The Preppers Plant-Based Medicine Project. No 2: Styptic Powder.

A herbal powder to help staunch blood flow, from an injury

We thought it would be an important part of a medicine kit to have a remedy to help staunch the flow of blood. This would be in the event of a nasty cut or wound and in a situation where there is no medical assistance!

We have come up with a Styptic Powder made from our native fungi and herbs.

In a lot of the woods local to us we are seeing Scarlet Elf Cups (Sarcoscypha coccinea) a beautiful bright red fungi. This is an edible fungi, and very pretty used as a garnish -if you would like to know more about using it for culinary uses there is plenty of information online!

When walking in the woods the colour is amazing and you cant help but notice it.

We were interested if it had any other uses and started thinking about the old herbal system called The Doctrine of Signatures.

The belief being that ‘God’ had left a clue to a herbs use. It could be its colour… flower or maybe it’s leaf shape.

Whatever the signifier be, it usually indicated or suggested a possible use to help heal a body part or system.

We immediately thought of blood because of its the fungi’s scarlet colour, and weirdly it’s cup shape.

After doing some research we found that it has been used by some Native American tribes as a styptic and wound healer! It was used most notably for new born babies freshly severed umbilical cord. Unfortunately though, there was very little else we could find on this fungi’s medicinal properties.

But with the recent research into medical uses of fungi, their health benefits and antimicrobial actions (and from knowing this mushroom is safe because it is edible) we decided to use it in our recipe.

We also included The Birch Polypore fungus (Piptoporus betulina) as we knew the fresh fungi can be sliced and used as a band aid! It also has many medicinal health benefits. We are still finding a few of these brackets in our local woods.

We used some left over powdered comfrey root from our first medicine in the Preppers Plant-Based Medicine Kit: comfrey root plaster.

The final herb we used in our remedy is Yarrow (achillea millefollium).

Some of the old names for Yarrow are Nose bleed, Carpenters weed, Bloodwort, Staunchweed and Soldiers Woundwort amongst many others – these are obvious clues to its use over the years.

Yarrow’s medicinal actions include being astringent, vulnerary and styptic. So, tightening of the tissues, wound healing, and stopping or slowing blood flow.

The two fungi, Comfrey root and Yarrow were gently dried in a dehydrator.

We then powdered it to as fine a powder as we could manage without blowing up our spice grinder – we need to get a more powerful one haha!

The Elf cups and Yarrow and Comfrey were easy but the Birch Polypore was a lot harder to powder. It ended up becoming a very fluffy fiberous consistency…

Almost spongy.

We decided this was okay and looked very absorbant. It was very similar to raw cotton!

The four were mixed together and put into a small jar.

Some of our research has shown us that a number of cultures have used dried and powdered fungi as a styptic to staunch blood flow and it has obviously been affective.

We were really pleased with how this powder turned out we are excited to use it but hope we dont have the need to use it any time soon!

As always, please do your own research and solid identification before you go out foraging or making your own herbal medicines.

The Plant Path Folk x

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