When you cut yourself or scrape the skin, the blood will flow freely at first, then slow and begin the process of forming a clot. Eventually the injury will scar over and heal. Large, deep cuts that lose blood easily or injuries to arteries can be very dangerous. Herbs have been used traditionally in the healing process to help stop bleeding. You should not use herbs without first consulting a health care professional.
How Blood Clots
The process by which your body forms a blood clot is amazingly complex. When you cut yourself, the blood vessels in the area constrict, slowing the blood flow. Platelets are activated by a substance called thrombin and begin to gather at the site of injury to form a temporary plug. Platelets release a number of substances that begin the clotting process. The next step is the actual formation of a clot, which is composed of fibrin, platelets and red blood cells. In addition to platelets and fibrin, the clotting process involves 13 different clotting factors.
In order for an herb to promote blood clotting, it must strengthen a clotting factor directly or otherwise promote the effect of one or more clotting factors, platelets or thrombin. Plants and herbs that are high in vitamin K can promote blood clotting. One of these herbs is alfalfa, which contains vitamins, minerals and eight essential amino acids as well as vitamin K. Alfalfa is so effective at promoting blood clotting that it can interfere with the action of the anticoagulant warfarin – brand name Coumadin. Don't use alfalfa without consulting a health care professional.
Yarrow was named for the mythical Greek hero Achilles, who used the plant to heal his soldiers' bleeding wounds. It was traditionally used for wounds and minor bleeding. Certified Chinese Herbalist Lisl Meredith Huebner reports that yarrow, Achillea millefolium, is effective for stopping bleeding. It can be used to stop a nose bleed or bleeding cut. You should chew a fresh leaf and apply it to the wound. Don't use yarrow without consulting a health care professional.
Goldenrod is used traditionally for internal bleeding, which implies it has the ability to stop bleeding, but the University of Maryland Medical Center cautions that it should not be used on an open wound. Herbs can cause side effects, so you should not use herbs for any medical condition without consulting a health care professional.
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Goldenrod; Steven D. Ehrlich, N.M.D.; March 2009
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Yarrow; Steven D. Ehrlich, N.M.D.; July 2009
- HerbalRemediesInformation.com: Alfalfa Herb
- Herbalisl.blogspot.com: Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
- The Medical BioChemistry Page: Blood Coagulation; Michael W King; August 2011