Last Modified on Dec 10, 2013
What Is a Bruise?
A bruise is a fairly common injury that causes little concern for most individuals. However, bruises are injuries and need to be treated as such. By definition, a bruise is the visible sign of a broken or damaged blood vessel just beneath the skin. The bluish or blackish appearance of a bruise is caused by the blood trapped beneath the skin as the blood vessel bursts and leaks the blood into the tissues under the skin.
Generally bruises present the same symptoms and signs in any individual. Skin sensitivity in the affected area as well as slight discoloration of the bruised area is typical. Likewise, slight swelling in the area is normal. It is also possible to roughly determine the “age” of a bruise by looking at its appearance. A new bruise is usually reddish in color, but after a day or two, the bruise becomes blue or purple. Within six or say days, a bruise generally turns to green and at eight or nine days it is yellowish-brown. Bruises are typically caused by a blow to a part of the body, such as being hit, bumping into something or falling.
Natural Treatments for Bruises
As the skin isn’t actually broken or punctured when a bruise occurs, bandaging the area is unnecessary. Certain measures can be taken to enhance the healing of a bruise, though. An apple cider vinegar compress applied to the bruise area diminishes the bruise, reduces the appearance of the discolored area, and removes the pain. Likewise, arnica gel applied to the bruised area heals the contusion and relieves the pain associated with the injury. Other natural treatments include the application of a black tea bag, a boiled egg, castor oil, and ice to the affected area.
Apple Cider Vinegar
[YEA] 12/31/2010: Kay from St Augustine, Fl/usa: "Thank you earthclinic! I put a paper towell in ACV(Apple Cider Vinegar) and within 24 hrs the bruise was gone. Amazing! Oh, by the way, my knee pain was gone too!"
[YEA] 01/31/2009: Encina from Phoenix, Arizona: "Last night my girlfriend and I had a night we call game night, where we invite all our close friends over to play games and have fun at home. Well, one of our friends got a little too wasted face and decided to start wrestling (very roughly) with my girlfriend until she couldn't move anymore. after she finally got off of her my girlfriend had bruises ALL over. her ankle was the worst of it (couldn't even walk on it). she went to bed because she was in so much pain. I then went onto this website because it's my favorite for home remedies, and I looked up "contusion" and sure enough ACV was the first thing that popped up.
I dipped a paper towel into a small bowl of the ACV until it was wet, but not dripping (remember she was in bed and I didn't want this stuff all over the sheets... it's not a fun smell to get out) i then set the ACV dipped paper towel onto her ankle where it was bruised and extremely swollen. After 5 minutes of the ACV setting directly onto the skin, her throbbing went away. After 10 minutes of the ACV setting directly directly onto the skin her bruises started to subside and lighten. I decided to keep the ACV dipped towel on her ankle for a good 30 minutes before removing and wiping off with a baby wipe to get rid of the smell. this morning she can move her ankle like nothing had happened. she can walk again. IT'S A MIRACLE!!! ;)"
[YEA] 08/04/2005: Carrie from Brooklyn, New York: "I fell, nearly breaking my leg one summer while cleaning the windows. My leg was so sore that I suffered for many months. I started drinking ACV years later. Not for the leg injury in particular, however I noticed my leg had stopped throbbing from that brutal fall. I began to massage my leg and lo and behold the bruised blood began to move and dissolve. The ACV moves blood that is bruised.
Another mishap on the farm caused me to step on a log nail. I hate tetanus shots, I knew they would make me take one if I went to the hospital. My mother also warned me to watch out for 'lockjaw' which is said to come as a result of stepping on rusty nails. I ran into the kitchen foot dripping with blood. I ingested the ACV along with some regular apple juice. The pain was gone by nightfall. Everyone looked and was amazed at the instant recovery. No limping or soreness as a result of ingesting the ACV. This is truly a miracle substance. I cannot overstate the benefits I have heard about from those individuals who have begun to drink ACV on a regular basis, Someone please Call the Doctors and tell them!"
[YEA] 10/21/2011: Mommy V from Washington, D.C., Usa: "This stuff works like a miracle. I wouldn't believe it if I hadn't seen it myself. I recently smashed the distal phalanx (smallest bone) of my pinkie. My fingertip swelled to the size and color of a grape in a matter of minutes. I applied a thin layer of Arnica Cream (which I bought at my local health food store) and literally watched as the swelling and bruising disappeared to almost nothing overnight. I also use Arnica frequently on my toddler boys, the youngest of which manages to incur knots on his forehead at an alarming rate. Same story. Goose eggs all but disappear overnight; swelling and bruising are down to just a small mark. It even works on blood blisters. (My aunt, a Farsi accupuncturist, introduced me to this stuff and I am SO grateful!)"
[YEA] 06/19/2010: Lisa from Socal, Ca: "I had bruise on my leg that was a very dark purple and didn't fade after 1 1/2 weeks. I tried ACV and witch hazel and nothing happened. I bought some Arnica gel at a health food store Wednesday mid day and applied 3-4 times a day by gently rubbing in. By Saturday morning the bruise was barely visible. I could see the bruise fading each day, I've never seen anything quite like it."
[YEA] Carrie from Dallas: "I love arnica gel for sore muscles and also bruising. I tend to bruise easily and found this to be an excellent remedy. I also take extra iron when I am bruised!"
Black Tea Bag
[YEA] 12/16/2010: Jasmine from Chicago, Illinois Usa: "As the mom of a four year old, I've dealt with every type of bump, bruise, pinch, burn and cut imaginable. And for everyone I use one simple remedy. A black tea bag. Any brand will do, but makes sure its good quality and fresh. Great thing about it is, I can slip it in a ziplock back and throw them in my pocket, car or purse and forget about it until an injury occurs. Dunk the tea bag once or twice in hot water if available and blow on it or wave it in the air to get it to cool down. If there is no hot water, hot faucet water works great. And if that's unavailable, just wet it with room temperature water until the liquid coming off of it turns brown. Then apply as a poultice. You may need to wet it again whenever it dries. It takes the pain out, eliminates swelling, and quickens healing.
My daughter is so spoiled with this remedy, she thinks that "owies" are "fixed" by mommy and comes straight to me for any little hurt. If it's in an ackward or large area, throw 3 bags of tea in a hot mug of water for 3-5min, cool it down with ice cubes after and use a rag or paper towel to apply it (be sure you dont like the rag because it will stain). Its important to use this remedy asap. The sooner its applied after the injury, the better and more dramatic the results. After the tea poultice or compress:
(1)if its a nasty bruise, I'll dress it with a thin layer of castor oil and wrap it up.
(2)If its an open cut, I'll dab it with raw honey and cover it with a cartoon bandaid (cartoons optional).
(3)If its a bad burn I'll put the tea poultice over the burn, place a piece of plastic wrap over it and wrap an ace bandage around that. This worked for me on a 2nd and 3rd degree burns I received from a very hot lightbulb. It wouldn't stop stinging until I used the tea. I fell asleep with the ace bandage on, woke up 2-3hrs later with the pain 100% gone and the best part yet, when it healed it didn't scar!
Also, for those lovely times when your child slams there hand in a door or cabinet, I brew the 3 bags in a wide mouth cup, cool it with ice cubes (to a luke warm/cool temp) and have her stick her whole hand in it until she tells me it stopped hurting (usually 5-20min). If it doesnt stop hurting, I would know she may have actually broken something (although thankfully its never been serious). I figured out the black tea bag remedy out of desperation when burning myself years ago on that light bulb. After that, I began experimenting on my own cuts and bruises. Since my daughter was born, its been the best thing I've ever tried, and it has yet to let me down."
[YEA] 05/01/2007: keefe from markham, ontario: "boil an egg and rub it on your bruise it will feel better and will start fading."
[YEA] 03/06/2008: Michelle from Lamora, Mexico: "When you first get bruised, especially around the eye, if you apply some butter over the area then it helps it not to turn blue."Replies
[YEA] 12/18/2010: Christina from Brooklyn, Ny, Usa replies: "I always apply butter (cold) and my children have not had a bruise when in my care after a fall or bump in years!! The best home cure ever known to man kind. I use it on my spouse and myself as well. Mash it with hands and apply. Promise no bruise will appear."
[YEA] 02/22/2007: Staci from Chicago, IL: "If you dab some melted butter on a part of your body that you just bumped or hit hard on anything like a baseball bat or swinging door, it will not turn black. The trick is to do it immediately."
[YEA] 03/17/2010: Soulon from Dittmer, Missouri: "If you've ever been hit by a ball or smashed your finger then "Castor Oil" is your best bet. As soon as the hit or smash occurs, saturate the entire area with Castor oil and leave on. Really lay it on! This has been advice that was given by a medical practitioner some 40 yrs. ago and it works. It will also remove blood blisters, take the swelling down and stop the pain. I was hit in the arm muscle with a zinger grounder and immediately applied my Castor oil. It took out the pain and never swelled and where I did not go down my arm far enough it did bruise, but where I applied the Castor oil it did NOT bruise. It's awesome for toddlers who constantly are falling. Apply ice on top of the Castor oil if you wish, but many times it's unavailable and the oil is handy to carry on you in a small bottle."
[YEA] 12/08/2013: Mama To Many from Tennessee, Usa: "My little boys were roughhousing last night and my two year old ended up hitting his head very hard on the corner of a wooden post in our house. He had a good sized dent in his forehead that was 2-3 inches long and beginning to turn blue in the dent. I held him while he cried and we assessed him and my husband went to find remedies. We started with ice (how they hate that! ) Then we applied a homemade arnica oil (recipe below). Next I gently massaged Geranium Essential oil over the spot and beyond. (I figured it was a bit diluted with the arnica oil. But, Geranium is safe used straight, though I am not quick to use any essential oils straight on little children and babies.)
The ice didn't last on his head more than a minute. Within a few minutes he was up and playing again. 24 hours later, there is a faint light red line where he hit his head. It must not have been noticeable because no one at church today even asked what happened to his head. (And he is fair skinned with a buzz cut...) I am sure without the geranium and/or arnica he would have had a lot of bruising and swelling. I have seen either of these treatments work effectively for serious head bumps. Raw onion works great, too, but I didn't see how I was going to keep a raw onion poultice on a 2 year old's head for any amount of time. Geranium and arnica were very pleasant!
A bottle of Geranium essential oil is a great thing to have on hand. It is good for bumps, bruises, bleeding, depression, insect repellent, acne, skin issues, etc.
We make our own Arnica Oil. It is great for bumps and bruises and also to massage into sore muscles. Here is what we do:
Put dry arnica flowers into a glass canning jar. (4 ounces is plenty.) Cover with a carrier oil. We like Almond Oil. Adding a couple of vanilla beans, if you happen to have any (We usually have some left over from making homemade vanilla extract) will make it smell incredible! Let sit for 2 weeks. Strain out the arnica flowers and the vanilla beans. You can add some vitamin E oil to preserve it, but we go through it pretty fast. Store out of light.
Have a great day!
~Mama to Many~"
07/02/2012: Kp from Tuscany, Italy: "My boyfriend has been getting abnormally shaped bruise-like marks on his skin for the past several weeks, with no previous trauma to the area where he gets them. They appear one at a time and range in size from a blister of a few millimeters to a circular bruise of about 1 inch. Usually the mark will start out as a light red welt that gets darker over the course of a day until it is a dark tan color. Over the next days it will form a blister (without liquid) in the center, then the blister will peel and leave raw pink skin exposed underneath, surrounded by the tan bruise. Some of the marks are more linear and brown, and some are perfectly circular, blue bruises. They don't itch, they don't hurt when they are touched and he doesn't feel them when they start to appear. So far, they have been mostly on his arms and neck, but he also had one on his leg. Other than his skin symptoms he feels totally fine (but totally freaked out). Does anyone know what this could be?? Many thanks to everyone at Earthclinic for this wonderful site!"Replies
07/03/2012: Heather from Leicester replies: "Hi, I think bruising is connected to blood/ spleen. When I am deficient in iron I bruise easily. I can tell you that arnica gel or tablets heal bruising quickly but really you need to take a blood test as there are some serious blood conditions that cause bruising."
[YEA] 10/06/2008: Anna from Philadelphia, PA: "Ice is perfect for bruising! As soon as possible after blunt hit I get anything--usually some veggies--from the freezer and hold it touching the hit place. Usually 10-15 min. I also take homeopathic ARNICA - whatever potencies I have."
[YEA] John from Boston: "I do martial arts and get bruised a lot! I apply an ice pack for 10 minutes on the area that was hit as soon as I get home... and then every 3 - 4 hours. Rarely do I get bruising the next day."
EC: This remedy works on bruises because it constricts the blood vessels, and so less blood spills into the tissues around the injury. If using an ice pack, make sure it is wrapped in a towel to avoid frostbite. Better yet is to use cold water. Ice or chill your bruise for no more than 15 minutes. Allow the skin to warm for 10 minutes, then you can chill again.