ground black pepper in a shaker

Q. At Thanksgiving my son-in-law sharpened my knives, but he cut his thumb and finger badly in the process. I quickly said, “Let’s put pepper on it.” His thumb could probably have used a suture, but I live on top of a mountain, far away from a hospital.
He thought I had totally lost my mind, but after he looked it up on his smart phone, he agreed. I had only whole peppercorns, so we had to grind them. Nonetheless, the pepper worked like a charm to stop the bleeding. The cut healed up nicely by the end of the weekend.
I now keep ground black pepper in my first aid kit in my car and in the medicine cabinet. Thank you for alerting me to this remedy.

A. Black pepper (Piper nigrum) has been valued for medicinal and culinary uses since the time of Hippocrates. It is also used in Ayurvedic (traditional Indian) medicine to treat a variety of ills. Normally we caution people to use pepper only for minor cuts and to get medical attention for serious wounds, but we are glad that it worked so well for your son-in-law’s injury.

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  1. Lon

    I find the scepticism funny. I too had a serious cut somewhere where medical attention was not readily available. Not only did it coagulate almost immediately, it healed faster and there was no scarring. From that day forward I have included black pepper in every emergency kit I prepare.

  2. WDB

    In any superficial wound, just about any applied foreign substance will have a cauterizing affect on the frail capillaries in the base of the wound and hasten coagulation but the ultimate healing will probably proceed more rapidly if the wound is just kept clean and for a short period (depending on wound depth) protected with a light dressing.

  3. Anonymous

    While washing some glasses, one broke. I had a deep cut on my hand. I couldn’t stop the bleeding with pressure. I remembered the black pepper hint on this site. It worked immediately and stopped the bleeding. Healed perfect with no sutures. I now keep a large can of black pepper in my kitchen just in case…. I shared the black pepper and the soap for leg cramps hints with friends. Both work for me!
    Thanks for all the great information.

  4. F.M.

    I also cut my finger with a knife, while slicing bread. It was pretty severe and bleeding badly. I had soaked a few tissues when I remembered the black pepper thing I had read about. It didn’t do so well for me. The blood just washed the pepper away. I tried a couple of more times with the same results. What finally did help was Super Glue.
    I held the skin together (which wasn’t easy with only using one hand) and applied the glue thinly. The glue held the skin together as a couple of stitches would have, and bleeding stopped. So if someone else can’t get the pepper thing to work for them, try the glue. Actually it is similar to what the surgeon used on my stomachs outer layer of skin after a surgery, instead of stitches or staples. That’s what made me think of it.

  5. Kim

    The pepper is a new one for me. I was under the impression that raw sugar worked in an emergency.
    Then on The Peoples’s Pharmacy, I thought I heard the interview with the recipe of 3:1 or 4:1 powdered sugar to fat, such as a olive oil.

  6. L.K.

    I have been under the impression that using the hottest cayenne pepper works the very best for bleeding. Cayenne is very medicinal… probably even more so than the black pepper.

  7. Paul43

    This is really hard to beleive, but I defiitly will try next time I cut myself.

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