Cypress for Traumatic Tissue Injury

Mar 29, 01:34 AM

by Katharine Koeppen, RA

The AromaBlog has been silent this month because I've been somewhat out of commission. March began with a strange auto accident. I barely had time to recover when the month proceeded with a nasty fall that left my right forearm seriously bruised from wrist to elbow, with a possible hairline fracture.

The fall was hard enough to bruise my arm all the way to the bone, and within two hours the entire posterior forearm had turned a dark blackish purple. Swelling becomes a problem with this type of injury, since the narrow lower arm is crammed with tightly bound structures which don't have a lot of room to expand in an inflammatory response. I needed to prevent the edema from getting worse as quickly as possible, and my essential oil of choice was cypress (Cupressus sempervirens).

I regard cypress as the number one oil for moving fluids in the body. It's very effective for premenstrual bloating; swollen, arthritic joints; varicose veins and generally poor circulation. These are traditional uses you'll find for cypress in any aromatherapy book. Additionally, I've found it's one of the best essential oils for traumatic soft tissue injuries, such as sprains and the severe edema resulting from aggressive surgeries such as liposuction. 

Most aromatherapists will recommend essential oils such as helichrysum, myrrh, yarrow and black pepper for bruising. Cypress is not only cheaper, but much more effective. I've sometimes seen small bruises disappear overnight after one application of cypress.

My situation was a bit more serious. I made a cold compress using 6 drops cypress and 2 drops helichrysum, wrapping my forearm in a giant frozen gel pack. This was left on for 45 minutes, and the process was repeated a few hours later. I did two more of these compresses the next day, and the bruise had turned a faded yellowish green by the time I'd removed the fourth compress. There was still considerable swelling and stiffness, but nothing close to what I'd experienced the day before. On the third day, I eliminated the helichrysum and began using cypress oil only, both with and without cold compresses and ice. Within a week, all of the bruising and most of the pain had disappeared, although some swelling still remains. Healing was sufficient enough to allow the area to be massaged to alleviate stiffness without causing further trauma to the arm. I am continuing to apply cypress in the evenings if soft tissue swelling returns after a long work day.

The next time you encounter bumps and bruises, break out the cypress oil. You'll be happily surprised at how well it accelerates the healing process.



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