What It Means If You Bruise Easily ---
Causes and Top 10 Natural Remedies
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Last updated November 13, 2017, originally published October 15, 2010

By Muireann Prendergast, Contributing Columnist

[Health and fitness articles are reviewed by our panel of Registered
Nurses, Certified fitness trainers and other members of our Editorial

Are you tired of answering the question, “What happened to
you?” When you bang your leg against the car door do you
bruise? When someone bumps into your arm on the street, do
you bruise? Are there a million other normal daily bumps and
scrapes that cause familiar purple and blue patches to appear
and have you covering up your arms and legs, even in the
height of summer? If you are nodding vigorously, keep
reading. There are reasons why you bruise easily. But, can
bruising easily be the sign of a further underlying condition?
Can natural remedies help?

What Are Bruises?

The Mayo Clinic explains that bruises, also called "contusions",
are hematomas of tissue in which small blood capillaries and
blood vessels near the skin’s surface are damaged causing
blood to leak out of the vessels and appear on the skin as a
bright red, purple or black mark. As the body starts to re-
absorb the blood, the mark changes colors due to the chemical
changes involved in the process, eventually becoming yellow or
green. The mark disappears altogether when the body
reabsorbs the blood.

The US National Institute of Health lists three types of bruises.
Subcutaneous bruises beneath the skin, intramuscular bruising
within the belly of the underlying muscle and periosteal or bone

Causes of Bruising Easily

When we fall or badly hurt ourselves, bruising is a natural and
easily explained occurrence, but if we bruise frequently and
easily without apparent heavy blows, how can we explain this?
The Mayo Clinic puts forth that a possible explanation is aging
skin, particularly in women. This is due to two factors: aging
capillaries and thinning skin. The Clinic says that with aging
capillaries, the skin supporting vessels is becoming gradually
weaker and, as result, capillary walls are more prone to
rupture. With the thinning of skin, another feature of old age,
the skin is losing its protective fatty layers and is more
susceptible to bruising.

A 1993 French study looked at the fact that people with fragile
blood capillaries, which can be a hereditary condition, were
prone to easy bruising.

However, certain medications can also cause bruising. A 2006
study carried out by researchers at the University of California,
Irvine College of Medicine, found that certain anti-coagulant
drugs can cause bruising. These drugs, such as aspirin,
warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix) and corticosteroids,
can cause spontaneous bruising due to the fact that they inhibit
clotting and thin the blood.  More rarely, drugs such as
Cephalosporins, gingko piloba, interferon and Metaxalone
(Skelaxin) can cause bruising, according to the Association of
American Family Physicians.

Fish Oil Can Cause Bruising

Some food supplements can also promote bruising. The Mayo
Clinic lists these as fish oil and Gingko Biloba since they have
the same blood thinning effect as the anticoagulant drugs listed
above.  (Read more here about the
dangers of excessive use of
fish oil supplements).

A 2005 study carried out by researchers at The University of
Florida Health Sciences Center's Division of Pediatric Emergency
Medicine, asserted that people deficient in Vitamin K can also be
prone to easy bruising. Vitamin K is a coagulant and those
deficient in it may suffer from bleeding into various tissues.

And here's some shocking news. The report states that children
who present themselves in hospitals with bruising and bleeding
resulting from Vitamin K deficiency are frequently mistaken for
victims of child physical abuse.

A 2008 diagnostic report by doctors at Ohio State University
stated that there are numerous disorders that can cause
abnormal bruising. These are listed as platelet function
disorders, quantitative platelet disorders, factor deficiencies,
and factor inhibitors. Amongst these are Cushing’s Disease and
Marfan's syndrome.

This report also states that alcohol abuse can cause bruising
due to the depletion of Vitamin C that it causes.

Based on medical studies, here are the Top 10 natural remedies
for bruising:

Top 10 Natural Remedies For Bruising Easily

There are many natural remedies to help with bruising and now
we will look at some of them. However, always consult with
your medical care provider before embarking on alternative,
home remedies.

Vitamin K Fights Bruising

The 2005 study carried out by researchers at Division of
Pediatric Emergency Medicine, University of Florida Health
Sciences Center suggests that Vitamin K is an essential way to
fight bruising.

The Western diets in the US, UK and other developed countries
are not naturally high in Vitamin K. One of the foods highest in
Vitamin K is "natto", a food made from fermented soy beans
consumed at breakfast in certain regions of Japan. Another
food very high in Vitamin K is gouda cheese which is consumed
in high quantities in France.  Lower amounts of Vitamin K can
be found in green leafy vegetables, other fermented cheeses,
liver, coffee, and green tea.  

Many people swear by the natural remedy of rubbing cabbage
leaves (after steeping them in water) on bruises to reduce the
appearance of bruising. Among vegetables, cabbage leaves are
a relatively high source of Vitamin K, which may explain their
effectiveness in reducing bruises. There are no scientific studies
yet verifying the effectiveness of this natural remedy, however.

Vitamin C Helps to Prevent Bruising

A 2001 Canadian study noted the importance of consuming
Vitamin C regularly as a way of reducing risk of bruising
resultant from scurvy and other Vitamin C deficiency related
illnesses. Great natural sources of Vitamin C are oranges,
strawberries, lemon juice, papaya, cauliflower, and again leafy


The importance of Vitamin C in preventing bruising was proven
again in a 2009 study from doctors at Gosford Hospital in New
South Wales, Australia. They discussed the case of a 56 year
old man with severe and general bruises on his legs. After
determined that the man had low Vitamin C levels, the doctors
administered Vitamin C and the "bruising improved rapidly after
commencing oral vitamin C supplementation."]

Bromelein from Pineapples Reduces Bruising

Bromelein, a family of enzymes found in the pineapple plant,
was found to break down proteins that accumulate fluids when
the skin is bruised in a 1967 UK study. Bromelein is extracted
from the pineapple plant and compressed into tablet form.


The University of Maryland Medical Center sets out that the
external application of the arnica plant, in cream, ointment,
liniment, salve, or tincture form is an excellent way to reduce
bruising due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial qualities.


Other than the Maryland Medical Center report, there is very
little scientific evidence to support the use of arnica as a bruise
treatment. Nonetheless, many people continue to use it and
believe in its effectiveness. On the plus side, there are no
known side effects to its use. (Read more about
remedies for purple marks.]

Witch Hazel

A 1996 Germany study concluded that the astringent and anti-
oxidant Witch Hazel, produced from the leaves and bark of the
North American Witch Hazel shrub, reduced bruising when
applied externally. A great way to use it is to put some drops of
Witch Hazel in a bath.

Horse Chestnut

A 1993 study carried out at The Oregon-based National College
of National Medicine found that an extract from the Horse
Chestnut tree called "ecsin" is an excellent way to reduce
bruising. The study found that about 10 g of 2% escin gel,
applied externally to bruises in a single dose reduced bruise
tenderness in a matter of minutes.

Potatoes Heal Bruising

A 2008 Korean study found that a great natural way to heal
bruising is with potatoes. Potatoes contain a protein called
Catecholase which can bring down the dark discoloration
caused by bruising. Chopping or processing potatoes and
making a compress with some cloth for the affected area.

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera has been used for centuries as a way to treat
damaged skin. A 2008 alternative medicine study carried out by
Idaho based private research firm Thorne Research set out the
internal and external healing properties of aloe vera on
damaged skin. Putting fresh aloe vera on a bruise is a great
way to treat it.


Bilberries are rich with antioxidants known as anthocyanosides.
They strengthen capillaries and improving circulation, says the
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Bilberry juice can be
drunk or the fruits crushed and pressed on the bruise.

Get Active

Experts concur that a great way to strengthen the weak
capillaries that can cause easy bruising is get active by walking
and exercising more. Not only does regular exercise stimulate
healthy blood circulation, increase oxygen in the blood supply
and promote healthier skin but it also speeds up wou
nd healing
by as much as 25%, concludes a 2006 study carried out by
Ohio State University.


Eat More Asparagus

Asparagus contains a substance called "rutin" which scientists
have discovered helps to strengthen the walls of your
capillaries. As a result, you will experience less bruising, dark
circles under your eyes or varicose veins -all of which are
caused by weak or leaky capillaries. (Read more about the
health benefits of asparagus.)


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