Friday, September 7, 2012

Elder Tree Bark for Bruising

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
bruise day 3 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 6
Bruise day 9
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
bruise day 13Note 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


Charlie Farrow said...

Wonderful! x

Comfrey Cottages said...

thanks Charlie xx

Nancy said...

So sorry about your fall and bruise, but thanks for sharing the results of the Elder Salve! I am especially interested to know if it works with the spider veins as this would be a wonderful non-invasive treatment to at least lighten them...going to ask my neighbor for some Elder bark!
Blessings! Nancy

Anke said...

Goodness Leslie, that bruise is awful. I am glad the elder salve helped heal it so quickly. The difference really is amazing. I've got a few nasty bruises myself right now from dragging the dogs down the storm shelter the other day. Maybe I should look into making the salve myself...

Anonymous said...

What an interesting post Leslie. I hope you weren't too shocked after your nasty fall. Great to see how well the salve worked for you though! xxx

Comfrey Cottages said...

Thanks for visiting Nancy:) I am seeing some fading with the spider veins, but a little early to tell if they will disappear entirely. Will keep you posted xx
Glad you all are safe after those storms, Anke. Yes, do try make some. I found it real helpful. Of course, there are other good herbs to use for bruising, but was happy to add a new one that is abundant in my area and gardens:)
I was stunned for a few moments Lucinda, and just lay there trying to make sense of why I was on the floor and hurting:( Quite scary. I got a small cut on my wrist, and pulled a muscle in the other legs inner thigh... I just wanted to share how elder bark did work well. I have usually used yarrow, comfrey, lavender eo, witch hazel in different combinations for bruising. Sarah had eventually told us she couldn't even remember where she had learned the bit about elder bark, and I thought, you know, you can't experiment with someone else, so decided to experiment on myself:) lol!! It is just nice to add a plant to the list of those that are beneficial in these situations and wanted to share with everyone. That way in case someone is out of their favorite bruise helper, they now know there is an alternative that is readily available in many parts of the world. big hugs and thanks for visiting dear friend!

wildcraft diva said...

Hi, Just discovered your blog, I'll be back : )

Comfrey Cottages said...

nice to meet you wildcraft dive:)

Rita M said...

That was a huge bruise Leslie, but it could have been worse.
Big hugs, love you dear sis.