Bruises, known medically as contusions, form when blood vessels break. Blood pools under the skin causing it to become red, dark purple, or blue within a few hours. The closer to the surface the damaged capillaries are, the more intense the discoloration. Swelling and pain are often associated with bruises. These symptoms can last for weeks but some home remedies might help speed the healing time.
Ice causes blood vessels to constrict, preventing additional blood from seeping beneath the skin. Not only does applying an ice pack slow discoloration or stop it completely, but it can also ease pain and swelling. Remember to never apply ice directly to the skin — always wrap packs in a cloth and do not place on the bruised area for longer than 15 minutes.
Herbal Tea Compress
Take the cold compress to a new level by soaking a cloth in cooled chamomile and lavender tea. The compounds in these teas can help reduce swelling and alleviate pain thanks to the anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Repeat the application every few hours.
Arnica or wolf’s bane is a perfect at-home remedy for injuries because it decreases inflammation, alleviates pain, and is believed to promote circulation. It is available as a gel or tincture which can be applied directly to the bruise a few times each day. Though both gels and tinctures are likely to be diluted, avoid putting them on any broken skin as this could irritate the injury.
You can rub a vitamin K cream on the bruise twice daily, consume foods high in this nutrient such as green leafy vegetables and fish, or take a supplement. The blood-clotting properties of this vitamin can reduce the severity of a bruise. Avoid this treatment method if you take blood thinners because vitamin K can interfere with them.
Pineapples are chock-full of a protein-digesting enzyme called bromelain. This compound not only helps with the bruises on the skin but can even help heal bone bruises thanks to its strong anti-inflammatory traits. If a doctor gives you the go-ahead, take bromelain supplements until the swelling, discoloration, and pain subside. Eating more pineapple can also increase your intake of this healing enzyme.
Comfrey is a traditional at-home remedy for bruises. Use chilled comfrey tea as a cold compress then continue the recovery process with the heated version. Just stir one tablespoon of dried comfrey herb into one and a quarter cups of hot water for about 15 minutes before creating the compress.
Regardless of what is used to make a hot compress, the heat can help speed the healing of a bruise, especially when applied a few days after the injury. Heat improves circulation and dilates the vessels, and a warm hot water bottle or cloth soaked in warm water is enough. A heating pad can also be used as a warm compress, but be sure to wait a few days before using it.
St. John’s Wort
The anti-inflammatory properties of St. John’s wort oil can both assist with healing a bruise and offer pain relief. Simply apply the oil to the bruised area several times a day until the bruise has disappeared. Drinking a tea made by steeping two tablespoons of dried St. John’s word in a cup of hot water for 20 minutes can also help. Be sure to look into adverse interactions if you take any medications because the herb can react badly with anxiety drugs and others.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has a plethora of at-home uses thanks to its natural anti-inflammatory capabilities. Soaking a cloth in a mixture of water and ACV makes a healing compress. Another, rather odd, option is to soak an onion in the vinegar and apply it to the bruise. Together, these items can soothe pain and inflammation. Only use these methods if the skin is unbroken.
Numerous essential oils can increase circulation and help disperse the pooled blood that creates a bruise. To make a healing oil blend, combine five drops of calendula oil, two drops of fennel oil, one drop of cypress oil, and four teaspoons of grapeseed oil. Rub the concoction on the bruise once a day.