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Bruising occurs when blood vessels under the skin rupture as a result of a blow or bump. Blood spills into the underlying tissue resulting in pain and swelling, as well as the familiar black and blue marks.

For most of us bruising is merely an inconvenience, however, as we age it can become more of a problem. As we grow older our skin becomes thinner and blood capillaries more fragile, leaving us less protected and more vulnerable to injury. Some elderly people develop a condition called purpura senilis. In these cases the person will bruise with even the slightest touch to the skin and the bruises can last for months.
To help ease the pain of a new bruise, experts recommend applying an ice pack on and off for the first 24 hours. A bag of frozen peas is ideal, or frozen witch hazel if you have it. The next day apply a hot water bottle (not too hot) or warm compress. This will help to encourage re-absorption of the blood and bring faster relief.
It is possible to help yourself become less prone to bruising. However if you bruise very easily, you should see your doctor first to check that there is no underlying health problem.
How to Help Avoid Bruises
A diet high in bioflavonoids has been shown to keep blood vessels and capillaries strong and healthy.
Eat a healthy whole food diet including plenty of dark green vegetables, onions, garlic and buckwheat.
Eat plenty of fresh fruit, including citrus fruits, apples, blueberries and cherries. They are all high in bioflavonoids.
Drink green tea - it is also high in bioflavonoids
Supplements Worth Considering
Vitamin C - 2000mg - 4000mg daily - helps prevent bruising by keeping veins, capillaries and skin tissue, strong and healthy.
Vitamin K - helps strengthen blood vessel walls. Alfalfa tablets are a good source of vitamin K
Bioflavonoids - In a study the bioflavonoid rutin was found to help reduce bruising by strengthening capillaries.
Bilberry extract - rich in bioflavonoids - helps to keep blood vessel walls strong.
Experts recommend applying a cream or lotion containing Vitamin C to the skin topically. They say this can help make the skin less prone to bruising, reducing the number and severity of bruises. This is especially helpful for the elderly who tend to bruise very easily.
German Commission E Monograph has approved the following herbs as helpful for bruises, all to be applied externally: Comfrey herb and leaf, Comfrey root, Peruvian Balsam, St. Johns Wort, Sweet Clover.
Witch Hazel applied topically helps to soothe bruising. For extra soothing power, keep an ice-cube tray of witch hazel - clearly marked - in the freezer and apply to bruise as soon as possible.

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