ground black pepper in a shaker

Q. You have written about a drugstore product to stop bleeding. Instead of WoundSeal, we use finely ground black pepper on bleeding cuts. My old friends tell me that is what they used in World War II. It is cheap and handy and we have used it to great effect.

First Aid First:

A. Don’t forget first aid: apply direct pressure on the cut for several minutes. After that, black pepper makes a great home remedy.

Black Pepper Enthusiasts:

We have heard from a number of people who use this remedy. One reader suggests:

“The little packages of black pepper from the fast food stores are easy to carry with you and will stop bleeding. All are easy to wash off if you have to go to the doctor.”

Still another comments:

“Either black or red pepper works very well too. I keep some in my auto first aid kit. Every workshop should have some pepper to stop bleeding and some soy sauce for burns in it. I have used both at times during my work. Oil of oregano is another must. It works wonders to neutralize stings. One drop does it.”

Here is yet another great black pepper story, this one from a cabinet maker:

Cabinet Maker Appreciates Black Pepper:

Q. Black pepper works great to stop bleeding! I build cabinets. While moving a large cabinet on rollers across a gap in my concrete floor, the cabinet slipped back into the gap and onto my middle finger, just as I was standing up. Not only did it bust open, but the action of standing up almost ripped it in two.

I bandaged the finger, but the next morning it was still bleeding. My cousin told me about your suggestion of black pepper on cuts, so I tried it. It stopped the bleeding. Thanks for this simple remedy.

A. We first heard about using black pepper to control bleeding from an RV camper in 1996. Her brother-in-law Wendall was a woodcarver and had learned from his carving buddies to put black pepper on minor cuts. During a road trip a coffee cup fell out of a cupboard and hit him on the head. It bled profusely, but the bleeding stopped when they applied ground black pepper.

We have subsequently heard from many other readers who have tried this remedy successfully. We have even used it ourselves. Of course, a serious injury requires medical attention rather than a home remedy.

For those who don’t respond to black pepper on a cut, WoundSeal is a good choice. Some blood thinning medicines (including aspirin) or supplements may make it harder to stop bleeding. Even people on such pills can benefit from WoundSeal.

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    N Falls, NY

    Through my readings, I have seen many articles concerning the use of black pepper to stop bleeding. My question is, if black pepper clots the blood on a cut, will it cause blood clots in your veins if consumed? I like pepper but am wondering if taken internally with food, will it cause clots in the veins which may be a problem down the road? Any thoughts or ideas here? Thank you for your time.

    • Terry Graedon

      So far as we know, the action is mostly mechanical–that is, the ground black pepper applied to the cut stops it partly because of its texture. Cayenne pepper and ground sage also work. We have not read that black pepper consumed in food promotes clotting.

  2. Jan
    Dallas TX

    Not long ago, I bit my tongue badly and it wouldn’t stop bleeding. I got a clean washcloth and applied pressure to the bite. It stopped the bleeding, which healed fairly quickly.

  3. steve

    Wow! I never heard of this but sounds like a great tip to keep in mind. Black pepper has another unexpected beneficial use, perhaps not so useful today as it was in decades past. Anyhow, this is the tip I learned back in the 1970’s: black pepper will stop minor engine leaks, to a point. If a large hose is broken, it won’t help at all. But often in old used cars there are hard to locate leaks that cause the engine to over-heat. Every time I tried this, it solved the problem, perhaps for the same reason. My guess is that the pepper clumps and sticks in small holes and expands a bit from the moisture and plugs the hole. So how does it work to stop bleeding, in fact?

  4. Jerri
    Springfield, MO

    Another good remedy is Golden Seal. I keep bandages and a bottle of Golden Seal capsules in my kitchen cupboard to sprinkle on any accidental “cuts”. I simply open a capsule, pour the contents on the bleeding finger or whatever, wrap with an adhesive bandage, and go on about my work. It stops the bleeding, is a wonderful natural antibiotic, and speeds the healing. I accidentally made a deep three corner kitchen shears – cut on my finger this last weekend. Golden Seal to the rescue. It has healed enough in 4 days to take the bandage off.

  5. Patricia

    I was cooking and sliced into the skin on my thumb. It wouldn’t stop bleeding, so I poured black pepper on it and then applied a bandaid. I kept the bandage on for a couple of days and when I took it off, the skin had grown right over the pepper. That was 6 months ago. I now have a lump on my thumb that I keep massaging to try to get the pepper to move out. No luck. I guess I have to see a doctor to cut open the lump and remove the pepper. The moral of my story is to wash the pepper out after the bleeding stops.

  6. Alexander
    New Jersey

    Cayenne pepper worked for me! I got very dip cut below my first finger and could not stop the bleeding. I put cayenne pepper on it. The burning was extremely painful but it stopped the bleeding almost right away.

  7. Carol E

    I am on blood thinner. I have a tendency to bite my tongue or my lip which then bleeds profusely. What can I use to stop that kind of bleeding?

  8. Tim

    I remember 50 years ago my Dad telling me of a man that had a deep cut in his left hand between his thumb and first finger, where the flabby bit is, and he felt a deadening going up his arm, this would have lead to lock jaw and death. He put a load of black pepper on the cut and could then feel life coming back into his arm. Information a little boy never forgot!

  9. Susan
    Pittsburgh, PA

    I cut the tip of my thumb while chopping an onion for dinner. I remember reading some place about using pepper to stop bleeding. Grabbed the shaker, poured some on a spoon and held my thumb in it. Worked like a charm! Didn’t burn at all. Usually a cut on the finger tips tend to be sore for a while afterward… Not in this case! Don’t ask me how, but this really works! Adding pepper to my first aid kit :)

  10. raji

    Awesome awesome. I was bleeding all over the husband was panicking. Browsed and read this remedy. The bleeding which couldnt stop until then stopped immediately.

  11. DBM

    It worked for me! As a cardiac patient I take anticoagulants. I woke in the middle of the night to discover a minor wound on the forearm was bleeding profusely. What to do? Ground black pepper applied to the wound stopped the bleeding almost immediately.

  12. Phelps

    After I cut the skin off the end of my finger (kitchen klutz!), it was still bleeding after an hour of pressure. Dipping it into a pile of ground pepper stopped the bleeding almost immediately. Yes, it did sting a lot, but it did the job.

  13. PP

    Now we know why they have pepper on the outside of roast pork! To keep the juices in!

  14. Lucy's Dad

    Please do not let the negative comment discourage you from trying this truly wonderful home remedy. We have used it for years in our family with very positive results. I have never felt any burning. What’s more, I am convinced it speeds the healing time for the cut. Like any other remedy (home or prescription) it may not work for every single person, but it is definitely worth a try! To find a finely ground pepper, check the spice rack at a well-stocked grocery store.

  15. M

    Black Pepper is great for a minor bleeding cut. I cut my finger on a knife and could not stop the bleeding. Reached in cabinet for the can of black pepper and “piled” it on the cut. Worked like a charm. Stopped the bleeding right away.

  16. Sara Chapman

    Seems like it would hurt quite a bit?

  17. EJS

    DO NOT USE PEPPER TO STOP BLEEDING! Hurts terribly and doesn’t work!!
    My husband cut his finger quite deeply and it didn’t want to stop bleeding. I remembered reading about using black pepper to stop bleeding so we decided to try it. My husband has a very high pain threshold and he went pale when we applied the pepper. The burning was extremely painful – he couldn’t get the pepper off his wound fast enough!! Aside from the terrible burning sensation, the pepper did nothing to slow or stop the bleeding.

  18. JDS

    Where do you find finely ground pepper? I tried it on a cut once as I too keep it in my first aid kit. But the grains were so large (the little packets from McDonalds) that I found it almost impossible to concentrate it on a small area.

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