A bruise is an injury caused by a blow or a bump that does not cut the skin but breaks blood vessels underneath the skin. Blood seeps out of these vessels, producing the tell- tale black-and-blue discoloration, as well as swelling and soreness.
The deeper the bruise, or contusion, the longer it will take to heal. Leg bruises, for instance, can linger for up to four weeks because leg vessels have greater blood pres- sure than arm vessels.
Bruises also change in color, ﬁrst starting off red, then becoming blackish-blue, and ﬁnally turning yellowish-green. The ﬁnal color is a sign that the body has worked to remove the dead cells and tissues and replace them with healthy, new cells to restore color to the skin.
Falls, sprains, pinches, and suction can cause bruises. These are occupational haz- ards for active children who love to run, jump, bike, climb, or skate. People who are anemic or obese tend to bruise easily. Nutritional deﬁciencies of vitamin C, iron, vita- min K, bioﬂavonoids, and other nutrients can contribute to easy bruising. Sometimes, unexplained bruising can be a clue that a person’s blood vessel walls are brittle or that a child has insufﬁcient blood-clotting factors. Bruising can also signal the onset of serious illnesses such as leukemia or hemophilia.
Parents should have their child’s bruise examined by a doctor if
• The bruise is located on the head or the eye areas.
• Bruising seems to show up without any apparent cause.
• A minor bump or blow creates a large bruise.
• Bruises are located in unusual places, such as the back, the calves, or the backs
of the arms.
• Your child has difﬁculty talking, walking, or seeing, or appears drowsy and dizzy.
People of all ages should see a doctor if a fever accompanies the bruising or for bruises that do not heal.
Medications such as aspirin and other blood thinners like Coumadin can cause bruising. Check with your doctor if you use one or more of these medications to see if it is related to your bruising.
If your doctor has determined that your bruising occurs as the result of anemia, see the Anemia section for more information.
• Red, black and blue, or yellowish skin discoloration
• Trauma to soft tissues
• Clotting disorders or other under- lying medical conditions
The following tests help assess possible reasons for chronic bruising:
Immune system imbalance or disease—blood
Hormone testing (thyroid)—saliva, blood, or urine
Intestinal permeability—urine Vitamin and mineral analysis (especially iron, B12, folic acid, vitamin C, and vitamin K)—blood
Digestive function and microbe/parasite/candida testing—stool analysis
Anemia—blood test (CBC, iron, ferritin, % saturation)
Food and environmental allergies/sensitivities—blood, electrodermal
One early clini- cal trial, 74 boxers who regularly suffered bruising on the face, the lips, the ears, the chest, and the arms were given bromelain. When bromelain was given 4 times a day, all signs of bruising disap- peared by the fourth day among 58 of the boxers. In con- trast, those in a con- trol group receiving a placebo required 7 to 14 days before the bruises healed.
Dark-green leafy vegetables provide many minerals that help heal bruising, such as vitamin C and vitamin K.
Citrus fruits, bell peppers, and other brightly colored vegetables and fruits provide bioﬂavonoids that help heal bruises.
Fish such as salmon, nuts like walnuts, and seeds such as ﬂaxseeds provide essen- tial fatty acids that are necessary for tissue repair.
Brussels sprouts, broccoli, potatoes, and many citrus fruits are good sources of vitamin C.
Food to Avoid
Reduce or eliminate sugars, as they interrupt the healing of tissue.
Avoid saturated, hydrogenated, and trans-fatty acids found in meat and packaged, processed foods, as they interfere with the healing of cells.
Super Seven Prescriptions—Bruises
Super Prescription #1 Homeopathic Arnica (Arnica montana)
Take a 30C potency four times daily for ﬁve days. Arnica is a speciﬁc remedy for healing bruises and soft tissue injuries.
Super Prescription #2 Bromelain
Take 500 mg three times daily between meals. Look for products standardized to
2,000 M.C.U. (milk-clotting units) per 1,000 mg or 1,200 G.D.U. (gelatin- dissolving units) per 1,000 mg. Bromelain has a natural anti-inﬂammatory effect. Protease enzyme products also have this beneﬁt.
Super Prescription #3 Vitamin C
Take 500 to 1,000 mg three times daily. Vitamin C is used to manufacture colla- gen, the protein that holds blood vessels and connective tissue together. Vitamin C also improves wound healing.
Super Prescription #4 Bioﬂavonoids
Take a 500 mg complex three times daily. Bioﬂavonoids such as rutin and hes- peredin act similarly to vitamin C and improve vitamin C’s therapeutic effect.
Super Prescription #5 Arnica oil (Arnica montana)
Apply arnica oil topically over the area of the bruise twice daily. This herb in oil form has anti-inﬂammatory beneﬁts. Do not use on broken skin.
Super Prescription #6 Vitamin K
Take 2 mg daily for two weeks for an acute bruise and 500 mcg daily to prevent bruising. Vitamin K is involved with the blood-clotting process. Note: Do not use if you are taking blood-thinning medications.
Super Prescription #7 High-potency multivitamin
This provides a base of the nutrients required for healthy blood vessels. Take as directed on the container.
Essential fatty acids, as found in ﬁsh oil or ﬂaxseed oil, are required for tissue heal- ing. Take 3 grams of ﬁsh oil daily or 1 tablespoon of ﬂaxseed oil. A greens formula that contains super green foods, such as chlorella, spirulina, and others, has an alka- linizing effect and is rich in minerals such as vitamins K and C, which promote heal- ing of the soft tissue. Take as directed on the container.
Maritime pine bark or grape seed extract are rich sources of proanthocyandins, which promote tissue healing. Take 50 mg twice daily.
Pick the remedy that best matches your symptoms in this section. For acute bruises, take a 30C potency four times daily. For chronic bruising, take a 6x, 12x, 6C, 12C, or 30C twice daily for two weeks to see if there are any positive results. After you notice improvement, stop taking the remedy, unless symptoms return. Consultation with a homeopathic practitioner is advised.
Arnica (Arnica montana) is for any injury to the soft tissues and will treat or pre- vent bruising. Arnica is generally the ﬁrst remedy to use for bruising. It’s also used for early-stage sprains and strains that result in bruising. The injury feels bruised and sore. Symptoms are worse from touch and motion and feel better with a cold com- press and in the open air.
Bellis Perennis is for bruising of the deep and internal tissues, especially of the abdomen, the back, and the breasts. It is also used for bruises that do not respond to Arnica. Swelling and tumors may occur at the site of the injury. Symptoms are worse from cold bathing and touch. Improvements are noted from movement and rubbing the injury.
Ferrum Phosphoricum is the indicated remedy when bruising occurs as the result of anemia.
Hamamelis is a good choice when there is intense soreness associated with a bruise; it is especially good for injuries to the veins and for black eyes. One’s symptoms are worse with pressure and cold applications.
Ledum (Ledum palustre) should be used for bruises that are a result of puncture wounds. It is also used for bruising that results from sprains and strains, such as a sprained ankle. Symptoms feel better with cold applications.
Ruta (Ruta graveolens) is useful for bruising of bone coverings, such as the shin- bone, or from a cartilage or joint injury.
Sulphuricum Acidum is for large, red or black-blue, itchy bruises that do not heal, especially after using Arnica. The person feels weak from the injury.
Add 2 drops of lavender oil to a carrier oil, and rub over the bruise twice daily.
Ice the bruise for the ﬁrst twenty-four hours, then alternate hot (one minute) and cold cloths (one minute) over the affected area and repeat four times. Perform twice daily. This improves circulation to the injury site and speeds up healing.