Using Comfrey, Parsley, St. John’s Wort, and Arnica For Bruises
Arnica and Other Herbal Home Remedies for Bruises
As the mother of a very active little boy, one of the best things I’ve learned to do through my training as an Ayurvedic practitioner is how to use arnica for bruises. Bruises can be painful, cause swelling, and leave unpleasant discoloring on your skin. While bruises certainly aren’t dangerous in and of themselves, they can cause a great amount of discomfort. Arnica, a natural herb that can be found growing in gardens as well as in the wild, is helpful when used topically for bruises.
Using Arnica for Bruises
It’s important when using arnica for bruises that it is only used topically (applied to the skin) and only used on bruises that are closed (no open scabs or bleeding from the bruise). Never take arnica internally (by mouth) unless you are under the care of an experienced practitioner.
How Does Arnica for Bruises Work?
Arnica flowers work by dilating capillaries, which increases blood flow to and from an injury. When blood flows away from the injury quickly, it reduces the time it takes for swelling to go down and allows new, fresh blood to heal the area.
Using arnica for bruises is easy with one of the following methods:
- Crush about 6 ounces of dried arnica flowers into a crock pot. (Don’t use this crock pot for regular cooking!) Cover with 2 cups of coconut oil, and mix well. You can let the arnica flowers steep in the coconut oil for approximately 12-24 hours on the lowest setting.
- Let the mixture cool until you can touch it without burning yourself (about an hour).
- Cover a large bowl or jar with cheesecloth and strain the coconut oil into the jar. Wipe out the crock pot to make sure you remove all the remaining arnica flowers, and pour the coconut oil back into the crock pot.
- Add about ½ cup of beeswax crystals and stir over low heat until the beeswax is melted. For a firmer salve, increase the amount of beeswax crystals to about ¾ cup.
- After the beeswax crystals have melted, turn off the heat and let the mixture cool for about 45 minutes before stirring in a few drops of lavender and/or peppermint oils (optional, but they give the salve a lovely scent).
You can store this salve in any jars or containers that allow you to scoop some out on your fingertip and apply to a bruise.
- Place 1 ounce of crushed, dried arnica flowers in 1 cup of food grade alcohol (like Everclear). Allow to steep for at least 30 days before straining the liquid. Apply to bruises as needed.
- Take a handful of arnica flowers and mash or grate them well.
- Mix with just enough water to make a paste from your mashed flowers.
- Apply the paste directly to the bruise and cover with a piece of clean flannel cloth or a clean bandage.
You can also use arnica for bruises by making a compress out of the dried or fresh flowers.
- Place 1 cup of arnica flowers in 4 cups of water. Bring the water to a boil, and allow the flowers to steep for at least 30 minutes.
- Allow the tea to cool to room temperature or slightly warmer than room temperature.
- Dip a clean cloth into the tea and apply it to the area of the bruise. Do not use the arnica compress for bruises if there is open skin.
Healing Herbs List for Treating Bruises
While arnica is a great choice for treating bruises, there are other healing herbs that you can use to treat bruises. This herbal healing list includes some commonly used herbs that can help heal bruises.
- John’s Wort – Most herbalists know that St. John’s Wort is effective for treating depression, but it’s also useful for treating nerve pain, pain from injuries and bruises, and to lessen scarring. You can apply St. John’s Wort using any of the methods mentioned above to a closed bruise where there is no broken skin.
- Lavender essential oil – You can make a compress using a small amount of lavender essential oil as a natural pain reliever and as a way to calm the patient.
- Helichrysum – This healing herb can be used as a compress for bruises and muscle strains. It relieves swelling and pain, can heal scar tissue, and can soothe irritated skin.
- Comfrey – Just like arnica, comfrey uses include external use for healing bruises when skin is not broken. It is most effective when made as a poultice or a compress. There has been some debate as to whether comfrey is safe for internal use or when taken orally, so it’s always best to consult with a qualified herbal practitioner before taking comfrey by mouth to treat bruises.
- Parsley – One of the most surprising parsley uses is in the treatment of bruises! Crush a handful of fresh parsley leaves to release some of the juice found in the fresh plant, and apply it directly to the bruise. Cover the area with a cool or iced cloth to further reduce pain and swelling and to reduce scarring.
Do you have a favorite home remedy for treating bruises? Leave a comment and share it with me!