When I first became an apprentice of Sarah Head and joined her Springfield Sanctuary Group, last January, she assigned us the task of finding elder and harvesting the bark to make a salve for bruising. I wrote about harvesting elder bark and making the salve here. Now all we apprentices started furiously talking among ourselves, as none of us had ever heard of using elder bark for bruising, and Sarah kept quiet while we emailed back and forth and tried to figure out just why this would work. We all searched and search through old herbals and web sites and discussed the different constituents and all we could come up with was the fact it would be an anti inflammatory. Then I found in my book Indian Herbology of North America by Alma Hutchens where she referred to it for making a discutient ointment. Ah ha! Discutient herbs cause dispersal or disappearance of a pathological accumulation. So elderbark would cause the accumulated blood to disperse to be reabsorbed. Well I have proof of how well this works!
I recently took one hell of a fall. I was trying to step over a baby gate at my dad’s and when I went to place my foot on the floor on the other side, there was no floor! He has a sunken living room and I had forgotten! I went off balance, tumbling into the gate and onto the floor, knocking over a great pile of boxes they had stacked there, since they had just moved. Within a few short hours I had a horrible, swollen, hot, hurting bruise on my thigh! Being the empiricist I am, I decided to use only the elder bark salve on the bruise and document the progression of recovery. This photo is the second day after injury
The pain and swelling had already gone down considerably and I was noting that this bruise never became as horrible as bruises usually do on my fair skin.
Bruise day 6. Amazing how the whole center of the bruise has became perfectly clear! The anti inflammatory properties had taken care of any pain completely.
Bruise day 9
I think a factor on the fact there is still darkish areas, is I had trouble reaching those places and didn’t apply it as well. But still, remarkable, don’t you think?
Bruise day 13
Note all the perfectly clear skin! I was quite diligent to reach the hard to reach places and by the 15th day, there was absolutely no sign I had ever had an injury! Now I don’t know about you, but a bruise of this sort would have gone through a rainbow of colors during the healing process untreated and also would have been with me for well over a month. Truthfully, with my very fair skin, I would have seen it for closer to 6 weeks or longer without treatment.
So, I used the elder bark salve and have proven to myself that it is anti inflammatory and an amazing discutient. ( I am trying to figure out whether the word deobstruent would be appropriate also. A deobstruent herb is one that removes obstructions and allows the bodies fluids to flow. I am thinking yes. Any thoughts on this from my herbie friends would be appreciated.)As a side benefit of my treatment, I had a spider vein near this area, and I am continuing to experiment, but I am seeing it fade also. I will continue experiments with that aspect and start taking pictures, so I might have some adds about that to share with you in the future:)
Huge thanks to my mentor Sarah for teaching me about elder bark. Another usage for our wonderful elder tree with its myriad of miracle helping qualities!!
For those of you unfamiliar with elder and are trying to identify it in your local foraging area, I created this post. I know I will be harvesting more bark and making a lot of salve to keep on hand in my apothecary!
Herbal and Honey Hugs to all who visit Comfrey Cottages xx