Natural Styptics

This guest post by MountainSurvivor and entry in our non-fiction writing contest.

This contest will end on February 16 2013  – prizes include:

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The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only. Author and assumes no liability. For reasons of safety, it is recommended that persons with high and low blood pressure problems, heart disease, diabetes, asthma and other serious ailments as well as pregnant or nursing women gather thorough research on the herbs of interest to them prior to their use.

When the new health care bill takes full effect in 2014, the nation may experience a great shortage of doctors and decisions for treatments could take a minimum of six months for approval or denial. Certain recent reports have been relating that dialysis treatments have already been denied with reasons being given that it is because of the bill. And in other news, doctors are changing their professions. There is a small shortage of physicians. The current Administration has taken $716 billion from the Medicare program to pay for “ObamaCare”. Man-made medicines designed to destroy viruses and bacteria have proven to be a failure. Cases of one disease or another, those which were nearly eradicated years ago, have started resurfacing. And on the story goes. With that in mind, knowing that everything could be turned inside out and upside down, we can take this time to prepare ourselves this very minute.

Beginning with the basics is the best and easiest starting point. Scratches. Scrapes. Gashes. Bruises. They all have one thing in common, bleeding or hemorrhaging.

A styptic is a substance that is applied externally to stop “localized” bleeding or hemorrhaging. “Localized” would be like a razor nicking or cutting the skin but not so deeply that a tissue or rag becomes soaked and/or dripping with blood. Basically, this would be like a minor injury with a normal amount of blood being produced in conjunction with the size of the wound. A “hemorrhage” is when a large quantity of blood, or heavy bleeding from a vessel which carries blood, is produced. This would be like cutting into muscle tissue and bleeding a lot but with application of pressure the flow will begin to slow down and eventually come to a halt, unless the severed tissues are disturbed before they have completely mended back together.

Nature offers many styptic herbs which are useful for stopping bleeding. For example, Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) treats cuts and scrapes. Consumers have the option of stocking up on this medicinal herb because many stores carry it in a bottled liquid extract which is generally used straight from the bottle. Those with salve or ointment know-how may decide to mix one part extract into nine parts lard, shortening, coconut oil or another carrier oil for application to skin.

Bistort (Polygonum bistorta) rootstock applied directly on the skin in powdered form is a very good remedy for wounds because it has come to be known as powerful for it’s ability to halt bleeding.

Fresh-crushed, until of pulp consistency, or dried, Wax Myrtle (Myrica cerifera) bark, leaves and wax from the fruit may be used to make a poultice which is mixed with a hot soft or sticky non-toxic substance such as a paste of unbleached flour, organic hot cereal or corn meal for adherence to the skin. To obtain the wax from the fruit, boil the fruit in water, cool the water, skim the surface to collect the wax, mix the wax with the food paste and apply to the affected area.

Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) rootstock is also dried, ground to a powder and applied directly to wounds to stop them from bleeding.

Camphor Tree (Cinnamomum camphora) is used to create an essential oil for healing which is used in many over-the-counter products to treat bruises (under skin hemorrhages) and fleshy-type martial art, sport and gardening strains and injuries. White camphor helps to relieve pain and heal injuries but the yellow and brown forms should be avoided because they are toxic/carcinogenic. White camphor should not be used upon broken/open skin. Camphor should not be used by asthmatics, epileptics, pregnant women, etc. White camphor oil should be used only when necessary and there are no other options. If a person has no medicine to relieve pain or because they are unable to visit a physician, application straight from the bottle should be applied as lightly as possible and allowed to dry or the oil may be dabbed with a cloth to collect any unwanted excess. Treatment should cease if a negative reaction or the odor becomes repelling.

When the world of health falls apart, the unprepared will fret and think the end has come. Will you be amongst the helpless crowds, reliant upon others to heal your wounds, or a light that shines in the darkness, ready to tend to your needs or those of your community?

About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.


  1. Mystery Guest says:

    Very good information. And needed.
    I for one do not run to the doctor everytime I get a gash in my old hide. No sense in it and you could use the money for stocking up on these items.
    This will go into the mecicinal herb information.
    Thank you

  2. Fresh CLEAN Yarrow leaf is good to stop bleeding. I caught my husband grabbing a handful, to put on a bad razor cut and I had to stop him from applying right away. We do have dogs that will lift a leg just about anywhere. He recently put a fence around “his yarrow”. LOL.
    Alum was used in the past, however I haven’t used it and I heard it hurts like hell. I read that it was used for arterial bleeding as it shrinks tissue, but I can’t imagine cleaning it out of there later.

    My method for wounds will continue to be to apply pressure, then keep it clean and dry.

    The plants you listed do not grow in my area. But thank you for sharing them.

    • Mystery Guest says:

      Bistort and comfry are herbs. You can find sources on the internet. I haven’t checked but you could probably grow these from seed.

      • Mystery Guest says:

        Horizon Herbs has seed:
        Comphrey- 10 seed for $3.95
        Bistort- 30 seed for $3.95

        But check for other sources as well. I am.

        • Mystery Guest,
          Thank you for the seed source!
          I did not see the Comfrey listed. Sometimes I read to fast, and my brain is too slow.
          I have tons of Comfrey that tried to take over like the blob. It is an excellent wound healer. I use it specifically as a poultice for swollen, irritated areas after child birth.
          It is also a great green manure for soil, but it can become a terrible invasive species.
          However, I AM interested at looking at the Bistort to see if it will grow here.

    • We are big fans of yarrow. It grows wild here, but if it didn’t I would plant some in my garden as it is as beautiful as it is useful.

      • I have a mediation area that has yarrow for lawn. Just mow it and is so soft. Like moss almost. Low water and chokes out other unwanted plants.

    • Desert Fox says:

      A supportive comment: Yarrow (the wild kind) is great as a bleeding stopper and healer. However, it heals so fast, that if the wound is not perfectly clean, it might enclose the dirt in the wound and cause infection.

    • MountainSurvivor says:

      Mama J,
      Thank you for stopping your husband, poor fellow. He’s lucky you have a keen eye, lol.

  3. One site I saw said ground red pepper was good for styptic, but I BET THAT HURTS! On the bright side it probably kills germs too.

    Mama J is right about yarrow, and it grows in fields just wild. I found some a few months ago at a range I was at, right underfoot. People used to call it Soldier’s Woundwort.

    Shepherd’s Purse, Capsella bursa-pastoris, is good for bleeding too, and you can ingest it to help with excessive uterine bleeding. It’s a traditional midwife herb.

    • Mystery Guest,
      Thank you for the seed source!
      I did not see the Comfrey listed. Sometimes I read to fast, and my brain is too slow.
      I have tons of Comfrey that tried to take over like the blob. It is an excellent wound healer. I use it specifically as a poultice for swollen, irritated areas after child birth.
      It is also a great green manure for soil, but it can become a terrible invasive species.
      However, I AM interested at looking at the Bistort to see if it will grow here.

  4. I fear you are right. Things are going in a direction where “self care” will be needed more and more. Sort of like what I experienced as a child.

    • MountainSurvivor says:

      JP in MT,
      What you experienced, you should write an article about. I’m probably not the only one who would enjoy being taken back in time a bit.

  5. Thanks! I’ll add this to my library as well. Hearing about stuff that works is better than 10 books on herbalism. The books are helpful but real life experience is gold!

  6. livinglife says:

    one of my goals is to learn the art of shaving with a straight razor, a good resource for stopping bleeding is most appreciated.

    • I’m working on that one myself, it can be adventure….lol. I have a block of alum and it does sting a bit but no worse than a styptic pencil.

  7. My 78 year old aunt swears by preperation H for small cuts and bruises. She claims it will stop a moderate bleeding cut in her and her boyfriend who takes blood thinners. Plus she claims it helps reduce all those big bruises that older people get all over their hands and arms it you put it on right after you bump your arm. I know it has witch hazel and other things to reduce swelling in blood vessels and it is probably antiseptic also.. Have not tried it since I have none laying around but may just have to get a tube or two for future needs.

  8. Haven’t used Yarrow Powder for wound care (currently use it for colds), but I am going to – thanks for the info! I will search for the seeds so I can grow it.

    I buy it (and other herbs) from

    I personally know that Bistort Root Powder works if you get Poison Oak. Place the dry powder liberally on the skin – it reduces itching and dries the skin out. However, it will also make you look like you have been wallowing in dirt. Keep the area completely dry for several days until the skin is free of the poison oak patches. My encounter healed within 3 days.

    • MountainSurvivor says:

      Nancy V.,
      I will make a note regarding treating Poison Oak with Bistort and thank you for sharing how well it worked for you. I find myself helping two to three people a year with one thing or another and a few of them like to visit an area where they are in danger of making contact with it but have no idea what to do.

  9. Almost all of my rucks have ground Cayenne Pepper in them. Clots bleeding in small cuts quickly… It only slightly stings, and never leave the house without some.

  10. I’ll second using cayenne pepper. I keep cayenne straws in my medical kits and in my chow kits. It tastes as good as it works. Drove a Cold Steel Voyager into my hand last spring. The knuckle stopped it from penetrating through and through. Difficult to bandage spot and to keep direct pressure on. Good powdering with cayenne and the bleeding stopped. Yes it stung, but much less than a doctor bill. Took about two weeks to heal, never got infected, very little scarring.

  11. Way back when, folks used spiderwebs to stop bleeding. Supposedly spiderweb has vitamin K which reduces bleeding. Haven’t tried this one yet.

    I’ve personally used superglue to “stitch” myself up a couple of times. Debrided the wound and rubbed in some triple antibiotic first. But then I’ll do anything to get out of seeing a doctor.

    Also from personal experience Yarrow leaf can jumpstart a compost pile as well.

    • Tommy2rs,
      I have successfully used superglue to close gun scope eyebrow gashes at least a dozen times working as a hunting guide. The Gel works the best.
      If you can get past the frantic girl screams from the big guys, it works great. I am sure you didn’t scream at all.
      One guy ACTUALLY did it AGAIN the next day and had to be driven to the hospital, because he said I was a “big meany”. No, he did not harvest an animal, even though he shot his weapon four times. He didn’t tip either.

      I have heard of the spiderwebs. It clotted and was sticky to help hold the dressing.

      • The debriding part hurts worse than the super glue and I tend to cuss vilely and continuously instead of screaming like a girl. But then I’ve had way too much practice at patching myself up….lol.

  12. Tactical G-Ma says:

    Good article. Some I’ve used some not. Starting an apothecary cabinet with natural meds, someday. Perhaps this summer. Thank you.

    • MountainSurvivor says:

      Tactical G-Ma,
      With all the pretty blooms and scents, it is always worth having a medicinal herbal garden around.

  13. Encourager says:

    Regarding the statement “There is a small shortage of physicians.” My MIL doctor told me that when Obama-Care takes full effect, or before, she will be retiring. She said she had planned on working about 10 more years but won’t. She also said she knows of many doctors in their 50-60’s who will also be leaving the profession. I expect there will be a BIG shortage of doctors if this is happening in a small city with only one hospital.

    I really like this doctor because she is so down to earth. I told her she should move into my neighborhood when she retires. She smiled and said ‘interesting’. We would be blessed to have her.

    • MountainSurvivor says:

      I sympathize with your situation because the last good doctor, about ten years ago, left our small town because he had served until he was up there in years. He was from the good old days and had the knowledge that many of today’s doctors are not getting the opportunity to acquire. I have no doubt that there will be a shortage, I pray that there won’t be and my prayers will be answered and I’ll have to admit that I was wrong, but gladly so, and I’ll be including your doctor and that she remain somewhere nearby.

    • Encourager,
      Does this Doctor live nearby? Have you friended her? Can you build a relationship? If you feel you can get close to her, I would write her a letter upon her retirement (or before) and find a way to mention that you could and would offer her a place SHTF. Maybe like “Thank you for you friendship and excellent care of my family, if you ever need for anything…..”.
      We specifically save food and medical supplies for our Doctor. She knows we prep and has been very kind to me. I really hope she doesn’t retire and move away.
      I have my eye on a Dentist also. hehe

  14. Thanks for this great info! Since we are on the medical topic I will make a suggestion that hopefully won’t be in left field. For all active duty military-you are entitled to an eye exam every one to two years. Take advantage of this. If glasses are prescribed, you get multiple pairs: one insert for your gas mask, a pair of regular glasses, a pair of spare Birth Control clear glasses, a pair of BC sun glasses, and depending on your condition, perhaps bifocals and/or computer glasses in the BC style as well. You probably have a ton of old glasses laying around. Take some of the most recent ones to the optometry department and they can tell you if the prescription is still up to date. I currently have about 8 pair that are still wearable and the remainder that I can no longer use I donate to the Lion’s Club.

    • Marti. I donated my mil glasses after she passed away.I also donated 2 pair of rx sunglasses that I found on the road on my v star.I saw the cases and they were rx and they were too good to toss.

  15. http://www.coe‘ carries the Blocking 4 plants. You can buy full size, smaller sizes or crowns. We got them to supplement our animal feed too since the protein count is so high.

    Coe’s is a great site and you get information on how to grow as well.

    When I called to order I also got personal information on how to grow and when to plant that was very helpful. Ours is 2 years old and we feed to chickens and rabbits in small amounts along with their regular feed.

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