Even small cuts can bleed a lot, particularly if they’re in a sensitive location like your mouth. In most cases, your blood’s platelets will coagulate on their own, forming a clot to stop the blood flow. If you need to speed things up, some home remedies can help your blood coagulate and stop bleeding more quickly.
With cuts of any size or depth, the first step is always to apply pressure and elevate. After that, there are some home remedies that have been used around the world to speed blood clotting and stop the bleeding from small cuts. However, not all these remedies are backed by conclusive scientific research. Here are six remedies you can try and what the research says about them.
1. Apply pressure and elevate
The first step if you’re bleeding is to apply firm pressure to the wound and elevate it above your heart. You can apply pressure with a clean cloth or gauze. It doesn’t matter what type of cloth you use for a compress as long as it’s clean.
If blood seeps through, don’t remove the compress. Removing it too soon may increase bleeding by breaking open a blood clot that’s forming. Instead, add more of whatever type of compress you’re using, and continue to apply pressure.
Apply pressure to the wound for 5 to 10 minutes before checking to see if bleeding has slowed or stopped. If it hasn’t, apply pressure for five more minutes. If bleeding still hasn’t stopped, call your doctor for advice.
Applying ice to a bleeding wound, especially in the mouth, is a popular home remedy to stop bleeding. It also helps reduce swelling. However, little scientific research exists to support the remedy. An older study found bleeding time was longer the higher your body temperature. On the other hand, the lower your body temperature, the slower the blood clotting time.
How to use: Apply an ice cube wrapped in gauze directly to the wound. Do not use ice to stop bleeding if your body temperature is higher or lower than normal.
A popular remedy to stop bleeding after dental work is to apply a wet tea bag to the affected area. It’s thought the tannins in tea promote blood clotting and have astringent abilities. Tannins are natural chemicals that give tea its bitter flavor.
According to a 2014 study, green tea may be the best type of tea to use after tooth extraction. The study found that people who applied gauze with green tea extract to their bleeding tooth socket experienced less bleeding and oozing than those who applied gauze alone.
How to use: Herbal or decaffeinated teas won’t work. You need the tannins from caffeinated green or black teas. To use tea to stop bleeding after dental work, get a green or black tea bag wet and wrap it in gauze. Bite down firmly but gently on the tea compress or hold it directly against the cut in your mouth for 30 minutes or more. To use tea to stop an outer cut from bleeding, press a dry green or black tea bag against it. You can hold it in place with dry gauze, using a consistent amount of pressure and elevating the cut above your heart.
Various species of the yarrow plant are found around the world. They’re known as the Achillea family, said to be named after Achilles, the Trojan War hero made famous in Greek mythology. Legend says Achilles used yarrow to stop bleeding in wounds of his soldiers during battle. A 2011 study tested one type of yarrow plant to see how well it could help heal wounds in mice and rats and found that it was effective.
How to use: Yarrow powder is made by grinding dried yarrow herb into powder. To use yarrow powder to stop bleeding, sprinkle the wound with yarrow powder or wet, fresh yarrow leaves and flowers, and then apply pressure and elevate the wound above your heart.
5. Witch hazel
The astringent nature of witch hazel may help stop bleeding in small nicks and cuts. Astringents help tighten the skin and draw it together, decrease blood supply, and promote clotting. More research is needed to prove astringents stop bleeding, but one 2007 study found witch hazel ointment to be an effective treatment for certain types of skin disorders.
Some other astringent plants that may stop bleeding are horsetail, plantain, and rose.
How to use: To use witch hazel to slow bleeding, apply a small amount to a gauze or compress and press on the wound. Pure witch hazel, without any added alcohol or other ingredients, can be found at most drugstores.
6. Vitamin C powder and zinc lozenges
The combination of vitamin c powder and zinc lozenges may stop prolonged bleeding and encourage blood clotting after tooth extraction, according to a case study. The study found that sprinkling buffered vitamin C powder onto gauze and applying it to a bleeding tooth socket helped slow bleeding. Sprinkling the powder directly onto bleeding gums eventually stopped the bleeding of local gum tissue. Once the bleeding stopped, the woman was instructed to dissolve a zinc lozenge in her mouth. This resulted in a blood clot forming along the inner surface of her gum within three minutes.
How to use: Be sure to use pure vitamin C powder that’s not mixed with sugars or flavoring. Sprinkle the powder directly onto your bleeding gums, then suck on a zinc lozenge. Zinc lozenges can be found at most drugstores in the cold medicine aisle.
Q&A: Can it be harmful?
Can it be harmful to try remedies that haven’t been proven to stop bleeding, or is it safe for me to try?
You should never apply anything that has not been proven to stop bleeding for a few reasons. Since it is an open wound, your body is open to contaminants. Applying an unproven substance to the wound could create a host of problems. It could increase bleeding, cause infection, irritate your skin, or cause an allergic reaction. Be cautious: If you’re not sure it will help, don’t apply it.Debra Sullivan, PhD, MSN, RN, CNE, COI Answers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.