Bruises are a fact of life.
Whether you have children who get banged around a little bit, you are a bit clumsy, or you easily bruise, everyone has to deal with bruises from time to time; and some these bruises can be quite severe, such as after an auto accident.
While these bruises are usually little to be concerned about, they can be very unsightly and even a bit painful.
This pain is caused by inflammation, which is the body’s immune response to injury, as well as the tissue damage from the original injury.
Fortunately, there are some great natural remedies to help you recover from bruises more quickly.
Sure, ice and elevation are always good go-tos, but there are some essential oils that you should keep in your first aid kit.
Historically frankincense has been used for well of 2,000 years.
What we have seen with modern science is that it is effective to help reduce inflammation (1).
When you bruise, blood has pooled under the skin, which causes the dark discoloration typically associated with bruising. This also causing inflammation due to the excess fluid where it is not intended to be.
The anti-inflammatory nature of frankincense helps reduce the excess fluid, both easing the visible symptoms of the bruise as well as the discomfort that often accompanies it as well.
Studies conducted with frankincense have found it to be just as effective as over-the-counter options for treating bruises.
Major chemical constituents: α-pinene and β-pinene are forms of monoterpenes, and make up thirty-five to forty-five percent of the oil. These monoterpenes help inhibit the body’s inflammatory response.
Helichrysum is another botanical that has been used for millennia for various reasons.
Among other things, it is anti-inflammatory in nature, as well as anti-haematomal, which means that it is incredible for helping with bruising.
Part of what helichrysum has shown to be effective in is promoting the formation of scar tissue, which is a step in stopping bleeding and the repair of injury (2).
Major chemical constituents: Neryl acetate is an ester, making up fifty percent of helichrysum. Neryl acetate is highly beneficial in skin cell regeneration.
Cypress is another woodsy smelling essential oil that is really good for treating bruises.
It has antibacterial, antiseptic, antirheumatic, and antispasmodic properties, so it has many secondary benefits when using it on a bruise.
Part of what makes it so effective for bruises is its astringent and hemostatic properties. These reduce blood flow for wounds due it promoting clotting and tightening tissues.
Major chemical constituents: α-pinene is the primary chemical constituent in cypress, accounting for over fifty-five percent of the oil. This helps inhibit inflammation as well as being antibacterial.
Geranium oil is generally considered a great oil for the skin. This is in part due to its antiseptic, antibacterial, and astringent properties.
Geranium is also known to help promote the production of new tissue, which will help with the healing process from a bruise.
Major chemical constituents: Geranium is constituted primarily of alcohols, accounting for seventy percent of the oil. Citronellol is the primary alcohol, accounting for greater than thirty-two percent. This is accounts for the antibacterial, antiseptic, and sedative properties of geranium.
Lemongrass is analgesic in nature, along with anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic. All of these things make it a formidable oil to help with bruising.
The analgesic properties of the oil help to reduce the pain and discomfort often associated with the soft tissue damage that results in a bruise.
Major chemical constituents: Aldehydes make up more than eighty percent of geranium. Aldehydes are anti-infectious, anti-inflammatory and calming in nature, making them a perfect treatment for bruising.
Rosemary is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds.
This means that it will help offset the inflammation associated with bruising, along with decreasing oxidative stress and reducing the body’s immune response to the injury.
Major chemical constituents: 1,8 cineol accounts for up to fifty-five percent of rosemary. 1,8 cineol is anesthetic, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory in nature.
Lavender is probably one of the most widely known oils for aiding with bruising.
Aside from being calming to the nervous system, it has astringent and anti-inflammatory properties that help to prevent the welling of blood at the site of the injury.
These properties mean that this oil may help prevent the formation of bruises when applied quickly after the injury.
Major chemical constituents: Alcohols make up to fifty-eight percent of lavender. Of that, linalool is the most prevalent, accounting for twenty-three to forty-one percent of the oil. LInalool is antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antiviral and sedative in nature. This is why lavender is one of the most popular oils currently available, not to mention the pleasing aroma.
For minor bruising, the other oils listed are sufficient to help get some relief.
However, when you are dealing with major bruising, like what you would get from a seat belt after a car accident.
For these more significant bruises, you need something that will really help deal with pain.
While you could reach for a bottle of Tylenol or Morton, you can also pull out some copaiba. This little bottle of liquid gold is stocked full of β-caryophyllene, the chemical constituent found in cannabis and CBD oil.
Fortunately, this version has no THC associated with it, so it has no mind-altering effects.
While there is some argument whether this constituent is actually a cannabinoid or not, what studies have shown is that it is effective for reducing inflammation and oxidative stress throughout the body. Both of these are effects of both major and minor bruising (3).
How To Use Essential Oils For Bruising
Many people are a little reluctant to use essential oils because they do not know how.
Fortunately, there is no trick to using oils, but there are a few things to know to make your experience better.
Some people use oils neat, which means without dilution.
While this is okay for some people, you should exercise caution with oils that are highly astringent or are warming in nature.
Furthermore, if you are using oils on young children, you want to be sure to dilute the oil first to avoid toxicity.
To dilute the oil, you just combine it with a carrier oil like avocado oil, sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, or coconut oil.
For adults, a one to one ratio is good (one drop to one drop). For children, you will want to dilute it closer to a one to thirty ratio.
Diluting also helps extend the effects of the oil. When used neat, the oil will evaporate quickly due to being volatile.
Carrier oils also help keep the essential oils from irritating the skin.
Once you’ve diluted the oil, you simply rub the mixture on the site of the bruise.
It Is Not About The Smell
Not everyone is a big fan of the smell of essential oils, and that is completely understandable. Some of the aromas are fairly strong, but that should not dissuade you from using them to help treat your bruises.
The most effective method of application is applying the oil directly to the bruise site.
However, if you are concerned about an “oily” feeling or the smell, you can also apply the oils to your feet.
Your feet have the largest pores on your body, and therefore have the easiest access to your bloodstream.
It takes roughly 20 minutes for a single drop of oil to move throughout your entire system.
This means that applying the oil to your feet will affect even a bruise at the top of your head, it just may take a little longer to feel the effects.
If the scent is still an issue, diluting the oil as mentioned previously will help reduce the smell.
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