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Black Eye Treatment – Herbal First Aid

Black Eye Treatment – Herbal First Aid

Accidents happen. Most people aren’t lucky enough to go through life without getting at least one shiner. A black eye is basically a bruise around the outside of  the eye. Technically known as a periorbital hematoma, it’s basically a facial bruise caused, as are all bruises, by bleeding under the skin.The delicate tissue around the eye socket reacts quickly to protect your eye through swelling and inflammation.

To prevent serious swelling from a black eye, you have to act fast. Gently apply a cold pack or a cloth filled with ice to the area around the eye. Do not to press on the eye itself. Continue this treatment off and on for the next day or so.

Traditionally, a cold steak is used to lay on the eye but the risk of getting a bacterial infection from the slowly defrosting meat makes this option undesirable. A pack of frozen peas wrapped in cloth works just as well.

black eyeMost black eyes take a week or so to heal but you can speed up this process by using a few common in-home items. Witch hazel can be applied around the eye (not in the eye) to reduce swelling and inflammation. Home remedies also include sliced raw potato or apple. Both of these kitchen items are used frequently to bind proteins and bring down swelling.

Soak a clean cloth in calendula tea, flash freeze it, and gently place it on the eye area to promote healing. Calendula, St. John’s wort or arnica salve can be added to the area later to reduce soreness. In a pinch, dab the surrounding area with a cotton swab soaked with a few drops of calendula, plantain or St. John’s wort tincture to speed healing to the tissue. Avoid putting tincture in your eye.

Take it easy. As with any injury, get plenty of rest to help you heal. Reduce high impact exercise until the tissue is healed to be sure no further damage occurs.

List of Herbal Allies for Treatment of a Black Eye


Do NOT take aspirin after an injury that involves bleeding or bruising. Aspirin can increase bleeding. If you want to take an over the counter medication, acetaminophen or ibuprofen is best. Tea, decoction, or tincture of meadowsweet and willow bark taken together can also help relieve pain while discouraging excess bleeding and stomach upset.

The black eye is a result of a injury to the area around the eye, not to the eye itself. If you have an injury to the actual eye, such as bleeding from or in the eye or vision problems, please seek medical help immediately. Other possible complications that require emergency assistance include skull fractures, raccoon eyes (both eyes turn black), bleeding from the eye or nose or signs of a concussion.



Sue Sierralupe

Sue Sierralupé is a Certified Master Herbalist, Master Gardener and Sustainable Landscape Specialist. She is the clinic manager and lead herbalist at Occupy Medical clinic. Sue is author of The Pocket Herbal: Medicinal Plants that Changed the World and co-author of The Practical Herbalist Herbal Folios series. Follow her blog at Herbalism Manifesto for commentary on herbs, parenting, nutrition and a whole lot more.

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