I hate the sight of blood. When I am donating blood, I close my eyes because the sight of blood flowing from my body to the blood bottle may make me faint. In 1985, I almost ran over the edge when, in the middle of the night, a woman had a baby right by the gate of my house. She was the wife of the younger brother of the husband of my cousin, Mrs Grace Bisi Olanrewaju. The pregnant woman was in labour and was being driven in a car from shomolu to a hospital in Ikeja, Lagos. The car broke down about 200 meters from my house, and she and her husband had to walk down, hoping to ask me for a car. As I was opening the gate to let them in before I got the car keys, the baby came down, crying. All the men around fled a few meters before they knew they shouldn’t. I, too, forgot momentarily that there was a clinic two houses away. But by the 1990s, when I began to bleed from the anus after poop, I had straightened up. When would I flee from myself?
This experience opened my eyes to the fact of bleeding and to some of the herbal remedies which may help to control or stop it. These may include apple cider vinegar, vitamin k and vitamin k-rich food supplements and herbs, chanka piedra, shepherd’s purse, nimosa pudica, pawpaw (papaya leaf), ashoka, horsetail, silica and other silica containing herbs, as well as other astringent herbs. Rutin, a member of the bioflavinoid family, is especially well known for stopping bleeding into the eye from tiny blood vessels which may have been broken or have lost the integrity of their connective tissue by firming them up or tightening the loosened nuts and bolts as it were.
Bioflavonoids Keep good company with vitamin c, helping each other to work better and protecting each other against damage. In fact, vitamin c deficiency is well associated with bleeding. In severe deficiency cases, internal bleeding of all sorts may have occurred before, finally, this problem expresses itself in soft and bleeding gums. In 1642 or thereabout, Dr James Lind solved the problem of scurvy, as thos condition is called, among long distance travelling British sailors by introducing lime juice to their diet. About 300 years later in the last century, the compounds which performed the magic, as it were discovered to be vitamin c and bioflavinoids.
There is no part of the body which may not bleed. Blood vessels may burst in the brain, causing a stroke. If no burst occurs, there may be minor leakages if blood vessels are weak. In the eyes, the wet form of retinitis Pigmentosa may be the bleeding problem. Nose bleeds are common. Where an infection may not be the cause, elevated blood pressure may have overwhelmed one of the blood vessels, caused a crack in its wall or burst it outright. Bleeding gums are a familiar occurrence. Chronic infection may be at play. Immune deficiency has been implicated in some cases. When the toothbrush causes bruising and bleeding, scurvy may not be too far away. It is a condition in which vitamin c has been so grossly unavailable to the internal organs that they may have been bleeding in secret before the gums yield ground, thereby inviting attention to what may have been going on in the world within. Women tend to bleed more than men. They may bleed from ovarian cysts right down the fallopian tubes down to the uterus and from there outdoor through the cervix and vagina. Uterine fibroid bleeding is frequent. When infected with bacteria as in vaginitis etc, the vagina, too, may bleed . Cancer may strike in any member of this reproductive system family. There have been cases in which the lungs and the liver bleed. Tuberculosis may damage the air sacs of the lungs and cause productive cough, the sputum, phlegm or mucus of which may be mixed with blood. Sometimes, blood may be discovered in vomit and traced to the liver or to the stomach where an ulcer may be bleeding. Duodenal ulcers are popular. Even more common nowadays is OCCULT BLOOD. This is blood not readily seen in the stool by the unaided eye. It comes from far up in the intestinal tract which may be about 26 feet long. There may be one or more ulcerated and bleeding sites. People who experience this condition sometimes complain about digestive problems. They do not evacuate regularly, freely or normally. In many of them, the stool may come as pellets or like a goat’s, rather than being well formed or shaped like the banana. Some people complain of a hooking. The food they had eaten for days appear to hang up somewhere. Any little food they eat does not appear to travel down and they easily feel full and bloated. In some cases, this situation presents pain. In KUSA GREEN PASTURE HERBS chat group last week, an 82 year old man shared his experience with members who number about 400. One woman was going through a similar experience and he kindly agreed to chat with her and other members. He is Mr S.k OYE-IGBEMO, one time general manager(finance and accounts) of the federal mortgage bank. He went through scans and colonoscopy and he saw, live on camera, the bleeding sites of his intestine. According to many authorities, this may be accompanied by inflammation of the colon, a condition medically known as ulcerative colitis, that is a colon which is inflamed and ulcerated at the same time. This may lead to a dangerous situation if the site gets infected with candida, a fungus. A cancer may result from this invasion. Mr S.K oye-igbemo did not wish to have corrective surgery. He had seen how such intervention changed the life of one of his friends. Surgical intervention may remove damaged section of the intestine and join the other loose ends together. When this happens, the food nutrients absorbed by the removed section may become unavailable to the body. Unavailability may cause nutrient deficiencies which may express themselves as disease symptoms unless those nutrients are made available sublingually, that is provided in special formulations that can be absorbed directly from under the tongue, or by injection. He was advised to try natural solutions for about three months and the surgery proposed by his doctor was postponed to beyond that time, accordingly. Mr Oye-igbemo adopted an aggressive therapy which included liquid chlorophyll, pau d’Arco, golden seal root, zinc, curcumin 2000x, Alkaline vitamin c with bioflavonoids, grape seed extract etc. When he turned up at the doctor’s three months later for a review of his condition pre surgery all the ulcers had healed and his bowel motions had normalised. He had no need for the surgery. We thank him on the chat platform for sharing his experiences. For we live in a country where many people are so good at TAKING from creation but are too poor at GIVING something in return. Yet, we all have learned that it is better to give than to take because when we give, we receive more.
I have seen worse cases than Mr Oye-igbemo’s who were as lucky. One man in England who was my classmate in high school, and who suffered from bleeding colon cancer wore pampers to Nigeria. Today, he is a free man. He combined chemotherapy with his naturals. I have not sighted the second man for about 40 years. He was on chemo for the same condition. We communicated onvwasap or on phone. He added naturals and has been pronounced off the hook as well. Another man in England was not so lucky. He, too, had been on chemo. His wife often telephoned from London and combed almost every health food store for his herbals. Their church in ilupeju, Lagos, was of tremendous help to help to their budget. By the next review after he began to take CALAMUS ROOT etc, his doctors said the colon cancer shrank by as much as 25 percent. It shrank again by the next review. Then, he put pressure on his wife and doctors that he wished to come home for a while. Who could blame him? He had been abroad for more than one year, and his wife had emptied the fridge of all carbonated drinks and beef and poultry. Who could blame him, a big boy and ubiquitous socialite had become caged in a tiny London flat they shared with another family for more than one year. I yielded to his request, unknown to us that he would break a promise to not lapse into old dietary habits which had given way to antioxidant foods and juices. He died soon after arriving in Nigeria.
Another Nigerian who came home to refill on home foods did well in three months. The rectal bleeding of colon cancer stopped, and the defecation had improved to near normal. This person rejected chemotherapy.
I was a lucky man in the 1990s when I experienced rectal bleeding. It did not come everyday, though. But it was always always rich, red blood. I marked the dates I saw blood on the tissue paper on a calendar I hung on the back of my toilet door, I marked a number of times I saw blood. Sometimes, the markings showed appearances twice or thrice in a month. Then, I used to enjoy red wine. I could gulp a bottle at a party. I noticed the bleeding came after each drinking bout. Sometimes, the markings showed appearances twice or thrice in one month. But I was unafraid. I went over Maria Treben’s HELP THROUGH GOD’S PHARMACY, a number of times as I did David Hoffman’s holistic herbal. CALAMUS ROOT was my lead arsenal in the warhead of herbs. I declined to take barium meal or have an x-ray done. I said to myself that a cancer would be the worse case scenario. If there was no cancer, then such other possible conditions as internal bleeding pile, diverticular or polyps or would be good news and easy walk-overs. In a few months, the bleeding stopped.
We cannot address all bleeding scenarios. Massive bleeding from the eyes, nose, ears, mouth and other openings of the body may be combated with pawpaw leaf juice which has been shown to support rapid production of platelet blood cells. It proves useful in dengue fever, which resembles the massive hemorrhaging of Ebola fever. In men, urine mixed with blood may be the consequence of bilhaziasis, an infection of the urinary bladder, or prostate gland cancer. In rather case, there are herbs which may support whatever other form of intervention is preferred. Dr H.C.A Vogel reports in his THE NATURE DOCTOR that a hemophiliac caused anxiety in a theatre when she began to bleed. But thankfully, surgeons had heeded a lay person’s advice to get a live chicken ready, kill it and place the warm flesh on the bleeding spot. It arrested the bleeding, he says.
He speaks eloquently about how vitamin A helps to prevent bleeding. Before this insight, he had cited experiments in which some animals were deprived vitamin A in their diet. They all developed kidney stones. But when vitamin A was added to the diet, they eliminated the stones. He added:
“Other symptoms of vitamin A deficiency are bleeding gums …and blue red spots in the skin which occur when blood seeps into the tissues as a result of leaking blood vessels caused by the deficiency. These undesirable blue red spots show up mainly in the leg where the y can eventually turn into ulcer”…In some cases, frequent nose bleeds are experienced or existing piles begin to bleed slightly. These symptoms are often accompanied by cardiac insufficiency. Dr Vogel did not forget to mention vitamin c and fruits such as lemon and pure bark extract.
Flavonoids and bioflavonoids
These are also called the ” water colour of life”. They give plants their varied deep colours. Since their discovery in 1936, about 4,000 flavonoids have been discovered. The biologically active ones among them are called bioflavonoids. These include quercitin, rutin, hesperidin, genistein, biaicalin, pycnogenol, catechin and bioflavonoids complex, according to Shari Lieberman, a clinical nutritionist in New York, and Nancy Bruning, professional writer on health, fitness and the environment in their book, THE REAL VITAMIN AND MINERAL BOOK. They say flavonoids are anti oxidant, anti viral, anti cancer, anti inflammatory and mildly and safely estrogenic, being Phytoestrogens.
The authors say: “Human trials have shown that these flavonoids can prevent peripheral hemorrhage, swelling of the legs, due to water retention, diabetic retinopathy, and high blood pressure. Researchers have also reported success in using these substances to treat varicose veins, leg cramps and other problems arising from insufficient blood flow”.
Ashoka (saraca indica)
If you have seen egometrine, the pharmaceutical drug, at-work to stop uterine bleeding you should appreciate ashoka, the Hindu herb which is said to do it as well if not even better. H.K Bakhru says of Ashoka in his HERBS THAT HEAL:
“The bark is prescribed in ayurvedic medicine for arresting bleeding or secretion and as a uterine sedative. It is said to have a stimulating effect on the endometrium, that is the mucus membrane lining, the uterus and on the ovarian tissues. The bark of the tree is effective for excessive blood loss during menstruation due to the presence of uterine fibroids, leucorrhea and other causes. It can be used as a substitute for ergot, a kind of dry fungus used in medicine in the treatment of uterine hemorrhages”.
Bakhru says a decoction of ashoka is also effective in dysentry, diabetics, piles.
Robert Lister informed us in his KAMPO MEDICINE BOOK: “shepherd’s purse stops bleeding through the action of a plant that acts like the hormone oxytocin. Oxytocin stimulates the constriction of the smooth muscles that surround blood vessels, especially those in the uterus which prevent too much blood from entering the uterus lining. It compliments kampo therapies used to stop the bleeding of heavy periods or nose bleed”.
Clove and others.
We cannot talk about bleeding gums and tooth ache which sometimes accompany it without acknowledging clove oil. A few drops in water used for gargling may be enough to stop the rot. Someone boasted to me recently that she had discovered from a Nigerian hinterland herbalist a wonderful remedy for sore and bleeding gums, tooth ache and mouth odour. The plant bark is not well ground to fine powder. I didn’t need tooth paste brushing for three days on while on the sample I tried. I noticed that a pain in one of the molar teeth disappeared, indeed. Rinsing with the water extract at night, my mouth stayed fresh next morning and all day without toothpaste and brush. In any case, I have given up the brush for about three years now on the advice of a dentist who said my gums were receeding. I had gum boils a few years ago. Without my realising it, stress had robbed me of lots of vitamin c, calcium and other minerals. I woke up to reality when my gums began to bleed, some of my teeth shook in their sockets and I lost one of them. This local recipe may become another permanent feature in my herbal medicine chest, if it lives up to its billing.
Time and space can never be enough for an interesting subject such as this. We should soon find the time to talk more about it.
The following remedies, in some cases derived from the personal experiences of the author or other people, or based on information from the review of natural medicine literature, are by no means prescriptive or exhaustive or intended to discourage consultation with the reader's personal or family doctors, but intended, nevertheless, to acquaint readers with the principles of natural and healthful living.