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Natural Products That Help to Clot Blood and Stop Bleeding

Updated on March 27, 2015
AliciaC profile image

Linda Crampton has an honors degree in biology. She is very interested in the production of medicines from chemicals in nature.

Human Blood Cells

The concave disks are red blood cells. These transport oxygen to our tissue cells. The white objects are a type of white blood cell and fight infections. The small, spiky objects are activated platelets, which help blood to clot when we're wounded.
The concave disks are red blood cells. These transport oxygen to our tissue cells. The white objects are a type of white blood cell and fight infections. The small, spiky objects are activated platelets, which help blood to clot when we're wounded. | Source

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. However, our bodies can’t repair large or serious wounds, such as those that occur in major accidents or in war zones. First aid followed by medical help is needed to treat these problems.

Researchers have discovered that the minerals kaolin and zeolite stop serious bleeding quickly and stimulate the body's blood clotting process. Neither are harmful to the body when they're used in wound treatment. 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. However, one of these 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 traveling to a hospital or waiting for medical treatment.

Blood Cells, or Formed Elements

Platelets are the smallest 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 involved in blood clotting.
Platelets are the smallest 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 involved in blood clotting. | Source

Contents and Functions of Blood

Blood is a vital fluid in our bodies. It transports essential substance to and from our tissue cells. 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. The cells need this oxygen to produce energy. There are also several types of white blood cells In blood. 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. | Source

Blood 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 removed from the body when the blood reaches the right location. 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

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. | Source

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 process are as follows.

  • First, the broken blood vessel constricts, reducing blood loss from the vessel.
  • Next, a platelet plug forms over the wound to temporarily stop blood loss. Platelets are continually circulating in our blood.
  • The platelets become activated, attracting proteins called coagulation factors or clotting 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 blood clot.
  • Within the blood clot the damaged tissue is repaired.
  • Chemicals in the blood stop the blood 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 steps described above.

Hemostasis or Blood Clotting Overview

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. Kaolin consists chiefly of a mineral called kaolinite. Kaolinite is hydrated aluminum silicate. Kaolin also 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 many 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 medication 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 throught the intestinal lining. This may be important information for people taking certain medications.

Kaolin
Kaolin | Source

Kaolin and Blood Clotting

"Hemostasis" is the process of stopping bleeding. Kaolin is well known as a hemostatic agent. It activates the body's blood clotting system soon after being applied to a wound, thereby stopping 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 coagulation 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 start of 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.

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

Kaolin and Hemostasis Reports

The following reports describe the effectiveness of kaolin on homeostasis.

  • A United States Army Report on the successful use of Combat Gauze (which contains kaolin).

Note that the other product mentioned in the above 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.

Hemostasis and the Coagulation Cascade in More Detail

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. The pores in zeolites 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
Zeolite | Source

Zeolite and Hemostasis

Like kaolin, zeolite activates blood clotting and 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. In addition, the Naval Blood Research Laboratory (NBRL) has found that in lab equipment zeolite activates platelets, enabling them to form a platelet plug over the wound.

Zeolite For Treating Wounds - Some Observations

(Scroll down the page on the third link. which is from the Naval Blood Research Laboratory website, in order to see the information about zeolite and platelet activation.)

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

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. A mineral product containing kaolin or zeolite should also be considered for the kit, since these products are very effective at helping blood to clot if direct pressure on the wound isn't sufficient. They also have a good safety record when they're used to treat wounds.

© 2013 Linda Crampton

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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      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.

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

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

    • dilipchandra12 profile image

      Dilip Chandra 4 years ago from India

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

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you for the visit and the comment, dilipchandra12!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

      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

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      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!

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

      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!

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

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

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      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?

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      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.

    • georgescifo profile image

      georgescifo 4 years ago from India

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

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      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.

    • JCielo profile image

      JCielo 4 years ago from England

      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!

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

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

      Eddy.

    • Gypsy48 profile image

      Gypsy48 4 years ago

      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.

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 4 years ago from malang-indonesia

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

      Prasetio

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      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.

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

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

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

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

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

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

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 4 years ago from south Florida

      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?

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

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

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

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

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

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

    • eroller profile image

      Liheng 4 years ago from Shanghai

      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.

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      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.

    • eroller profile image

      Liheng 4 years ago from Shanghai

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

    • eroller profile image

      Liheng 4 years ago from Shanghai

      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.

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for the interesting comments, eroller.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

      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!

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

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

    • Insightful Tiger profile image

      Insightful Tiger 3 years ago

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

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

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

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      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

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

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

    • VioletteRose profile image

      VioletteRose 2 years ago from Chicago

      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.

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

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

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