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Seaweed stops bleeding

Q. Some time ago, you mentioned that coffee grounds can stop bleeding from cuts. I have another alternative that I learned at a cooking class.

I cut my finger within the first couple of minutes of the class and was bummed that I would have to deal with a bleeding finger for the rest of the day. Then the teacher took some nori (sushi seaweed) and wrapped it around the cut under a bandage. It made the bleeding stop quickly. Since that time, I always keep some nori in a little plastic bag on my kitchen counter and have used the remedy several times.

A. Nori is the name for the dark seaweed used to wrap sushi. This is the first we have heard that it could be helpful in stopping bleeding. Other readers have testified about the benefits of ground black pepper or ground sage, as well as coffee grounds. Thank you for sharing your remedy. You can read more about such kitchen first aid at


Q. You sometimes have questions from people who want a way to stop a headache. I use pure cacao (100 percent or 99 percent, which means no sugar) for migraines and tension headaches.

I've found that half a teaspoon (12 nibs) is sufficient. The dose can be repeated, if necessary.

I love chocolate, but do not eat it except as a medicinal remedy. It works.

A. We appreciate your unusual remedy. Chocolate is frequently listed as a potential migraine trigger, so it is a surprise to learn that unsweetened cacao works so well for you against migraines.

Headache sufferers can react to perfume, cigarette smoke, red wine, the artificial sweetener aspartame or the flavor enhancer MSG. We have listed common triggers in our Guide to Headaches and Migraines, along with natural treatments (such as vitamin B-2, feverfew, butterbur and melatonin) and the pros and cons of medications. Anyone who would like a copy, please send $3 in check or money order with a long (No. 10), stamped (65 cents), self-addressed envelope to: Graedons' People's Pharmacy, No. M-98, P.O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027. It also can be downloaded for $2 from our website:


Q. Have you ever heard that liquid Pepto-Bismol applied topically can help speed acne healing?

A. There is nothing in the scientific literature suggesting that bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol) would be helpful against blemishes. That said, salicylates have been used in topical acne treatments for decades. We have seen testimonials suggesting that putting Pepto-Bismol on the face for several hours can be helpful.

Other unusual acne treatments include spot treatments with Listerine and a mask of milk of magnesia. Leave it on overnight and wash off in the morning.


Q. My grandfather was bayoneted in the stomach in World War I. His comrades left, promising to pick him up later. They did leave some water for him.

He said as he lay there he watched the maggots eating at his dead flesh. When his unit returned, his friends were surprised to find him still alive. He died at age 82.

A. Maggot therapy to remove dead tissue from wounds may date back as far as the Old Testament. French physicians documented its value as early as the 16th century. Just a few months ago, French researchers in Caen and Lyon studied this method of treating wounds and determined that it works faster than conventional treatment (Archives of Dermatology online, Dec. 19, 2011).