Using Spider Web to Dress a Wound/Stop Bleeding

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Several cultures ranging from the Egyptians to the Romans and Greeks to the Irish have  medicinal traditions of using the cobwebs of spiders to dress  wounds, finding this arachnid-based injury dressing and band aid material to help wounds to close and blood to clot. These days we know that this is true due to the high vitamin K content of spider webs, which is a known coagulant. [source]

New research indicate that this ancient medical practice may be beneficial to wound healing for other reasons as well; spider silks may possess antimicrobial and hypoallergenic properties which can help protect a cut from infection and speed up its healing time. [source]

Here is one technique taken from from Mother’s Remedies: Over One Thousand Tried and Tested Remedies from Mothers of the United States and Canada by T.J. Ritter, originally published in 1910:

“Make a pad of cobwebs and apply to cut. I have never found anything to equal this remedy.” This simple remedy has been known to save many lives, and can always be obtained. As most housekeepers know; cobwebs are easily found in every home, and perhaps after reading this remedy they will not seem such a pest as heretofore, if we stop to think that at some future date our baby’s life might be saved by using them.

Shakespeare was apparently aware of the medicinal qualities of spider silk, as illustrated in his play A Midsummer Night’s Dream when the character named Bottom said this:

“I shall desire you of more acquaintance, good master cobweb,
If I cut my finger, I shall make bold of you.”

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(Featured photo credit: josef.stuefer / Foter / CC BY)

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