Monday, January 14, 2013

Natural Remedies for Cuts and Bruises

These tips can help you incorporate a holistic approach to treating minor injuries.

First aid kit

Our journey through life can be a bumpy one. We have run-ins with the unexpected. Sometimes these leave us with cuts or bruises. Once you have assessed your injuries and are sure they do not require a hospital visit, these tips can help you incorporate a holistic approach to treating minor injuries.

Minor Cuts

  • Stop the bleeding: Minor cuts tend to heal on their own. If not, keep pressure on the wound for 30 minutes. If the wound spurts or continues to bleed after continuous pressure, seek medical attention.
  • Clean the wound: Observe the cut for debris and clean with clear water or hydrogen peroxide. Use soap to clean the area around the wound. Topical aloe vera gel can also sooth and improve healing. If you are concerned about infection, use thin layer of antibiotic ointment.
  • Bandage: Keeping the wound covered can avoid bacteria and debris. Change the bandage daily or when it gets wet or dirty.
  • Watch for infection: Contact your doctor if the wound is not healing and produces swelling, redness, warmth, pain or drainage.

Minor Bruises

Follow the R.I.C.E. technique:

  • Rest: While you recover, refrain from overusing the affected area.
  • Ice: 15- to 20-minute applications four to eight times a day can help control swelling. Using ice longer than the allotted time may cause tissue damage.
  • Compression: Depending on the injury, elastic bandages may help reduce swelling.
  • Elevation: Raising the wounded area may help limit swelling.

Natural anti-inflammatories have been shown to be effective for reducing swelling and pain.

  • Turmeric (Curcuma longa) possesses anti-inflammatory properties which can reduce pain and swelling.
  • Bromelain, an enzyme derived from pineapples that helps digest proteins, is very useful in reducing inflammatory protein.

Nutrition

You can further support your body’s natural ability to heal through diet and supplementation. Foods containing the nutrients listed below are important for healthy skin development and repair and provide antioxidants to help protect from oxidative stress in the body.

  • Vitamin A: Found in cod, milk, fish oil, carrots and sweet potatoes.
  • Vitamin C: Found in oranges, papaya, spinach and green peppers.
  • Vitamin E: Found in olives, corn, vegetable oils and asparagus.
  • Zinc: Found in red meat, pumpkin, shellfish and cheese.

— By Calvin Kwan, ND, resident at Bastyr Center for Natural Health

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