The other day when I posted the contents of an EDC (every day carry) survival kit, frequent commenter Dave Sears mentioned Super Glue as something he would include in such a kit. As he says, Super Glue has many uses, including sealing a cut closed or re-installing a loosened crown on a tooth.
On another blog I frequent, Paul at the Urban Survivalist mentioned that he followed the advice in my book and went out and purchased himself a machete. He promptly sliced open his finger with it, as happens all to often with this wickedly-dangerous tool if you are not 100% cognizant of where the edge is every moment you have one out of its sheath. I felt bad that he got cut with something I recommended, but I've done it myself as well. And I once took a fellow member of a survey crew to the emergency room after he nearly whacked off his index finger with one while trying to split the end of a stake he was holding upright with the other hand.
But back to the topic here. If you spend enough time outdoors doing anything with machetes, axes, hatches, knives or even chainsaws, you're bound to get cut at some point. Many years ago I learned an old woodsman's trick from a backwoods kinda gal who's father was a logger that had cut himself severely more than once while working alone deep in the woods with no proper first aid kit.
I had scored a piece of glass with a glass cutter and placed it on the edge of my outdoor workbench to snap it off by pressing down with considerable force. It snapped alright, but when it did, my wrist went across the edge and the blood started pouring. At first I thought I had hit an artery, but it wasn't nearly that bad - just a long, clean cut that let the blood flow freely and looked like it would require stitches to stop it. But this person referred to above knew what to do, and ran away for a moment to a grove of pine trees nearby, quickly returning with a big gob of sticky, amber-colored resin which she pressed onto my wrist directly over the still pouring cut. To my amazement, though the blood mixed with the messy pine sap, the bleeding stopped, as there was no way for it to get through this tenacious mess. Anyone who has ever inadvertently put their hand in a patch of this stuff while passing a pine tree knows how hard it is to get off.
I was worried that it might be harmful, but she assured me that it would not only stop the bleeding, but heal the wound. She told me how her father had used in once after a deep cut with a chainsaw that went into his thigh almost to the bone. I decided to experiment and test it out, leaving the resin on my wrist until it dried out enough to peel off. When it did finally all come off, to my amazement, the cut was cleanly sealed without scabbing. Eventually it healed with hardly a trace, much less conspicuous than another glass cut I had on a finger years before that I had sewn up with stitches in an emergency room.
I did a little searching around and found other references to pine sap's usefulness in sealing wounds. Apparently it has anti-fungal and antibacterial properties, and is safe to use in this application, as well as for more obvious uses like making pitch glue. Here is a discussion thread about it on the BushcraftUSA forums that you may find of interest. The discussion gets more interesting on page 2:
You won't find fresh pine sap on every tree, even in a pine forest, but since that incident, whenever I make camp in the woods and there are pine trees around, I make a mental note of any particular trees in the area that are oozing sap - just in case.