Wow, a lot has changed since we were kids and our parents took out the bactine and bandaids. I recently took a nasty fall and since I had never had an injury like this before (gashes on my nose and bruising around my eyes) I did some extensive research into natural remedies for healing cuts and bruises, but also consulted my aesthetician who always provides the best advice.
What to eat:
I loved this one. Not only is it a delicious remedy but there is also scientific evidence to suggest these foods reduce inflammation. Eat papaya and pineapple, fresh.
Papaya enzymes contain several proteinases, or proteolytic enzymes, with anti-microbial and anti-ulcerative properties. As such, papaya enzymes are believed to help relieve a variety of gastrointestinal complaints, as well as stomach ulcers and pancreatic enzyme deficiency. In traditional Ayurvedic medicine of India, papain is used to treat bronchitis, hemorrhoids, urinary tract infections, kidney stones and parasitic infestations. In Western medicine, papaya enzymes are often used to remove diseased or dying tissue associated with infected wounds, cysts, diabetic ulcers, lesions and burns. In Africa, papaya enzymes are used to treat cancer and heart disease, as well as a variety of inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis.
Make sure you wash the area first and use an antibacterial solution, like Bacatrin, which was recommended by two doctors I know, but it’s not a homeopathic remedy. It is supposed to be more effective than Neosporin, but again, this is my own personal research and I don’t claim to have any medical training or knowledge.
Aloe Vera for the cuts. This is interesting. I had used aloe as a kid and just assumed I would run to whole foods and get some extract. My aesthetician gave me strict orders to use the plant instead. I have not had a chance to look into this, but I think getting the pulp directly from the source is the most potent. Cut it off near the thickest part, the root and squeeze some onto your finger, or apply the plant leaf directly to the wound. I’ve been using it for the last 48 hours and the healing process has sped up exponentially, it’s not my imagination. In fact, this plant is so easy to care for you should have a potted one in your house at all times.
Everyone, I mean EVERYONE swears by Arnica or Arnicare gel. You can buy it at Whole Foods and some drugstores as well. I don’t know what this miracle gel does, but its incredibly effective for the bruising and swelling. A homeopathic remedy from the Arnica plant has some scientific validity.
Medicinal uses (from Wikipedia)
Arnica montana has been used medicinally for centuries. Arnica is used in liniment and ointment preparations used for strains, sprains, and bruises. Commercial Arnica preparations are frequently used by professional athletes. According to The Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, “A few clinical trials suggest benefits of topical arnica for osteoarthritis; and for affecting significant reduction of bruising compared to placebo or low concentration vitamin K ointments. However, a small study reported that topical arnica actually increased pain 24 hours after calf exercises.”
Hydrogen Peroxide. Yikes. I used it and thought those little bubbles were miraculously closing and healing my cuts. I watched them close up like I was some kind of bionic super woman. Later, I read that not only does it kill the bad cells, but it will kill new cells forming (like those fighter white cells that are there to heal your injuries!). I confirmed this with my doctor, and she in fact said it’s a big “harsh” for facial wounds so stay away.
This one is controversial. I had always learned it was something to use, break open that little capsule and rub it directly on the area to prevent scarring. I still don’t want to believe after all these years of using the stuff that it heals the area too quickly and does not allow the build up of collagen. I’d say if it’s worked for you, use it. This was recommended by one doctor, but everything you read says either don’t use it, or it has no scientific efficacy, etc.
I read that you should cover wounds. That leaving it to “breathe” is an old wives tale. I simply did not agree. It just went against everything I had learned up until now. I’m not set in my ways but this one just didn’t seem logical, especially since I did not have to have anything serious done, like stitches, where chances of infection could be greater. I think it should be decided on a case by case basis.
I also learned as the wounds heal and the skin appears to be a different color, use a cocoa butter stick (again, the real stuff 100%) over the area to even out your skin tone.