F is for Ferric Chloride

June 24, 2023

Ferric chloride is a “remedy” that has been used for a long time to stop minor bleeding. It is not necessarily good for the skin.

Ferric chloride, also known as iron(III) chloride, is a chemical compound that is sometimes used in medical settings to help stop bleeding. When applied to a wound, ferric chloride can aid in the process of hemostasis, which is the body’s natural mechanism to control bleeding.

It works by three possible mechanisms:

  1. Coagulation: Ferric chloride promotes coagulation, which is the formation of blood clots. When ferric chloride comes into contact with blood, it interacts with certain proteins and triggers a cascade of reactions that lead to the formation of a clot. The clot helps seal the damaged blood vessels, preventing further bleeding.
  2. Vasoconstriction: Ferric chloride also causes vasoconstriction, which is the narrowing of blood vessels. This constriction reduces blood flow to the injured area, which can help slow down or stop bleeding.
  3. Tissue sealing: Ferric chloride has an astringent effect, which means it can cause the tissues around the wound to contract and seal. This helps close off the blood vessels, reducing bleeding.


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