Over the last few weeks, the fields close to my home have begun to blossom with carpets of white. Maybe I’m noticing it because I’m at home more frequently during the lockdown or maybe less people are using the fields for ballgames, so the grass has been left to grow for longer.
Either way, it got me thinking about the common daisy. It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to look across such a large expanse of grass and see so many of them. Daisies are one of my favourite flowers, they’re small and humble and bring back memories of running wild as a child across fields and grasslands. Yet, despite my love of daisies, I rarely bring them into my clinical practice.
Our native daisy is called Bellis perennis, and it can be used in much the same way as the more commonly known arnica. Arnica is a famous remedy for treating injuries, joint pain and bruising. Arnica creams licensed for bruising are found in most chemists across the UK.
Unlike arnica, our daisy is native to our own country, so it’s interesting that it falls beneath the shadow of it’s exotic cousin.
Bruising can start to occur more frequently, especially as we age and our blood vessels get weaker. Bruising is the result of breaks in blood vessels that allow blood to leak into the surrounding tissues, giving that dark blue-purple colour to the skin that turns yellow as it breaks down to be cleared away.
Some medicines for heart conditions make the blood thinner, so in addition to weakened blood vessels, more blood can bleed through the gaps, making bruises larger and longer lasting.
Using arnica to treat bruises is common, both in homeopathic tablets and as a over the counter cream. If you feel like getting native and creative, now is the perfect time to gather some daisies to make your own. It’s a great activity to do with children.
Unlike arnica, daisies are non toxic so they can enjoy making daisy chains to gift each other with or have competitions to see who can create the longest. Traditionally, daisies are a flower of friendship and of bringing people together, so getting out as a family to do this is a great way to spend time outdoors.
Choose a base oil of your choice, sweet almond oil works well here as the high vitamin E content helps to prevent scarring. Coconut oil is also an excellent choice for scrapes, as it is antimicrobial.
Add the daisies to a pan and cover with oil before gently warming over a very low heat, warm it, don’t
cook it! The oil should start to pick up the scent of the flowers.
Once ready, strain through a sieve or muslin cloth, discard the left over plant matter, bottle and seal the oil and bingo, you have your own native bruising cream. Keep it refrigerated once opened or store in a dark cupboard and apply to bruises as required.
In France, the common daisy is more renowned for its benefit to rheumatic conditions, so if like me, you have some stiff joints or old injuries, I’d definitely make a big batch.
Keeping the blood vessels strong may help to avoid frequent bruising, so eat a diet rich in fruit and vegetables, which provide plenty of vitamin C. Blueberries are particularly well known for their affinity with the microcirculatory system, helping to support the structure of tiny blood vessels called capillaries. Use them to protect the blood supply to the eyes for eye health and to prevent thread veins that can appear on the skin as the tiny parts of our veins weaken and begin to sag.
Unexplained bruising should always be checked out by a medical professional, but bumps and scrapes are just a part of living life. I adore arnica and use it a lot in my practice, but looking out at the fields this spring, I believe this year I’ll stick to my home roots and give the humble daisy a turn in the spotlight.
For more information on herbal health, contact Nicola at her clinic on 01524 413733.