Bruises are usually caused by bumping into, or being hit by something. The result is a release of blood from the tiny capillaries under the skin. The characteristic bluish-black mark on the skin lightens in color and eventually fades as the blood is absorbed by the tissues and carried away. The ability to heal quickly from a bruise is dependent upon both a person’s general health and diet, and the form of therapeutic intervention. These subjects are explored in this article, with special emphasis given to the effectiveness of using Solomon’s Seal in some form — tincture, salve or liniment — and formulated with other helpful herbs.
SUSCEPTIBILITY TO BRUISING
Bruising usually occurs as a result of an injury. Athletes, outdoor recreational enthusiasts, and people in vocations that use the body a lot commonly receive bruises. An ankle sprain is often accompanied by bruising. Bruising can also occur spontaneously and is an indication of an allergic reaction, or more serious disease. Some people even bruise more easily than others — an indication of fragile capillaries, poor health or an inability to create collagen.
Research suggests that the leading cause of frequent bruising, or the body’s inability to heal a bruise in a timely manner, is a deficiency in one or more nutrients. The elderly, for example, may be susceptible to bruising because of a generally poor diet. Dieters who have lost a substantial amount of weight are also at risk of developing bruises. The reason is that they have many capillaries that were needed to supply blood to their larger body mass, and now a lesser body mass leaves the extra capillaries exposed.
The remedy to be healthy enough to heal a bruise, or to prevent a serious one is simple: Maintain a diet that supplies certain nutrients, primarily vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, bioflavonoids, and zinc. A daily supplement can do the trick, but it is always better to ingest these nutrients in their raw state in a healthy diet containing fruits and vegetables and nuts.
THE VALUE OF VITAMINS C, E, K, BIOFLAVONOIDS & ZINC
Vitamin C (U.S. RDA: 60mg) helps protect against bruising by strengthening capillary walls. As an antioxidant, it is depleted when the body is trying to rid itself of pollutants, allergens or drugs. A vitamin C deficiency may be caused by several factors:
- Eating too few fruits and vegetables
- Taking drugs which destroys this vitamin
- Long-time stress from illness, frustration or depression
- Smoking (one cigarette can deplete the body of 25 mg of vitamin C)
- Frequent emotional outbursts such as anger
- Exposure to pollutants, allergens or heavy metals
Bioflavonoids that naturally occur in vitamin C (Hesperidin, Citrin, Rutin, Flavones, Flavonals, Calechin and Quercetin) are essential in correcting the tendency toward bruising. In particular, a deficiency in the bioflavonoid Hesperidin (sometimes called vitamin P) has been linked with abnormal capillary weakness.
Vitamin E (U.S. RDA: 30IU) works synergistically with vitamin C to repair tissues.
Foods to take for vitamin E (non-meat, unprocessed): Green vegetables, legumes.
Vitamin K (U.S. RDA: 70-140mg) is made in the intestines, but can be depleted by antibiotics that kill the friendly bacteria that synthesize it. Supplementing your diet with leafy, green vegetables is a good way to add this vitamin to your system. It helps the capillaries heal themselves by sealing the blood leakage. Vitamin K also supports the body’s ability to reabsorb the blood in surrounding tissues, thereby helping fade the bruise and restoring the skin to normal color.
Foods to take for vitamin K (non-meat, unprocessed): Kale, mixed leafy lettuce, spinach, cabbage.
Zinc (U.S. RDA, older children to adults: 8-12mg) is helpful in maintaining healthy connective tissue, and a deficiency can lead to bruising.
Foods to take for Zinc (non-meat, unprocessed): lima beans, chickpeas, split peas, green peas, cashews, pecans, almonds, poached egg.
THE VALUE OF HEALING HERBS
There are several plants that are especially effective in treating bruises. Their therapeutic value has been known and used for thousands of years. As herbalists and wellness practitioners, we have regularly integrated the following herbs into our tinctures, salves and liniment, as discussed later in this article.
St. Johns Wort
The early Greek herbalists considered St. Johns Wort an effective herb for healing wounds. It was used to dress sword cuts in the Middle Ages. Modern analysis of the plant has shown the plant to have antibacterial and astringent properties, both qualities useful in the speedy healing of cuts and wounds. It is very effective in a salve or liniment.
Comfrey is among the oldest herbal remedies for skin problems, used to promote the healing of tissue and bone and reduce swelling, effectively speeding up the healing process. Comfrey’s healing powers have been attributed to its high content of allantoin, a substance that promotes the growth of tissue, bone and cartilage, both externally and internally. It is very useful in a salve or liniment.
Long valued as a folk remedy for bruises and sprains, Arnica has great pain-relieving, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. Although widely used in forms of pills (as a homeopathic) and tinctures, it is best reserved for use on the skin, as in a salve, cream or liniment.
As an anti-inflammatory and vulnerary, it is excellent for bruises, strains, skin inflammations, burns, sunburn, and external wounds that are tender, red, and swollen. Calendula works well in a salve or liniment.
Witch Hazel is an all-purpose anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, and is soothing and cooling. It is an excellent natural herbal carrier for the other herbal ingredients.
Solomon’s Seal (polygonatum biflorum): Works to harmonize, feed, lubricate, and tighten or loosen (as needed) tendons, ligaments, muscles, attachments, and joints. It is a valuable connective tissue anti-inflammatory, and is known to help moderate the symptoms of osteoarthritis, repetitive use injuries, connective tissue damage, and bruising. This “workhorse” herb is excellent in a tincture, salve or liniment.
The 3-Step Method:
Combining a Liniment, Salve & Tincture for Healing of Bruises
When using herbal interventions or products such as a tincture, salve or liniment, we believe that a 3-Step Method is an effective way to address treat bruising and accompanying tissue inflammations, muscle tenderness, or possible joint discomfort. We address this method below, demonstrating the use of our Cortesia Solomon’s Seal tincture, salve and liniment.
Apply Cortesia Quick Relief Linimenttopically several times daily, as needed, in area(s) where pain or discomfort is occurring. Apply morning, afternoon, and evening OR before and after periods of activity and again before bed. This will provide short-term relief so that certain activities are less painful or so that you can get to sleep. It is important to firmly rub the liniment for several minutes to stimulate blood circulation in the effected tissue or joint area. This works very well for arthritic conditions or joint issues to increase flexibility. Of course, use lighter pressure for a sprain, bruise, very sore muscle, or painful area.
Cortesia Quick Relief Liniment ingredients (organic): Witch Hazel, Isopropyl Alcohol, Solomon’s Seal, Comfrey, Calendula, St. John’s Wort, Rosemary, Arnica, Cayenne, Horsetail, Menthol
Apply Cortesia Acute & Chronic Injury Salve (or Cortesia Healing Salve) externally to injured area twice daily, morning and evening (apply after the liniment). Wrap or bandage as needed to protect clothing. This is an important long-term method of healing for bruises, strains, sprains, aches, symptoms of arthritis, damaged muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, etc. It perfectly compliments the liniment.
Cortesia Acute & Chronic Injury Salve ingredients: Solomon’s Seal, Arnica, Calendula, Comfrey, St. John’s Wort, Mullein, Horsetail
Cortesia Healing Salve ingredients: Solomon’s Seal, Bloodroot, Calendula, Chickweed, Prunella, St. John’s Wort, Yarrow, Comfrey, Lemon Balm, Oregon Grape, Plantain, Usnea/Oak Moss
Note: After applying a liniment or salve, it is very useful to simply lay your hand(s) lightly over the affected area for a few minutes. This form of “touch healing therapy” is therapeutic (see our Blog article Solomon’s Seal and the Healing Effects of Touch to understand more). You can feel the warm or cooling sensation of your injury; you can also mentally visualize healing currents.
Consider taking Cortesia Solomon’s Seal Tincture internally several times daily. Solomon’s Seal works to harmonize, feed, lubricate, and tighten or loosen (as needed) tendons, ligaments, muscles, attachments, and joints. It is a valuable connective tissue anti-inflammatory, and is known to help moderate the symptoms of osteoarthritis, repetitive use injuries, and connective tissue damage.
Bruises occur as a matter of life — they are unpreventable. However, we can increase our body’s ability to heal from a bruise by insuring that we have a nutrient-rich diet that supplies us with vitamins C, E, K, bioflavonoids, and Zinc. These nutrients are optimally used by the body if they occur in fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts.
A cold compress upon a bruise is especially soothing. However, the easiest medical intervention is with the use of a therapeutic herb that is often administered as a topical salve/cream, liniment, or tincture. The best salves and liniments have a mixture of herbs that work together synergistically for optimal therapeutic intervention — they penetrate dermal layers for deeper tissue healing, are anti-inflammatory, stimulate healthy blood circulation, and are cooling to sensitive tissues. Although they can be taken alone, when administered together, a liniment, salve, and tincture hasten the healing process.
For further information about our line of Solomon’s Seal products, including tinctures, salves, liniment and tea, please visit: www.onesanctuary.com.
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