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by Gillie Whitewolf

A tendency to bruise can be related to the blood's ability to clot, or may suggest that small blood vessels are thin and easily damaged. People who have a tendency to bruise easily may have a kidney disorder and should seek professional medical diagnosis and treatment. On a lighter note the majority of bruises are more than likely a result of a Mr Bump kind of day, and is simply a healthy body walking into the million and one objects which seem to litter modern-day life. If you're prone to the occasional bumped elbow, stubbed toe or bruised shin you might want to read on and discover how plants can help kiss that black and blue feeling away.

The first thing to reach for when treating a potential bruise is the ice pack or a cold cloth compress, which will soothe the pain and reduce swelling quite rapidly. Ice cold Witch-Hazel is another favourite for that immediate relief, swab it on liberally or soak a cloth in Witch-Hazel and use as a compress.

Lavender has pain-killing and anti-inflammatory properties, it also stimulates the spleen - useful for treating bruises resulting from an accident. If you have some to hand add a few drops of Lavender essential oil to ice cold water, soak a cloth in the water and use as a cooling compress. Other useful essential oils include Chamomile and Black Pepper. Both of these oils are good for treating severe bruising, or bruises resulting from an accident - Black Pepper should only be used well diluted, and with care, as over-use can damage the kidneys.
Rosemary oil is most useful in the latter stages of a bruise [once the bruise has turned a green or yellowish colour], helping to disperse the bruising by stimulating local circulation, draining away the old blood that was released into the surrounding tissues by the original blow.

Arnica "Arnica montana" has been widely used in folk medicine, and is probably best known as an ointment for bruises and sprains. Arnica has anti-inflammatory properties, improves local blood supply and accelerates healing.

An infusion of Comfrey can be cooled and used a compress, resoaking and applying the cloth as it warms up. I personally find this one of the most effective remedies. As well as having an anti-inflammatory action Comfrey contains allantoin, a cell proliferant that helps repair damaged tissue. Infused oil of Comfrey is highly effective in treating sprains and reducing bruising, as is Comfrey Ointment. Comfrey should not be used on dirty wounds, nor should it be used during pregnancy or if breast-feeding.
Catnip can be used in a similar way to Comfrey - as an ointment, compress or poultice for bruises and minor wounds. Culpeper noted that "the juice drunk in wine is good for bruises." Infused Mullein oil is another useful oil for bruises and inflammations.

The long-held folk remedy status of Turmeric "Curcuma longa" has now been supported by clinical trials. Turmeric has been shown to have a 'cortisone-like' action, and studies have suggested that the plant extracts are possibly more effective than many of the orthodox drugs used to treat arthritis, and without the side-effects. In India Turmeric is mixed with honey and used as an external remedy for sprains, bruises and arthritic pains.

A rather curious folk remedy for bruises is to rub the affected area with a thick slice of Raw Onion - which reduces the swelling and soothes the pain. The humble Onion boasts a long list of medicinal actions, being antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, expectorant, antirheumatic, diuretic, and beneficial to the circulation. It even has a long-standing reputation as an aphrodisiac!
A traditional country remedy was to treat the bruised area with ointments or creams made from Daisies or Elder leaves.
Herb Robert "Geranium robertianum" is another traditional remedy for bruises - the fresh leaves being pounded to make a poultice.

People who have a tendency to bruise easily, often with no obvious external cause, should seek professional medical diagnosis and treatment.
The herbal remedies mentioned in this article are not intended to replace professional advice. Any medication you are on should also be taken into consideration - always check with your healthcare professional if you are on prescription drugs before taking herbal remedies.


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