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A culture I've been working on has...interesting views on medicine. They divide the physical body into 6 parts, one of them being blood. Long story short, one of their remedies for severe wounds/blood loss is gathering the blood lost and either cooking it into a soup or mixing it with wine. This is then fed back to the injured person. If the blood can't be properly collected for whatever reason, another person might volunteer their own blood.

There's no magic involved, so obviously it wouldn't help, but I'm wondering how bad of an idea it is. I know it's possible to get iron poisoning from blood, but how much would that take? If you're drinking the blood of another person, what illnesses would you be risking? Would these negative effects be bad/common enough for people to realize it's harmful (and not just a result of injury/infection/blood loss)? It's a low fantasy setting, without any advanced medical technology.

  • $\begingroup$ Do the answers to this question provide the information you are looking for: worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/27351/… $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 20, 2023 at 6:49
  • $\begingroup$ I agree with @KerrAvon2055, but I could be convinced to retract the vote. The linked question is asking, fundamentally, if human blood can become a primary source of nutrition. In that regard, there are some serious problems with using human blood. But if you're talking short-term (e.g., blood-based foods) then there might not be an issue. Of course, cooking blood probably removes any medical value it might have (if any). $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Sep 20, 2023 at 13:37
  • $\begingroup$ Yes and no. Animal blood has been consumed for ages, and humans are animals. The actual problem are pathogens, some of which are not destroyed by cooking. The worst are prions, they cause fatal neurodegenerative diseases, and they can survive heat up to 200°C (~ 400°F). There is a slight possibility of introducing such pathogen in the population, and it starts to spread because of the medication. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 20, 2023 at 16:04

1 Answer 1


Human blood has been eaten or drunk both cooked and raw straight from the wound. I've never heard of ill effects from it except a blood feud with the relatives.

Except in one case of a society in Papua New Guinea which ate their dead and contracted a fatal affliction called Kuru, but that was from eating the brains.

  • $\begingroup$ They put the blood back into the patient/victim, so there is little chance of a new infection. If they injected the blood, they might get tetanus, but we eat a bit of dirt without trouble. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 20, 2023 at 8:14

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