I’m one of those people who bruises just by looking at pointy objects. To top it all off, I’m not the most graceful either, which means I often have at least one bruise on my person at all times. I returned just this last weekend from my honeymoon and man, do we play hard! Snorkeling, hiking, horseback riding, exploring…we did it all in the Caribbean these last 10 days, and I have the bruises to prove it!
I have no less than 8 bruises that have blossomed into some pretty interesting colors on my legs. They’re not pretty and I’m keen on getting rid of them as soon as possible. I’ve already written a post on the best essential oils for bruises, but I wanted to touch on the herbal remedy side of things because herbs are amazing. So read on my friends!
The Best Herbal Remedies for Bruises
Bruising, otherwise known as contusions, are caused when you bump into something (or something hits you) with enough force to break capillaries and damage soft tissue without breaking the skin. Fluid and blood pools around the area which causes the dark coloration that bruises are known for. They can be black, blue, purple, red, yellow, green, or any mix of these. The darker the pigmentation of the bruise, the longer it will take to heal, sometimes up to 12 days or longer. Lighter bruises can heal in just a few days. Discoloration is often accompanied by swelling and pain in the affected area.
At any rate, any type of bruise is an unwelcome blemish especially since spring is here. So how do we accelerate the healing process?
The Best Herbal Remedies for Bruises
1. Ice Pack
So This isn’t herbal per se, but it’s really important. As soon as you can, apply an ice pack to the affected area. I usually do a few minutes with the ice on and a few minutes with the ice off. I do this for the next hour depending on how bad I think the bruise will be. I will then repeat this again every few hours if needed.
The ice pack will help keep the bruise from darkening too much and will alleviate pain and swelling. I use this one.
2. Witch hazel
Witch hazel has potent astringent properties meaning that it tightens and tones tissues. Applying it directly to a bruise will help keep the area drained and lessen discoloration. I like to put a cotton round soaked with witch hazel underneath an ice pack to increase its effectiveness. Apply it several times a day for best results. This is the witch hazel I use.
3. Comfrey Salve
Comfrey has potent skin healing properties that make it a must have in every herbal medicine cabinet. It’s so regenerative, it evens heals broken bones! Using it as a salve (or even as a tincture) on bruises accelerates healing, brings down inflammation, and helps drain stagnant fluids. Apply it to the bruise twice a day for best results. This is my favorite comfrey salve which has more supportive herbs for healing.
4. Cayenne Pepper
If your bruise is really tender, try cayenne pepper! Simply add a pinch to aloe gel, arnica gel, or ointment and mix together. Apply it gently to the bruise until absorbed (you can cover the area with a bandage if you prefer to keep the cayenne on your skin). Cayenne is an amazing pain reliever and anti-inflammatory. It’s warming properties will also help drain fluid from the bruise. This is the cayenne pepper I use.
5. Black Tea Bags
If you don’t have any witch hazel lying around, try applying a chilled black tea bag (that’s already been used for making tea of course), and leave it on for 15-20 minutes. You can also gently apply a cold pack on top of it to enhance its astringent properties. Black tea will help tighten the tissues which lessens pooling and discoloration. This is the black tea I use which you can also get at your local Whole Foods Market.
6. Mullein Flower Oil
Mullein is a potent anti-inflammatory making it perfect for treating bruises. It helps regenerate and restore damaged cells, strengthen veins, and sooth pain. To make mullein oil simply add dried mullein flowers to olive oil. Let the flowers macerate for 4-6 weeks before straining. Bottle and store in a cool dark place. Apply a few drops to bruises twice a day to speed up healing. I get dried mullein flowers here.
7. Arnica Gel
This is always in my herbal first aid kit. Arnica gel is amazing for bringing down inflammation and pain by dilating the capillaries, allowing our body’s natural healing processes to get to work on the damage. Arnica heals bruises faster than any other herbal remedy for bruises I’ve tried. In my personal experience, I have been able to cut the healing time for bruises in half with this remedy alone. To use it, apply the gel several times a day for best results. This is my favorite arnica gel.
8. St. John’s Wort
Most think of St. John’s Wort as an anti-depressant herb, but it’s so much more than that! It has incredible skin healing properties and can be used for soft tissue injuries and nerve pain. It also reduces discomfort during the healing process such as itching. I often use it as an oil and apply it straight to the bruise a few times a day. I get my St. John’s Wort oil here.
I find helichrysum to be most effective as an essential oil, but you can also infuse it in olive oil and apply it to bruises. Helichrysum is known for its powerful healing properties, especially deep tissue injuries and can actually bring deep bruises to the surface. It reduces swelling, skin irritation, and pain associated with bruising. Add one drop of the essential oil to some arnica gel or lotion and apply it to the bruise twice a day. You can get the essential oil here and the dried herb here.
10. Lavender and Cypress Essential Oils
Since everyone should have this essential oil at home, I figured it needs to be in this list so that you can use it! Lavender essential oils is an amazing all around skin healer and is great for treating bruises. It reduces pain and swelling, accelerates healing, and calms YOU as an added benefit. I often mix one drop with arnica gel and apply it to bruises twice a day. I love this lavender essential oil.
- 1. 1 drop lavender essential oil
- 2. 1 drop cypress essential oil
- 3. 1/2tsp arnica gel
- Add the arnica gel to the palm of your hand and then add the essential oils.
- Gently mix together, then apply over bruises.
- This works SO well! For best results, apply this remedy 2 times a day or more until the bruise has disappeared.
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