Friday, March 6, 2009

The Common Tea Bag and Its Uncommon Usefulness in First Aid

What the...? Have you stumbled upon the wrong blog?

Same blog, more change-ups. For the Blog Improvement Project, Kim suggested mixing up our usual fare. One of the things on the list was a How-To post.

Today I had the incredible pleasure of having an earned day off from work. How I love that concept. For just an extra half hour of work per day, you get an entire day off, every three weeks. Love it.

I got a good writing day in, which included some internet research on methods to treat cuts that my little laundry maid Helen would use in 1840's Van Diemen's Land. I settled upon tea, as it fit seamlessly with the preceding scene where three characters have a rather surreal tea party.

And I realized all the information I just gathered would make a fabulous post for my Blog Improvement Project. Et voila!

The Common Tea Bag and Its Uncommon Usefulness in First Aid

For the purposes of first aid, tea refers to black tea. This is the tea made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis. This includes:

Orange pekoe
Earl Grey
English breakfast
Irish breakfast

Other teas will not work for the purposes of first aid. Teas that will not work include herbal teas and African red bush tea. The tea must be from the tea plant (Camellia sinensis.)

Black tea contains tannin, which acts as an anti-inflammatory agent. It encourages constriction of blood vessels and shrinks swollen tissue.

When my husband had two teeth out this past summer, the bleeding wouldn't stop well past the time described on the sheet with which he was sent home. A call to the dentist had us reaching for a wet tea bag, which he used as a compress. The bleeding finally stopped.

Tea bags are light and flat, very easy to pack into a first aid kit or backpack. In the wild, it can be used dry if necessary but wet is preferred. The blood itself will wet the tea bag, ultimately. Hot water will be impossible in an emergency - cold will work perfectly.

If your dog or cat is bleeding, the tea bag compress is a godsend. It's hard to get an animal to lay quietly when its instinct is to lick the bleeding spot. The tea bag will speed the process of stopping the bleeding.

For swollen, itchy, puffy eyes, place a wet tea bag over each eye for several minutes. This will reduce inflammation, pain and itching.

Wet tea bag compresses are good for bruising and swelling.


Amy Ruttan said...

They are good at getting rid of styes in the eyes. LOL.

Shelley Munro said...

I for one love tea, although we mainly use loose tea these days, teabags are such a nifty invention. I haven't thought of using them for pet firstaid. That's a great idea.

On a limb with Claudia said...

How very cool! I'm amazed at all the ways to do things....

And I admire your diligence with all that research. Wow. wow. wow.

Travis said...

Fascinating. This is the sort of knowledge that gets lost is modern technology. If we were to suddenly lose all our modern medical knowledge, people who understood the healing properties of plants would become quite important.

Wylie Kinson said...

VERY cool post, Julia. I'll have to remember this handy little first aid trick in the future - especially for my kids. A teabag is much less scary than medicine.
And hey - if I only had a teabag with me on Thurday when Sweetness split his forehead open!!

Isabella Snow said...

Wow! I didn't know that!

Kelly Boyce said...

I'll keep that last tip in mind next time I take a softball to the shins. :)

Robin said...

Wet (black) tea bags are also great for canker sores.