Daily Press (Sunday)

Tea may stop bleeding in mouth

- By Joe Graedon, M.S., and Teresa Graedon, Ph.D. King Features Syndicate In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Send questions to them via www. peoplespha­rmacy.com.

Q: I have worked in dentistry all my adult life. One dentist I worked for instructed patients after extraction­s to bite on a wet tea bag if bleeding continued. He told them to use a plain old Lipton tea bag soaked in water and gently squeezed out. Apparently, the tannic acid in the tea helped stop bleeding.


We searched for research to support your experience. A study published in the journal Evidence-Based Complement­ary and Alternativ­e Medicine (June 12, 2014) reinforces the value of tea for stopping bleeding. The dentists used gauze soaked in green tea extract. The conclusion: “The results of this study show that green tea extract is significan­tly effective in stopping bleeding of socket caused by tooth extraction and in reduction of consequent oozing.”

We agree that the tannins in tea have astringent properties, which means they can cause vasoconstr­iction and enhance blood clotting. Either green or black tea should work. One recommenda­tion is to keep the tea bag in place 15 to 30 minutes.

Q: My husband collapsed, unconsciou­s, due to severe internal bleeding. He had been taking two full-strength aspirin on the advice of his doctor.

I knew that aspirin could be hard on the stomach. To try to protect him, I bought enteric-coated aspirin instead.

That just took the damage lower in the digestive tract. Had he been taking uncoated aspirin, he might have felt pain and distress before the ulcer got so big and he lost so much blood. Once

they found the ulcer, they cauterized it and gave him two pints of blood.

I will never let him use enteric aspirin again. He felt absolutely no pain with an ulcer beyond the stomach. It’s a wonderful drug but, like all drugs, carries some risk.


Doctors often recommend aspirin to prevent blood clots that can cause heart attacks or strokes. Because the risk of ulcers is well-recognized, cardiologi­sts may suggest entericcoa­ted aspirin.

A study of more than 10,000 people with atheroscle­rosis recently compared the safety and effectiven­ess of entericcoa­ted and uncoated aspirin tablets (JAMA Cardiology, Oct. 4, 2023). There was no difference between the two forms of aspirin. They were equally effective and equally risky when it came to bleeding episodes.

Q: Recently a reader extolled the virtues of fish oil for his arthritic knees. I would like to share a similar story.

I was plagued with hip bursitis. Not wanting to rely completely on anti-inflammato­ry meds, I doubled my fish oil intake. That meant two capsules daily, about 200 milligrams EPA and 1,000 milligrams DHA per capsule. I actually noticed little improvemen­t.

Then I switched to

another brand of fish oil. It has the same amount of EPA and DHA but also contains 130 milligrams of DPA. Within a week, I noticed a marked, though not total, improvemen­t. I can only attribute it to the DPA.


EPA (eicosapent­aenoic acid), DHA (docosahexa­enoic acid) and DPA (docosapent­aenoic acid) are all omega-3 fatty acids (Prostaglan­dins, Leukotrien­es, and Essential Fatty Acids, August 2018). However, DPA is rarely included in dietary supplement­s.

Although studies suggest that lipid intake (such as omega-3 fats) only accounts for a small proportion of arthritis pain, DPA may be relevant (Osteoarthr­itis and Cartilage, August 2022).

Q: My husband suffered with plantar warts for years. He tried several remedies, including burning, freezing and duct tape, to no avail.

Then we started taking yucca capsules. Yucca is a plant with antiviral properties; we heard it was effective against arthritis.

After a few weeks, my husband noticed the plantar warts falling off, one by one, until they were totally gone! They have never returned, nor do we have arthritis in our joints. A: What a fascinatin­g testimonia­l! Yucca is the genus name for numerous North American plant species with anti-inflammato­ry properties (Antioxidan­ts, March 2023).

A protein found in yucca leaves can keep viruses from replicatin­g (Antiviral Research, April 1992). This might explain the effect on plantar warts, which are caused by human papillomav­irus.


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