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Bleeding

General characteristics

General characteristics

Bleeding is the result of the release or escape of blood from a blood vessel usually as a result of the blood vessel being damaged in some way. Bleeding can occur externally or internally.
Minor blood loss, from a skin wound for example, can be easily stopped by applying light pressure to the wound and allowing time for the bodys natural clotting mechanisms to take effect (usually between 2 and 6 minutes).
Internal bleeding is when blood escapes from the blood vessel into organs, tissues or body cavities and causes swelling, pain, heat and greatly resticted movement in a joint for example. A bruise is an example of a minor internal bleed.
The body has several mechanisms to control the loss of blood from the blood vessels. The blood vessels themselves contract in response to the injury so that less blood is able to escape. Sticky platelets quickly migrate to the wound and begin to plug the hole in the vessels. Fibrous protein called fibrin weaves itself into the platelet clot which completes the sealing of the blood vessel and allows the resulting scab to protect the vessels and wound whilst healing takes place.
 

Diet and lifestyle

Diet and lifestyle

The grain buckwheat (sometimes called kasha) is high in rutin, a bioflavanoid which is used to strengthen the walls of blood vessels. Use in soups or instead of rice or as a kind of porridge for breakfast. It is not a cereal and isn't related to wheat at all so is suitable for wheat intolerances.

Apple peel and citrus fruits are also high in rutin.

Vitamin K is an important nutrient involving in the natural blood clotting mechanism.

Factors that inhibit its action or deplete levels include disorders of digestion such as crohns disease and celiac disease, yeast (candida) overgrowth, antibiotics, high doses of vitamin A and E, regular antacid use and high alcohol intake.

Foods rich in vitamin K include all the dark green leafy veg such as cabbage, spinach, brussels sprouts, kale, watercress, lettuce, swiss chard, fresh parsley, broccoli and rocket. Eat at least a cup of cooked greens and a small salad daily. Legumes and prunes are also high in Vitamin K.


Useful herbs

Useful herbs

There are many herbs that slow and lessen the flow of blood from an injured blood vessel. These astringent or styptic herbs include yarrow, shepherds purse, tormentil, agrimony, herb robert, cranesbill, lady's mantle, oak bark, wood avens, horsetail, plantain, nettles rhatany root, bayberry, cayenne can all be used directly on the wound as a fresh or dried poultice, as a compress soaked in a herbal tea or as powders.
For cases of internal bleeding drink a tea made from equal parts of yarrow, comfrey leaf, raspberry leaf, lady's mantle, shepherds purse and american cranesbill with a pinch of cayenne.
Cayenne (chilli or capsicum) slows blood loss from the site by directing blood flow to other parts and equalising blood pressure. In cases of internal haemorrhage or profuse external bleeding take a teaspoon of cayenne powder in a glass of warm water. It sounds drastic but bleeding stops in less than 20 seconds as blood pressure is equalised, taking the high pressure away from the opening and clotting occurs more rapidly.
Apply witch hazel water to the wound to stem blood flow and facilitate wound healing.

Natural healing

Natural healing

For external bleeding it is vital to apply pressure directly onto the wound and keep it on until bleeding has stopped. Use a piece of cloth to hold over the bleed site. If the cloth becomes saturated with blood add another layer on top and do not remove the first one. If you do you may well pull off the initial stages of scab formation and restart the bleeding anew.
Keeping the direct pressure on, elevate the bleeding wound above the level of the heart to further slow the flow of blood.
In addition to the above, apply hand pressure (you may need an extra person for this) to one of the main pressure points. These are areas where blood runs in vessels that are close to the skin surface such as behind the knee (politeal artery), in the groin where the abdomen joins the legs (femoral artery) or midway along the inside of the upper arm (brachial artery). Apply pressure to a point closer to the heart than the wound is or it will have no slowing effect on the blood-flow. For example, pressing on the femoral artery will not slow blood-flow to the wrist or hand - pressing on the brachial artery will however.
 

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