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Question: We recently had a traumatic trip to the emergency room for my daughter’s bleeding cut. No matter how much I wrapped it, the bleeding wouldn’t stop. Is there anything I could have done with herbs to help stem the flow?

Andrea Candee responds: There is something you can do at home -- but if your first response is to go the emergency room, this is something you can try on the way. You’ll probably find it works before you even get there! High in Vitamin K, cayenne pepper’s clotting properties will stop a child’s bleeding within 10 seconds … a dramatic remedy, to say the least.

Interestingly, cayenne’s high mineral content lends to it the classification of a demulcent (a soothing herb). Thus despite its fiery reputation, it does not burn the skin, even when placed on a sensitive wound.

Spoon a thick layer of powdered cayenne over the affected area.
• Cover with a bandage; leave on overnight. The bleeding will stop within 10 seconds. What’s more, cayenne’s anti-microbial and astringent properties help cleanse and close the cut. You do not have to wash the cayenne out of the cut as it is healing, because the cayenne will come off when the bandage is removed.

Take note:
Head wounds are characterized by their excessive bleeding. Don’t be alarmed. The cayenne pepper remedy even stopped the profuse bleeding when my son fell and hit his head on the corner of a table. After the bleeding has stopped, check your child for signs of concussion and have a medical check-up to be sure there is no undetected internal hemorrhaging.

Less serious bleeding cuts will respond to every child’s favorite, the brown paper bag trick. A brown paper bag can act as a compression bandage and often served as an old family method of stopping bleeding popular prior to the advent of plastic. I can remember several incidents with my boys at home in the kitchen, in the supermarket and even in the car after going grocery shopping when a quick piece from a brown paper grocery bag became a fast first aid tool.

In the same way that men often stop their shaving cuts from bleeding with a bit of toilet tissue, you can apply a piece of brown paper bag to a cut as a pressure bandage.

• Make a “bandage” from brown paper torn from a grocery bag and tape or firmly hold on the cut.
• Leave in place until the bleeding stops.

I don’t have to tell you that any deep wound is as emotionally invasive as the wound itself. I use the following natural nerve-calmer to help restore equilibrium to a child’s state of mind. If you had to go to the emergency room, this is something you can take along with you and start giving in the car on the way there.

• Place 4 drops of Rescue Remedy (a well known Bach Flower Essence available in most health food stores) in 2 to 4 ounces of water, and allow the child to sip the mixture during and after the treatment. A few undiluted drops could even be put right under the tongue.

When you know how to use simple materials found in your home, even potentially scary situations like bleeding cuts can be gently and effectively healed -- although they’ll never replace the loving benefits of kissing the boo-boo along with a hug!

Andrea Candee is a master herbalist, media expert, nationally known lecturer and author of the award-winning Gentle Healing for Baby and Child (Simon & Schuster), which received The National parenting Center's Seal of Approval. Andrea is noted nationally for her unique and successful approach to Lyme Disease. She lives and maintains a consultation health practice in New York and shares much of her knowledge at

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