Moss, A Wounded Soldier’s Best Friend

May 28th, 2015

Sphagnum moss has been used to dress wounds since ancient times. It has antibiotic properties because it naturally produces an acid and has an amazing ability to hold liquid; about 20 times its own weight. Dried and used to fill a healing pad it can absorb large amounts of bodily fluids (sorry about that, but there’s not many ways to describe it)

Medical staff preferred them; the dressings absorbed more liquid, could be changed less frequently, causing less work for staff, less pain for patients, wounds healed more often and bedding was not soiled so much reducing laundry work too.

England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the USA and Canada all contributed to moss collection and moss collection depots were set up around Britain to distribute it to war hospitals. Derbyshire played its part with moss being collected from the moors. In September 1916, the London Graphic newspaper carried the headline “Are You Collecting Sphagnum Moss?”

By the end of 1916 around 200,000 dressings were produced per month and by 1918, around 1 million per month.