Smorgasbord Health – A-Z of common conditions – Bruising.

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There will not be many of us who have not knocked some part of our body and seen a bruise appear the next hour or so.  When we bang into something harder than the skin’s surface we damage the very small blood vessels. This causes a discolouration of the skin in varying shades of blue and green and sometimes purple along with a tenderness to the touch. Usually both the pain and the bruise disappear after a few days as the blood vessels repair beneath the skin. As they heal the colour will change to red.. green and yellow as the blood is absorbed back into the body.


For these occasional bangs and wallops that result in bruises there is little reason for concern and the discomfort can be eased with the application of something that is always in my medicine cabinet.

Arnica also known as Leopard’s Bane and Sneezwort is a herb that has been used for centuries as a treatment for bruises, inflammation such as sprains and acne. To be honest their is as usual very little scientific research into arnica and its properties but I have used it on bruises for many years and I do believe that it speeds up the healing process and reduces some of the discomfort.

It is used in the form of a tincture which is the concentrated herb diluted with fluid which is alcohol (acidic herbs) or if a resin such as balsam you would use a water and alcohol mix.. You would then leave the concoction for about three weeks before using..Thankfully, you can buy the tincture ready prepared in most health food shops.

N.B  There are few interactions reported but I do suggest that if you are pregnant that you do not use any herbal remedies, even topical ones without a qualified herbalist.. Also if you notice a reaction or rash after use, wash off immediately.

One very simply if chilly method to decrease inflammation and pain is to apply ice immediately.  If possible keep the bruised area elevated to decrease blood flow to the damaged site and inflammation.

Lavender oil has also been used on the continent. Make a soft compress with a pad for the lavender. Gently bandage in place and leave on for 24 hours.

The other medicine cupboard staple is Witch Hazel.. again available in pharmacies and health food shops. Rub into the bruised area three or four times a day.

Other reasons for bruising.

If you find that you bruise easily and particularly in areas that you feel you have not damaged then you should visit a doctor.  It could be as simple as a Vitamin C deficiency but it could be an indication of a more serious condition. Including leukemia and other blood disorders, diabetes and certain medications that have a blood thinning property such as aspirin or wafarin. It can also be the result of taking cortisone medicaion.

As our skin becomes thinner as we age, bruising becomes more common.. The bruises tend to be purple in colour and take far longer to dissipate if at all.

Diet to develop a thicker skin!!

It is important to have a balanced diet but Vitamin C plays a vital role in many organs of the body including our skin which is the largest waste organ of the body.

VITAMIN C: ASCORBIC ACID; An antioxidant that protects LDL cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein) from oxidative damage, leading to hardening of the arteries. May also protect against heart disease reducing the hardening of arteries and the tendency of platelets to clump together blocking them. Vitamin C is necessary to form collagen, which acts like glue strengthening parts of the body such as muscles and blood vessels. It aids with healing and is a natural anti-histamine.


It is essential for the action of the Immune system and plays a part in the actions of the white blood cells and anti-bodies. It protects other antioxidants A and E from free radical damage and is involved in the production of some adrenal hormones. It is water soluble and found in all fruit and vegetables with best sources being Blackcurrants, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, cherries, grapefruits, guavas, kiwi fruit, lemons, parsley, peppers, rosehips, potatoes, tomatoes and watercress.

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You will find the other common conditions in this directory:

Thank you for dropping by and please feel free to share.. thanks Sally