What Is Arnica and Why Does It Help with Bruises?
Most natural health experts agree that Arnica Montana is useful in repairing bruised tissue, but it’s helpful to understand how it works before using it. Explore the properties of Arnica and how it heals bruises, and then put it to work for all your future injuries, including everything from bumps and bruises to knee, back and minor arthritis pain.
What Does Arnica Do?
Arnica has been used for thousands of years as a topical cure for bruises. A flowering herb prized for its anti-inflammatory properties, the plant’s all-natural components make it an excellent solution for nearly any musculoskeletal ailment that involves swelling, pain and discoloration.
Arnica has two primary characteristics in bruise healing:
- Anti-Inflammatory: The body’s natural swelling response impedes blood flow and increases healing time when left unchecked, but two main components in Arnica calm this response: Helenalin, which acts as a strong anti-inflammatory, and thymol, which acts as a vasodilator, opening capillaries to prevent blood and other fluids from accumulating.
- Analgesic: Arnica dulls the pain at the site of the injury, due to its anti-inflammatory benefits and the gentle warming effect that provides soothing pain relief to bruised skin.
Now that you understand a little more about how Arnica works, let’s explore how you could use it after receiving an injury and its potential effects on a daily basis for the first five days.
Day 1: Solutions for a Fresh Contusion
At this stage, Arnica helps reduce swelling
You bang your shin against the kitchen chair — hard. It starts to swell and turn red, and you know a nasty bruise will form within a few hours. Bruises are essentially the visible evidence of blood spilling out from broken vessels underneath the skin. At this point, applying an Arnica-infused gel to the damaged area and placing an ice pack on it helps reduce the swelling, allowing the blood that’s accumulating to start clearing out right away.
Day 2: A Fresh Black and Blue Bruise
At this stage, Arnica helps relieve pain
Your shin now sports a classic purple bruise, perhaps with some blood-red points toward the center. Even if you managed to nip the bruise in the bud on Day 1, you’re likely to have some signs of bruising from the accumulation of blood. The built-up fluid has to break down and clear out for the bruise to disappear, and the damaged tissue in the area has to heal for the pain and tenderness to dissipate. The body can take up to 14 days or longer to complete this process without some help.
You can boost the healing time by reapplying an Arnica bruise treatment directly on the damaged area two to three times throughout the day. Arnica’s anti-inflammatory properties work to reduce swelling and increase blood flow, while the analgesic properties provide topical pain relief. Take care to avoid pressing or rubbing too hard, which can make the bruise worse, particularly at the center of impact.
Day 3: Healing from the Outside In
At this stage, Arnica helps remove blood
Your shin might still be sore. But if your bruise wasn’t too severe, you should start seeing some greenish-yellow color developing around the edges. This means fresh blood is flowing to the accumulated fluid and breaking down the red blood cells that cause bruise discoloration. More severe bruising may continue to look more bluish purple for up to five days. Continuing to apply Arnica at this point allows the body to carry the broken-down blood cells away and your body reabsorbs them.
Days 4 and 5: Continuing to Shrink the Bruising and Discoloration
At this stage, Arnica helps shrink the bruise
How’s your shin feeling? Hopefully the discomfort and the bruising is fading by now. If you frequently apply Arnica and take care to avoid re-injuring the bruise, the accumulated fluid should dissipate and turn from purple to green to yellow within five days, if not sooner. (Deep bruises acquired from more severe trauma take longer to heal.)
The surface area you cover with Arnica shrinks along with the bruise, but don’t neglect the outer edges as you heal. Applying Arnica topically to the outer edges of your bruise will help that black and blue fade quickly.
From Day 1 to Day 5 and beyond, Arnica supports and enhances the body’s natural bruise healing process. It reduces swelling, stimulates the blood vessels and provides much-needed pain relief, making the effects of the bruise look and feel less dramatic and dissipate more quickly. PROcure Bruise Remedy Gel contains both Arnica and MSM to aid in the healing process.