Bruises never seem to pick a good time to show up. If you’re like me, you come from a long line of people who “bruise easily.” As a child, I remember my mom’s legs always being covered in bruises. She was always a bit self-conscious about wearing shorts and skirts in the summertime. Her bruises were caused by anemia, but there are a lot of reasons this happens. Frequent bruising is more common in women than men.
Bruising is a result of injury to tissues beneath the skin. The small capillaries rupture, and blood runs out and pools causing discoloration as it seeps through the skin’s layers. Body parts can become bruised by simply hitting a hard object, or they may be the result of more serious injuries, blood clotting disorders, or even side effects of poor diet, anemia, and medications. There are many situations that cause bruising. Many are minor, but some may point to serious underlying health concerns.
What Causes Bruising?
- People who are malnourished or don’t get enough vital nutrients through their diet are more prone to bruising. Vitamin C deficiency and anemia (low iron in the blood) are common culprits. Other deficiencies that can lead to bruising are vitamin B12, K, and folic acid.
- Blood clotting disorders can thin the walls of blood vessels making them very delicate and susceptible to rupture, leading to frequent bruising.
- Heavy smoking damages the blood vessels and may also lead to frequent and easy bruising.
- Bruising is often a symptom of more serious underlying health conditions including AIDS, cancer, lupus, and kidney or liver disorders. If you are bruising easily and frequently for no known reason, it may be time to seek medical attention.
- Medication side effects from aspirin and blood thinners cause easy bruising.
- Age. Both older people and small children tend to bruise easily because they have less fat beneath the skin to act as padding.
Herbal Remedies for Bruises
There are several herbs that are beneficial for the treatment of frequent bruising. Some can be taken in supplement form and others can be used to create poultices, ointments, or soaks.
- Alfalfa supplies vital nutrients needed for healing. It can be eaten or taken in supplement form.
- Arnica can be found in ointment form and applied topically. Arnica reduces inflammation and swelling. Rub arnica ointment onto the bruise directly twice a day. Do not ingest Arnica.
- Cayenne pepper can be made into a healing salve by mixing 1 part powdered cayenne pepper to 5 parts healing oil like coconut oil. Vaseline can be used, but I am leery of using petroleum-derived products on the skin. I prefer natural. Apply the ointment every other day. Coconut oil is also excellent for skin health.
- Dandelion is a great source of iron. The plants (leaves and roots) can be eaten, made into teas, or you can purchase dandelion in supplement form. This is good for bruises due to anemia or low blood iron.
- Oil of oregano can be applied topically.
- Fresh parsley leaves crushed and applied directly are said to ease discoloration and make the bruise go fade more quickly.
Create a flexible ice bag by adding one part rubbing alcohol to two parts water to a freezer bag. The alcohol prevents the water from freezing fully.
Home Remedies for Bruising
Try the following home remedies to help speed healing or prevent bruising.
- Apply ice immediately after an injury to minimize bruising.
- Soak a sterile cotton ball with witch hazel and apply to the affected area to stop swelling
- White vinegar and water rubbed over the affected area will increase blood flow near the skin’s surface and may help the pooled blood reabsorb or disperse more quickly.
- Reduce discoloration by applying shredded raw potato directly to the injury or bruise for 1 hour.
- Eat an abundance of vitamin C and K rich foods including dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, kale, and fresh fruits.
- Don’t take aspirin or ibuprofen for the pain. They thin the blood and may make the discoloration more prominent.
- Eat a diet abundant in raw foods. The phytonutrients in raw, fresh produce, fruit, nuts, and seeds can reduce frequent bruising and will improve your overall health. Raw foods provide the highest nutritional value.
When Bruising Is More Serious
There are several ways to heal bruises and minimize their appearance. It is important to note that bruises that don’t heal within a week may be a sign of a more serious condition and should be checked by a doctor. Also, if you have multiple bruises appear suddenly and you are not prone to easy bruising, it could point to a more serious condition. Never ignore bruising, and pay attention to what your body is telling you.