Minor cuts and bruises seem to be an inevitable part of daily life. While serious injuries may need medical attention, lots of lesser problems respond quite well to home remedies.
Yesterday I had a slow-motion tumble off my bike onto my knees on the way home. My knees were bruised, but I was able to pedal home and get arnica gel on them in about ten minutes. I also took some homeopathic arnica pills. My mother swears by this herb, but I had not had occasion to use it much. I applied more gel before bed and again in the morning. Today one knee shows no effects of having been bruised, and the other is not black and blue and barely hurts at all. I am stunned by the effectiveness of this arnica. Have studies been done?
Arnica montana is a flowering plant that grows in Europe. People have traditionally used arnica salves, ointments, gels, and creams for bruises and sprains. Arnica has a long history of use in Europe and is becoming a common addition to first-aid kits in the United States. There is relatively little scientific evidence to support its use, but your report is not the first we’ve heard. In a recent study, homeopathic arnica pills seemed to have a small but measurable effect on bruising following a face-lift.1 Homeopathic tablets contain very little arnica. At higher doses, though, arnica should not be taken orally since it can be quite toxic.
Last night I sliced my finger on the inside of a can that I was rinsing out. It was a fairly significant cut. I rinsed it and applied pressure, then went to the cupboard and pulled out a packet of black pepper (which had been stored in the cupboard specifically to treat cuts). I put black pepper on the bleeding cut and then bandaged it, and it seemed fine. After a few minutes, I started to think maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to put pepper into an open wound. I decided to rinse out the cut, make sure it was clean, then wrap it again and start over. But when I took the bandage off, the bleeding had stopped and the cut was basically sealed. I rinsed it and put a new bandage on. This morning I looked again, and it hardly looks like there was a cut at all, though it’s still quite tender. I’m amazed this worked so well!
Thanks for your story. Other readers have reported that ground black pepper does seem to help stop bleeding, but a serious cut requires medical attention instead of home remedies.
My mother-in-law swears by castor oil for bruises. Whenever one of my kids bumps a knee, she rubs castor oil on it and there is never a bruise. Have you ever heard of using castor oil for bruises?
Arnica and calendula are herbs that have long been used to relieve muscle aches and to prevent bruises after minor injuries. Castor oil is used internally as a laxative, but many people tell us it works externally for warts. Now we will add bruises to the list.
Whenever my children hurt themselves, the first thing I reached for was the castor oil. My mother-in-law’s uncle was a boxer and always used castor oil after a boxing match to prevent hematomas and bruising. It works like a charm. It has been passed down as a remedy in my family for many years.
Thanks for sharing your family remedy. We have heard from others that applying castor oil after a bump can often avert a bruise.
A freak razor blade accident sliced the edges of my nose. The bleeding wouldn’t stop. Before going to the emergency room, I checked “Stop Bleeding” on the computer. I read that a paste of cayenne should stop bleeding in ten seconds, it said. Mine took 15 seconds.
We have heard from many people who have used ground black pepper to stop bleeding. Although we also have heard that cayenne pepper works, your story is the first to describe success. We assume you made the paste by mixing it with water. High-tech solutions for minor cuts can be purchased in pharmacies. Look for products such as QR Powder, QuikClot Sport, or BloodSTOP.
More than 40 years ago I worked in a Chinese restaurant. One day at work I somehow stabbed an ice pick through the end of my thumb, and it bled severely. I couldn’t even get it stopped long enough to put on a bandage. Finally, I went into the kitchen to show it to my boss. He took one look, reached for a can of ground sage, and applied it to the wound. I never saw anything stop bleeding as quickly as that! Black pepper isn’t the only kitchen remedy for bleeding.
Thanks for this unusual remedy. We have had firsthand experience using black pepper to stop bleeding from a minor cut. It’s helpful to know that ground sage works too. Of course, serious cuts require medical attention.
Joe Graedon & Terry Graedon, The People’s Pharmacy: Quick & Handy Home Remedies, published by National Geographic