Bruises are common. Children stumble and fall all the time, starting with their first steps. They run, they fall. They play, they get bruises. Most children are rather proud of them, wearing those blue-blacks turning to yellow-purple bruises like a badge of honor! As adults, we are actually too busy to be careful. Some bruises we acquire as grownups are minor, some not so. While, not all hurt can speedily and easily be done away with, for most others there are simple remedies. Running to the chemist or the doctor for every bruise is not such a practical idea. The best thing is to take care of them at home.
But before we delve into the top home remedies for bruises, it is important to understand the various types of bruises—because there are times when a visit to the doctor is warranted!
Types of Bruises Which are Common and a Part of Daily Life:
‘Bruise’ is the term used to identify the effect of any traumatic incident on the skin. Being the largest organ system in the body, the skin’s primary function is protection. So, often it gets caught in the middle and experiences cuts, bumps and blows. Another common cause for bruises is ‘thinning’ of the skin, which is a natural process, occurring when individuals age.
Three Most Common Forms of Bruising are:
1. Subcutaneous bruises (beneath the skin)
2. Intramuscular bruises (underlying muscle)
3. Periosteal bruises (on bones)
Of the three main forms of bruises, subcutaneous bruises are the most effectively remedied at home. Intramuscular bruises, too, to an extent, can be taken care of by individuals with sufficient know-how. Periosteal bruises or bruises, which occur within the bones need medical attention post first-aid and should not be left unattended.
Common Causes of Bruising:
Some of the most common reasons which contribute to bruising are:
1. Blows to the body
2. Bumping on to hard surfaces like a chair, a post etc.
3. Cuts while dealing with sharp objects
4. Bites (mostly animals or insects)
5. Falling, stumbling, tripping
7. Injuries while engaging in sports
8. Accidents on the road
9. Side effects of medicines
Home Remedies of Bruises:
The home remedies for bruises in this article are effective in treating subcutaneous bruises, which affect the superficial layers of the skin. Hematoma and inflammation are the two most common forms of subcutaneous bruising. Hematoma refers to the discoloration of the skin, wherein the capillaries in the underlying layers are injured and the skin turns a range of colors from blue to red, yellow and purple. Inflammation refers to swelling, which may or may not accompany a bruise.
Some of the remedies that can be used for subcutaneous bruising are listed below:
1. Application of Ice Pack on Swelling:
If the skin is inflamed after injury, one can apply an ice pack for fifteen minutes, a minimum of three times a day to reduce the swelling. An ice pack can be made by wrapping an ice cube in a piece of soft cloth. The best method of applying an ice pack is to continuously move it around the bruised area in circular motion, so as not to freeze a vein or increase the pain. Applying an ice cube on a bug sting or insect bite also aids healing, reduces irritation and decreases the inflammation.
2. Application of a Warm Compress:
A warm compress acts on a bruise by inducing the blood flow to that area, speeding up the healing process. This can be used on bruises after the inflammation subsides. A warm compress also releases shock and the pain of the injury. A warm piece of cloth should be steadily moved over the area in a gentle manner while applying the compress.
3. Raw Egg:
Sometimes, bruises feel hot to touch. To reduce the temperature of the injured area, raw egg can be applied effectively. The best way is to directly place the egg yolk on the bruised surface and let it stay for a while. The yolk works most effectively as it is cooler and cleaner.
4. Crushed Parsley:
Parsley, washed and crushed, can be applied on the bruised area of the skin to reduce inflammation. It should be applied at regular intervals until the skin returns to its normal temperature and color.
5. Crushed Ginger:
Ginger is another herb, which works wonders on inflamed skin. Without peeling off the skin, wash the ginger thoroughly, crush it and apply on the swollen surface. Hold it in place with a soft cloth/gauge and plaster. For obtaining the most effective results, this should be left on overnight. Most people, who apply this method, use cold compress during the day to speed up the healing process.
6. Solution of Hot Water and Salt:
Adding plenty of salt to a mug of hot water and applying it on the inflamed skin with a cotton ball (after squeezing the excess water out) is a great way to reduce swelling. This method can only be applied if there are no open wounds on or near the wounded region, as otherwise, the salt on the cut will sting pretty badly.
7. Vanilla Extract:
Applying vanilla extract on a bumped area helps to prevent it from turning blue-black.
8. Vitamin K:
Creams and ointments containing vitamin K are readily available in the market. They come handy for treating cuts. The properties in vitamin K encourage blood clotting and prevent further blood loss.
9. Vinegar and Warm Water Mixture:
Vinegar, when mixed with water, forms an effective solution that increases blood flow and aids the healing process. Applying this mixture on the bruised area allows the blood which has gathered below the skin to circulate and prevents blood spots.
10. Vitamin C and Iron:
A diet rich in iron and vitamin C is essential for the body’s recovery. The properties of these vitamins and minerals facilitate tissue building and recovery.
Papaya works miraculously on bruises caused by insect bites or stings. This fruit contains certain enzymes, which are known to neutralize the venom carried by the insects. The way to treat such bites is to first take out the stinger (if it is lodged in the skin) and place a slice of papaya on the stung surface. It should be kept in place for an hour or so.
12. Onion and Garlic:
Rubbing a slice of onion on a bruised surface is often recommended to reduce inflammation. A crushed clove of garlic is also applied by many individuals for the same purpose and effect.
While most people concerned with healthcare are not huge fans of refined sugar, a little bit of sugar, mixed with a few drops of water, work well on the site of an insect sting. Also, placing a teaspoon of sugar on the tongue or the interiors of the mouth stops blood loss from cuts in the mouth.
14. Witch Hazel:
Witch Hazel is a very popular herb, when it comes to healing contusions and cuts. Applying the extract of this herb heals wounds and reduces swelling. A bath with witch hazel can also greatly induce healing.
One of the most popular home remedies for minor bruises and cuts is arnica. This herb is known to have a great many medicinal properties and should find a place in homes where the members are prone to injuring themselves frequently. Arnica prevents infection, reduces swelling and if applied regularly, speeds up the healing process to a great extent.
How to Know when to Visit a Doctor?
Each of the top 15 home remedies for bruises goes a long way in effectively treating inflammation and hematoma. Some of them even take care of minor cuts, stings and bites. However, sometimes, the effects of an injury may go deeper than the surface inflammation and discoloration of the skin. When pain or swelling persist for over half a week, it is best to have a doctor take a look at the bruise.
Some medications like blood thinners, as well as medical conditions like diabetes may render some natural home remedies for bruises ineffective. Besides, as bruises tend to heal themselves on a healthy body after a fortnight naturally and the entire home remedies act as catalysts to the healing process, it is important to seek medical and professional help, if pain or discomfort persists after some time. In some cases, prolonged inflammation may indicate internal injury or bruising too easily may indicate some pre-existing medical condition.
For bruises which are of a minor nature, home remedies are more often than not enough. The list of the top home remedies for bruises provided in this article is not exhaustive. Throughout ancient history, herbal remedies and alternative treatments for injuries and conditions have been discovered and applied. Awareness is the key to betterment. Stay safe!
What do you do to heal bruises? Share with us in the comments section below.