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Natural Products That Help to Clot Blood and Stop Bleeding

Linda Crampton has an honors degree in biology. She is very interested in plant chemicals and their actions and benefits in the human body.

The concave disks are red blood cells. The white objects represent a type of white blood cell. The spiky items are activated platelets. Platelets are activated when we're wounded.

The concave disks are red blood cells. The white objects represent a type of white blood cell. The spiky items are activated platelets. Platelets are activated when we're wounded.

Healing Wounds

Our bodies have a wonderful ability to stop blood loss and heal wounds. Protective measures spring into action as soon as we’re injured. These measures clot blood, help to prevent infection, and repair damage to the body. Our bodies can’t repair large or serious wounds, such as those that occur in major accidents or in war zones, however. First aid followed by medical help is needed to treat these problems.

Researchers have discovered that the minerals kaolin and zeolite help to stop serious bleeding and stimulate the body's blood clotting process. Neither are harmful to the body when they're used in wound treatment, as long as they are formulated correctly. They've proven their effectiveness on the battlefield and are now available for the general public as well as the military.

The minerals are sold in sterile packages and are a great addition to a first aid kit, especially for car drivers or people who participate in risky sports. They are also useful for people who hike or perform another activity which takes them to isolated areas. Someone with a serious wound must see a doctor as soon as possible. One of the clotting aids plus the traditional treatment of a bandage that puts pressure on a wound can help to prevent blood loss while the person is travelling to a hospital or waiting for medical treatment, however.

Platelets are the smallest cellular component of blood with respect to size while white blood cells are the largest. Red blood cells are the most numerous cell type in blood.

Platelets are the smallest cellular component of blood with respect to size while white blood cells are the largest. Red blood cells are the most numerous cell type in blood.

Contents and Functions of Blood

Blood is a vital fluid in our bodies and performs essential jobs. The red blood cells are the most numerous type of cell in the blood. They transport inhaled oxygen around the body and deliver it to the tissue cells, which need the oxygen to produce energy. Blood also contains several types of white blood cells. These are part of the body's immune system and protect us from infection. The platelets are cell fragments that become activated when we're wounded, helping blood to clot and bleeding to stop. Activated platelets have a spiky appearance.

The blood cells are suspended in a fluid called plasma. The plasma transports nutrients, dissolved gases, salts, hormones, important proteins, and heat throughout the body. It also transports waste substances away from tissues to be excreted.

The pumping of the heart is the ultimate source of blood pressure. Severe bleeding decreases the amount of fluid for the heart to pump and lowers blood pressure. This can have very serious effects on the brain because its cells need a constant and adequate supply of oxygen from red blood cells.

Arteries take blood away from the heart and are traditionally coloured red in diagrams. Veins return blood to the heart and are traditionally coloured blue.

Arteries take blood away from the heart and are traditionally coloured red in diagrams. Veins return blood to the heart and are traditionally coloured blue.

Circulation Around the Body

Blood leaves the heart through arteries. The arteries branch into smaller arterioles, which in turn branch into tiny capillaries. The capillaries travel through the tissues. Substances such as oxygen and nutrients leave the capillaries and enter the tissue cells. Substances such as carbon dioxide and other wastes move from the tissue cells into the capillaries. The wastes are then removed from the body via several mechanisms. Capillaries join together to form venules, which in turn join to form veins. The veins return the blood to the heart.

Capillaries have thin walls and are so narrow that red blood cells must pass through them in a single file. Our body can quickly repair a wound in a capillary and replace the lost blood. Blood loss from a bigger blood vessel is more serious, however. The most serious wounds of all are those in arteries, since the blood here is under high pressure created by the heartbeat and may spurt out of the wound. Wounds in veins are serious too, although the blood flows out of an injured vein steadily instead of leaving it in spurts.

A capillary bed, or network, is surrounded by tissue cells. Exchange of materials between the tissues and the blood in the capillaries occurs here.

A capillary bed, or network, is surrounded by tissue cells. Exchange of materials between the tissues and the blood in the capillaries occurs here.

How Does Blood Clot?

Blood clotting, or hemostasis, is an essential body process that repairs wounds and stops bleeding. The overall steps in the blood clotting (or blood coagulation) process are as follows.

  • First, the broken blood vessel constricts, reducing blood loss from the vessel.
  • A platelet plug then forms over the wound to temporarily stop blood loss. Platelets are continually circulating in our blood.
  • The platelets become activated, attracting proteins called clotting factors (or coagulation factors) to the wound.
  • The clotting factors cause a soluble blood protein called fibrinogen to be converted into insoluble fibrin threads. These threads form a mesh over the wound, trapping platelets and blood and forming a clot.
  • Within the blood clot, the damaged tissue is repaired.
  • Chemicals in the blood stop the clot from becoming so big that it blocks the vessel and also break it down once the wound is sealed.

Although these steps may sound simple, blood clotting is actually a complex event. Many different chemicals and processes are involved in the process.

What Is Kaolin?

Kaolin is a soft, white clay that is also known as China clay. It's named after the Kao-ling mountain in China, where the clay was mined for centuries. It consists chiefly of a mineral called kaolinite. Kaolinite is hydrated aluminum silicate. Kaolinate contains smaller quantities of other chemicals and sometimes has a yellow or red tinge due to the presence of iron oxide.

Kaolin is used in paper manufacture, ceramics, cosmetics, and toothpaste as well as in wound treatment and other applications. It's added to paints to flatten the colour and to act as an extender. It's also added to rubber in a very fine grained form in order to strengthen the rubber and to make it more resistant to abrasion.

Another use of kaolin is as a component of some medications for upset stomachs and diarrhea. Kaolin helps these problems because it adsorbs materials in the gut, such as toxins and other substances. Adsorption is the adhesion or binding of particles (atoms, ions or molecules) to a surface. Kaolin may also adsorb some medications, reducing their absorption into the body through the intestinal lining. This may be important information for people taking the medications.

Kaolin and Blood Clotting

Hemostasis is the process of stopping bleeding. Kaolin is a hemostatic agent. It activates the body's blood clotting system soon after being applied to a wound, thereby helping to stop bleeding.

Once a platelet plug has formed over a wound, a series of chemical reactions called the coagulation cascade takes place. At the end of the cascade, fibrinogen is converted into fibrin threads.

Many different proteins, or clotting factors, are involved in the coagulation cascade. The clotting factors are identified by Roman numerals. They are present in our blood in an inactive form and are activated when our blood vessels are injured and we need to make a blood clot. Kaolin activates Factor Xll in the coagulation cascade. Once this substance is activated, the cascade occurs rapidly.

Applying a pressure bandage to a wound can fight the blood pressure that forces blood out of the body and allow time for the coagulation cascade to begin naturally. Adding kaolin to the wound speeds up the cascade, however.

The Z-Medica company makes a dressing called QuikClot combat gauze that is impregnated with kaolin. The company's website says that blood loss usually stops in 3 to 5 minutes when a QuikClot kaolin dressing is used. Independent scientists at the University of Milan have found evidence supporting this claim. They studied 200 patients with wounds from the same hospital procedure. The procedure involved making an opening in the femoral artery that triggered heavy bleeding. Bleeding stopped in 5.4 minutes +/- 1.5 minutes with a kaolin bandage and in 25 minutes +/- 15 minutes when a bandage without kaolin was used.

What Are Zeolites?

Although "zeolite" is often used in the singular form by the public, in science it's generally used in the plural form because it refers to a group of minerals. Zeolites are very porous minerals that contain aluminum and silicate and adsorb other materials. Their pores give them a high surface area for adsorbing substances. Despite containing the same chemicals as kaolin, zeolites have a different structure.

Zeolites are used for water purification and are often present in detergents. They are used to slowly deliver nutrients to soil and to adsorb dangerous chemicals from aquariums. They are also used in some non-clumping cat litters.

Zeolite and Hemostasis

Like kaolin, zeolite activates blood clotting and helps to stops bleeding quickly. The Z-Medica company sells zeolite products as well as kaolin products. Their early zeolite products were sold as a fine grain product that resembled sand. There was a serious drawback when this product was placed on wounds. As the zeolite became hydrated, it produced heat and caused burns. Experiencing a burn is better than bleeding to death, but it isn't acceptable in a first aid treatment.

There are additional problems with applying a sandy or granular first aid treatment to a wound. It's hard to remove a sand from a wound. In addition, the act of trying to remove the sand may disturb a blood clot and cause bleeding again.

Z-Medica's zeolite products are now provided as beads in a mesh bag instead of as a powder that is poured into a wound. The beads contain zeolite in a different format from the original product and no longer produce excess heat.

Zeolite works in several ways. It provides calcium ions to the wound. These ions are one of the clotting factors and are required for several steps in the coagulation cascade. Researchers have found that providing calcium ions shortens the clotting time. It's also thought that the negative charge on the surface of zeolite particles initiates one pathway in the coagulation cascade.

University of Maryland researchers have found that beads made of zeolite and polysaccharides act as an efficient hemostat. The polysaccharides are chitosan and alginate. Chitosan is derived from shellfish and alginate is derived from brown algae. The researchers have discovered that the beads stop bleeding by multiple methods.

Applying pressure to a wound helps to stop bleeding, but kaolin and zeolite may speed up the process.

Applying pressure to a wound helps to stop bleeding, but kaolin and zeolite may speed up the process.

Potentially Useful Additions to a First Aid Kit

We all hope that we will never experience a serious injury, but accidents do happen. A first aid kit is important in our home and in our vehicles to help ourselves and other people.

Sterile dressings and bandages are used to put pressure on a wound (unless organs are protruding) in order to stop bleeding. They are standard first aid materials and should be present in every first aid kit. They may be all that's needed to treat a minor wound such as a small and shallow cut.

A mineral product containing kaolin or zeolite could be a good addition to the kit in case more serious wounds occur, since the products help blood to clot. They also have a good safety record when they're used to treat wounds, provided they're formulated correctly. Medical help is required if a wound is serious enough to require help from kaolin or zeolite, but the materials could be useful while the patient is travelling to or waiting for emergency medical care.

Bandages should be part of a large or a mini first aid kit. Kaolin or zeolite could be a helpful addition.

Bandages should be part of a large or a mini first aid kit. Kaolin or zeolite could be a helpful addition.

References

  • A United States Army report describes the successful use of Combat Gauze (which contains kaolin). Note that the other product mentioned in this article (WoundStat, which contains smectite minerals instead of kaolin) is no longer used by the army because it's been discovered that while it does stop bleeding it also causes inflammation and damages healthy cells.
  • Effects of zeolite on blood coagulation in lab equipment from nature.com
  • Overview of Agents Used for Emergency Hemostasis from Trauma Monthly and the NIH
  • Alginate, chitosan, and zeolite beads as a topical hemostat from the University of Maryland

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

Questions & Answers

Question: Is sugar a natural coagulant?

Answer: Sugar doesn’t enter or influence the coagulation cascade, so it can’t affect blood clotting via either of these mechanisms. It is a folk remedy for stopping bleeding in small cuts, but I’ve found no scientific evidence supporting its use. Applying direct pressure is effective for stopping bleeding from small wounds, so adding sugar isn’t necessary.

© 2013 Linda Crampton

Comments

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on March 08, 2018:

Hi, Lillie. If you do an Internet search for "nose bleed first aid Mayo Clinic" you'll find some suggestions. The Mayo Clinic web page also gives information about when to seek emergency care or a doctor's advice for a nose bleed.

Lillie on March 08, 2018:

How to stop a nose bleed when you out in a public place?

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 22, 2014:

Thank you very much for the comment and the pin, VioletteRose. I appreciate them both.

VioletteRose from Atlanta on September 22, 2014:

This is very informative AliciaC and great to know that Kaolin and Zeolite are sold with first aid products. Thanks for sharing, I am pinning this.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on November 06, 2013:

Thank you! It's very nice when natural substances are found to be helpful for health.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on November 06, 2013:

Natural Products That Help to Clot Blood and Stop Bleeding a very well explained hub on how the blood clots certainly a helpful hub for such serious health problems

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on April 26, 2013:

Thank you very much for the comment and the pin, Insightful Tiger!

Insightful Tiger on April 26, 2013:

I learn something new everyday! This is very useful information and it's definitely going on my "good to know " board. Thanks!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on March 05, 2013:

Hi, RTalloni. Thanks for the visit. It is very interesting that kaolin and zeolites can help to stop bleeding!

RTalloni on March 05, 2013:

An interesting read about an important topic. Thanks for highlighting the products containing these natural substances. It is amazing to learn about this use of kaolin and zeolites!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on March 05, 2013:

Thanks for the interesting comments, eroller.

Liheng from Shanghai on March 05, 2013:

Yes. You are right. I was not talking about green tea only, but chewed green tea. Don't forget lysozym in saliva. It also works as germ killer.

Liheng from Shanghai on March 05, 2013:

Not Green Tea, but chewed green teen. Don't forget muramidase in Saliva.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on March 04, 2013:

Kaolin and zeolite are solid in first aid products and prepared dressings, eroller. I'm very glad that you didn't develop tetanus when you stepped on a rusty nail. That was a dangerous situation. Green tea is a wonderful substance, but it's not known as a tetanus fighter! All wounds need to be kept clean and as germ-free as possible.

Liheng from Shanghai on March 04, 2013:

Good knowledge. But where can we get them. Nobody keeps Kaolin and zeolite powder or rock.

As I know, green tea is very helpful for first aid, save wounded from infection and tetanus. When I were 7-year-old, I stepped on a big rusty nail, my Mom used chewed green tea to cover the wound. It worked perfect.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on February 26, 2013:

Hi, Deb. Yes, styptic powders and pencils are very useful because they constrict blood vessels to stop minor bleeding. Thanks for the visit!

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on February 26, 2013:

Growing up, I recall my father sometimes used a styptic pencil after cutting himself while shaving.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on February 26, 2013:

Thanks for the visit, drbj. I appreciate your comment!!

drbj and sherry from south Florida on February 26, 2013:

Another fascinating treatise, Alicia, about natural products that can help stop bleeding. So ... is the Alicia Atlas of Ailments and their Treatment ready for publication yet?

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on February 26, 2013:

Thank you very much, Prasetio. I always appreciate your comments and votes!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on February 26, 2013:

Thanks for the votes, Gypsy48. A first aid kit in the home can be very useful. Accidents can happen at any time!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on February 26, 2013:

Thanks for the visit and the comment, Eddy. I hope that you you have a great day, too.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on February 26, 2013:

Thank you very much for the comment, the votes and the share, JCielo! I appreciate your visit. I've heard of kaolin poultices being used, but I don't known whether they've been proven to be effective.

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on February 26, 2013:

There you go again Alicia, always teaching us new and interesting things. Great hub my friend! My vote always for you.....Peace!!

Prasetio

Gypsy48 on February 26, 2013:

Very interesting subject. Also a great reminder to have a first aid kit at home which I don't have at the moment. I will be putting one together though. Voted up and useful.

Eiddwen from Wales on February 26, 2013:

So interesting and useful to many. Thanks for sharing Alicia and have a great day.

Eddy.

JCielo from England on February 26, 2013:

This is such a useful hub. And I know from my own experiences the amount of research that goes into producing such hubs.

Am I correct in saying that you can use a Kaolin poultice to reduce inflammation and bring out abscesses? I seem to remember my mum using these when I was a very young boy .

Voted up, useful and shared!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on February 25, 2013:

Maybe not, georgescifo, since since each of them triggers a process that occurs in a normal clotting system. There is another semi-natural substance used to clot blood during first aid that might be appropriate, however. It's called chitosan. Chitosan dressings are made by the Celox Medical company. (They have a website.) Chitosan stops bleeding by binding to red blood cells to form a gel. It doesn't interact with the coagulation cascade.

georgescifo from India on February 25, 2013:

Are these products applicable to those who have disorders in their clotting mechanisms?

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on February 25, 2013:

Thank you for the comment, Susan. No, Kwik Stop contains different ingredients. It's a great product, though - I've used it on my dogs.

Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on February 25, 2013:

Really interesting hub Alicia. Is this what they put into Kwick Stop, the product they sell to stop dogs nails from bleed when cut too short?

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on February 25, 2013:

Thank you very much, Jackie. I appreciate your comment!

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on February 25, 2013:

Very interesting, I had no idea. The video also was very informative and interesting to see how a clot forms and then dissolves once the wound is healed. Thanks so much!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on February 25, 2013:

Thanks for the visit and the comment, and thank you very much for the vote and the share too, Nell! Kaolin has often been used for stomach problems. I didn't mention anything about morphine, but thanks for bringing the topic up, Nell. It's very interesting that kaolin mixed with a low dose of morphine is sometimes used to treat diarrhea. It's certainly a useful substance!

Nell Rose from England on February 25, 2013:

This was so fascinating, as you mentioned kaolin and morphine are used in the event of a stomach problem, but I never thought of its other uses, great information, voted up and shared, nell

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on February 25, 2013:

Thank you for the visit and the comment, dilipchandra12!

Dilip Chandra from India on February 25, 2013:

Excellent hub with lots of information. It is very useful and i enjoyed the above informative read and gained some good knowledge.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on February 25, 2013:

Thank you very much for such a kind comment, Bill. As always, I appreciate your visit.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on February 25, 2013:

Wow! I am in awe of the research you do for your hubs. They are always so well done and informative. Thank you for this valuable information.