Just about all of us have the occasional bumps and mishaps which lead to bruises, and some of us are more prone to bruises than others. Bruise prone or not, there are several natural ways to prevent and help heal bruises.
Bruises, sometimes referred to as contusions, are a type of relatively minor hematoma of tissue where trauma ruptures tiny capillaries under the skin and leaves the area darkened. Research has shown that the leading cause of frequent bruising is a deficiency in one or more nutrients.
Dieters who have lost a great deal of weight are among those who have a higher risk of developing bruises due to having many exposed capillaries that were once needed to supply blood to a larger body which is no longer there. Due to a generally poor diet, the elderly are also more susceptible to having bruises.
The main nutritional deficiencies that can lead to increased bruising are in vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, bioflavonoids and zinc. In addition, a deficiency in the bioflavanoid hesperidin (sometimes called vitamin P) has been linked with abnormal capillary weakness.
In addition to the above nutrients, bioflavanoids including citrin, rutin, flavones, flavonals, calechin and quercetin have all been found to be extremely valuable in correcting a tendency toward bruising. Thus a good way to decrease the tendency to bruise easily is to consume foods which are rich in those nutrients as well as supplement them when needed.
When you get a bruise, in addition to applying a cold compress (like an icepack or a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel) to the area for about 20 minutes to reduce swelling, you can also use natural remedies to help speed up the healing.
One excellent remedy is bromelain, a natural compound found in the pineapple plant. Bromelain has been proven to help bruises heal in a fraction of the normal time.
Lavender essential oil applied as soon as possible to an injured area is reported to prevent bruising in most instances.
Another top item is the homeopathic favorite arnica. Many experts say this popular homeopathic muscle soreness remedy is a best bet for minimizing bruises and healing them fast. As soon as a bump occurs or you notice a swelling or discoloration, gently rub a bit of arnica cream on it. Arnica shrinks inflammation and increases circulation to flush away the stagnant blood causing skin discoloration.
Raw or roasted onions cut in half can also be effective against bruises. For even more effectiveness, dip the onion in apple cider vinegar before rubbing it on the bruised area.
Other suggestions that use what you have on hand are:
Aloe Vera: Use the fresh juice from the fleshy inner part of the leaf and apply. Aloe has many healing properties, such as preventing infection, so you can apply it to minor skin irritations and small wounds to speed up healing.
Apple cider vinegar: Apply and rub in apple cider vinegar (preferably organic unfiltered apple cider vinegar) to the bruised area.
Butter: Apply butter (not margarine!) immediately after getting bruised.
Cabbage: For facial bruises, take large outer leaves of white cabbage, break the ridges of the leaves and dip them into very hot water. Then apply to the bruise when they have cooled slightly and are not scalding hot.
Fenugreek: To make a poultice, put 1/2 ounce of crushed fenugreek seeds in a small cloth bag and boil it in water for a few minutes. Remove the bag and apply the tea water to the area. Make it as hot as you can stand it (but make sure it’s not scalding the skin).
Garden Thyme: Put the green plant parts in water and boil them for three to four minutes. Cover the pot and leave it for another two to three minutes. Strain the mixture, and add the decoction to your bath water. Soak in it as you would normally.
St. John’s Wort: Put 10 to 15 drops of St. John’s Wort Oil in water and apply the mixture to the area.
Vitamin K cream: Rub a cream with vitamin K on the bruise twice a day. Vitamin K will aid your body in breaking down blood and reabsorbing it and the act of rubbing helps speed the process.
Witch hazel: A tincture of witch hazel will relieve swelling and bruises. Apply as a cool compress.