugle's other useful properties include its bitterness that is good for liver inflammation, and a uniquely sedative, cardio-tonic effect.  The flowering stalk of the plant, tinctured or eaten fresh, slows the heart rate and is very calming.  This quality makes it an especially useful herb for stressful first aid situations.

Plantain (Plantago), as mentioned before is excellent for wounds.  It is astringent and quickly staunches bleeding, while promoting healing.

Arnica (Arnica montana) should generally not be used internally, under proper guidance from a qualified herbalist.  Used externally, Arnica reduces inflammation and helps stop bleeding, while increasing local blood supply. As a homeopathic remedy, Arnica is quite effective against internal bleeding, all manner of injuries and shock.

Agrimony (Agrimonia parviflora) is a strongly astringent herb that is very useful to stop bleeding. The entire plant may be used as a tea or wash, or applied as a poultice.

Powdered Lady's Mantle (Alchemilla xanthochlora) may be used externally as a styptic, but used internally it stimulates menstrual flow.

Speedwell (Veronica) is an herb that isn't used much these days, but its Latin name, Veronica officinalis indicates that it was included in the medical dispensary and considered an important herb in the era of Monastic Medicine. Speedwell is astringent and useful for bleeding.

Dead Nettle (Lamium album or purpureum) is an astringent that is very useful taken as a tea or tincture for internal bleeding and to reduce menstrual flow.  Externally, it may also be used as a styptic.

Great Burnett (Poterium officinale)  is a strongly astringent herb.  A decoction or tincture of the root is one of the most effective herbs used for internal bleeding.

Tormentil (Potentilla erecta) may be used similarly, and is even called "blood root" in German Folk Medicine (not to be confused with American Blood Root, Sanguinaria, a member of the poppy family that has a red sap). All Potentillas or Cinquefoils may be used similarly

Also in German Folk Medicine, Horsetail (Equisetum) is considered "uniquely irreplaceable and invaluable" for bleeding, spitting of blood... foul wounds and even cancerous growths and ulcerated legs." - Fr. Kneipp.  Horsetail was also recommended by Fr. K├╝nzle: "This plant, taken internally as a tea, will stop the strongest hemorrhaging and vomiting of blood in a short time, yes, almost immediately."

Wild Calla (Calla palustris) dried root has a history of use as a tea or poultice for bleeding and swelling.

Buckbean (Menyanthes trifoliata) Leaf or root been used to stop bleeding.

Bearberry "Uva-ursi" (Arctosaphylos) is strongly astringent and may be used for bleeding.

Giant Bird's Nest (Pterospora andromeda) is a plant, not an actual bird's nest, though I believe certain swallow's nests have been used as food and medicine in China.  This plant is useful for bleeding.  The stems and fruit may be used as a tea or pounded into a fine powder to use as a styptic and for nose bleeds.

False Solomon's Seal (Smilacina racemosa) has been used externally for bleeding and skin irritations.

Wild Indigo and Cream Wild Indigo (Baptisia) are astringent and antiseptic when used externally as a wash or poultice.

Queen of The Prairie (Filipendula rubra) is in the rose family.  It is an astringent herb that can be used to stop or slow bleeding due to its high tannin content. Use like Potentilla, etc.

Pennsylvania Smartweed (Polygonum a member of the buckwheat family, known as "Bitterleaf".  The tea has been used for mouth bleeding.  A tea of Common Smartweed is used for internal bleeding and hemorages.

Salad Burnet (Sanguisorba officinals) is another old "soldier's herb".  The tea is strongly astringent and can be used topically to stop bleeding.  It was used during the American Revolution, taken internally by soldiers before battles, to prevent bleeding from battle wounds. Few people realize just how brutal the Revolutionary War was, with musket and cannonballs and horrific conditions.  Anything my ancestors who fought for our freedom valued, so do I.  This is also an herb in the rose family, which is why many herbalists refer to such herbs as "YARFAs", or Yet Another Rose Family Astringent.

Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) is generally considered an invasive weed.  It is a very useful herb and should be more used.  Externally, it stops bleeding and is antibacterial.

Ironweed (Vernonia glauca) stem leaves may be used for bleeding.

Alumroot (Heucherea americana) may be used as a styptic.

Amaranth (Amaranthus) is one of the many herbs called "pig weed".  It is an excellent forage plant for food.  Amaranth may also be used as an astringent to stop bleeding.

Elderberry (Smabucus canadensis) leaves may be used to stop bleeding.

Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) bark tea may be used for bleeding.

Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina) Root or bark tea is astringent and may be used for bleeding.

Hemlock (Tsuga), the tree obviously, not Poison Hemlock which is in the wild parsley family.  A tea made from the needles and stem tips is good to stop bleeding,

Kentucky Coffee Tree (Gymnocladus dioicus) root bark may be used to stop bleeding.

Yucca is a plant that causes much bleeding if, like me, one of your chores was to cut the grass and your grandfather planted yucca as an ornamental! One common variety, Soapweed (Yucca glauca) may be used to stop bleeding and as a poultice for sprains and even broken bones - the root is used.

Butternut (Juglans) - the Walnut family.  Walnut bark and leaves are astringent.  Although undocumented, I believe all members of this family can be used similarly.

Ragweed (Ambrosia) is the cause of allergies in many folks.  I will revisit this one later, because the leaf is actually the best remedy for the very allergies it causes.  The herb is also very astringent and may be used for bleeding and as a poultice for insect bites.  

Another category of herbs to stop bleeding are those used in conjunction with applying direct pressure to the wound.  Direct pressure is a very effective means of slowing bleeding.  Traditionally, many dry herbs have been bound to wounds to slow bleeding and absorb blood to aid coagulation.  Usnea, also known as "Old Man's Beard" is a lichen that hangs from tree limbs has traditional been used for this purpose.  Usnea is particularly good, because it is antibiotic, antifungal and antiviral.  Usnea can also be taken internally, in tincture form, to prevent or help cure infection.  Yarrow is also most effective to staunch heavy bleeding when dry flowers and crushed dry leaves are applied to the wound with direct pressure.



The above article is an excerpt from my new book Herbal Medicine for Preppers, Homesteaders and Permaculture People




You can read about and purchase Herbal Medicine for Preppers, Homesteaders and Permaculture People here: southernappalachianherbs.blogspot.com/2021/10/herbal-medicine-for-preppers.html





Disclaimer










The information on this site is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease or condition. Nothing on this site has been evaluated or approved by the FDA. I am not a doctor. The US government does not recognize the practice of herbal medicine and their is no governing body regulating herbalists. Therefore, I'm just a guy who studies herbs. I am not offering any advice. I won't even claim that anything I write is accurate or true! I can tell you what herbs have "traditionally been used for." I can tell you my own experience and if I believe an herb helped me. I cannot, nor would I tell you to do the same. If you use any herb I, or anyone else, mentions you are treating yourself. You take full responsibility for your health. Humans are individuals and no two are identical. What works for me may not work for you. You may have an allergy, sensitivity or underlying condition that no one else shares and you don't even know about. Be careful with your health. By continuing to read my blog you agree to be responsible for yourself, do your own research, make your own choices and not to blame me for anything, ever.
 
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I've heard that spagnum moss was used for healing during the first world war - it would have been gathered in the hills and dried for dressing wounds. There is a fair amount of bogs up in the hills here, so it would be usefult to know how it could be processed. I love the was it can grow with lovely scarlet colours sometimes.
 
Judson Carroll
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Nancy Reading wrote:I've heard that spagnum moss was used for healing during the first world war - it would have been gathered in the hills and dried for dressing wounds. There is a fair amount of bogs up in the hills here, so it would be usefult to know how it could be processed. I love the was it can grow with lovely scarlet colours sometimes.



Yes, many mosses and dried ferns have been used to help staunch bleeding.  It can be a little tough to figure out which ones were used in the old literature though.
 
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While it is not an herb though something handy that almost every household has is flour.

In an emergency use flour until you can get your hands on some herbs to aid in healing.
 
Judson Carroll
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Anne Miller wrote:While it is not an herb though something handy that almost every household has is flour.

In an emergency use flour until you can get your hands on some herbs to aid in healing.



Good tip!
 
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