Q. I fell on a tour in Central and South America and a woman rushed to my aid from her post at the jewelry store. She started packing dry instant coffee onto my mooshed-up shin, assuring me she was a nurse.

She wrapped the wound with paper towels until I could pull myself together and sit down. Thank you, lady in Cartagena! When I got to the ship, I gently rinsed it off and let the coffee do its thing. It healed beautifully, with minimal scarring.

A. We have heard from other readers that coffee grounds applied to a cut can stop bleeding. Sometimes we get testimonials like this one: “I just got a cut on my left hand and it caused so much pain. On instinct I started running water over the cut to rinse away the blood, and frankly it still stung. My mom quickly told me to stop rinsing it and she put a little ground coffee from the jar and put a cotton pad on it.

“After a few minutes the pain was gone and she told me to remove the pad and let the wound air dry. So in all the coffee doesn’t just stop the bleeding, it sometimes takes the pain away as well. I’ve never heard any of my relatives whine about the coffee grounds making their wounds sting either, its a pretty well known remedy in our family.”

Of course, any serious wound deserves prompt medical attention. Yours is the first story we’ve received that instant coffee powder also staunches blood flow.

Ground black pepper is another emergency treatment for minor cuts. Here is one reader’s story: 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.

We also have a video on this topic. If you would like to learn more about home remedies for household emergencies, you may want to check out The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies, which has hundreds of them.

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  1. B. J. Hoover

    For years our family used moistened tea bags to stop bleeding. My Dad said that it was the tannic acid in the tea that did it. It worked for us!

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