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Natural Remedies for Bumps and Bruises: #3 in our First Aid Series

Natural Remedies for Bumps and Bruises: #3 in our First Aid Series

There is nothing worse than teething, nothing. Except maybe when your baby topples over onto his head while trying to crawl, while teething and grumpy anyway, and ends up with a big red welt on his head. Then there’s something worse. Oh boy.

There is nothing better, on the other hand, than my eight year old son falling in love with the girl across the street. At least, I think its love. It might be hate, the way they go at each other with sticks and swords like Lord of the Flies. But still I see her waiting for him on the curb in the afternoons, and know that he’s riding his bike outside when he gets home just waiting for her. And the exquisite corollary to this budding romance is that when my boy takes a spill on his bike and bruises his hand, elbow and knee in one fell swoop, he isn’t grumpy at all...He’s stoic, he saves face. Or maybe it doesn’t even hurt when he has her as an audience. It’s bittersweet.

Grumpy and tired, or blissed and elated, the remedy for bumps and bruises is remarkably the same. The oft-resulting black-and-blue marks are usually injury to the capillaries at the site of the bruise, leaking blood into the surrounding tissues (sounds a bit awful, doesn’t it, but it reabsorbs quickly, as the black and blue turns yellowish and then disappears entirely.)

Here’s what I do for bruises in my household, whether for our Reluctant Romeo or for poor sweet Oscar the Grouch:

  1. Ice it. When first bruised, grab ice (or better yet, Batman-shaped icepack) out of your freezer. wrap it in a light towel or napkin to keep the ice from directly touching the skin and place it on the site of the bruise for 5-10 minutes depending on the severity of the bruise -- and how long little one will tolerate it. Remove the icepack. If the area is still quite swollen, reapply after 20 minutes for another round, alternating ice on and ice off to prevent frostbite to the tissues. Do this throughout the day for serious swelling and trauma, especially at the beginning. For relatively minor traumas with little swelling, once may be enough.
  2. Arnica (downstairs), arnica (upstairs), arnica (in the diaper bag). Do you have arnica ointment in every room of your house? We’re getting there. It started as part of a nice rub for my sore post-yoga limbs. Then it evolved into “owwie cream” when my older son began to walk. Now, it’s simply indispensable. Transparent, lightweight, and immediately soothing, I use it for every bump and bruise that hurts but doesn’t break the skin. I rubbed it on my baby’s red bump on the forehead, and it was like stop-gap film timing as I watched the red (and the complaining) disappear before my eyes.
  3. bruise remedies, natural remedies for bruises and injuriesIs the skin broken? Use calendula ointment instead. It comes in cream, oil and gel which can all be used on open bruises with wonderfully strong inflammation-reducing and antiseptic effects -- and still gentle enough for children and babies. Buy it and have it on hand, or if you’re feeling inspired, make your own. I love this recipe, from Frugally Sustainable.
  4. Internal arnica at 30x. Just in case the ointment isn’t enough, say in cases of sprains, strains and bumps and bruises with swelling, accompany the external arnica with homeopathic arnica. Administer 1 dose under the tongue immediately after your child is injured, then 3-4 doses throughout the next 24 hours to reduce inflammation and speed healing.
  5. Give your child Vitamin C. Vitamin C with bioflavonoids together help to maintain capillary walls, improve circulation (which reduces swelling), and repair tissues. Buckwheat, citrus fruits (with the white attached) leafy greens all are natural sources of vitamin C with bioflavonoids. This is a great solution for children who tend to bruise easily.
  6. Go purple. My former alma-mater’s motto, this is also a great motto for post-bruising snacks, and a great dietary addition if your child tends toward black-and-blue marks. Blueberries, blackberries and red grape skin in particular contain proanthocyanidins which strengthen bruised capillaries. This advice is easy to remember -- feed your child the foods that are the same color as the bruise. Nature is supremely sensical, isn’t it? 

Blog Hopped on A Rural Journal

Blog Hopped on Frugally Sustainable

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