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Black eyes and bruise marks resulting from injury are caused by blood leaking out of capillaries beneath the skin’s surface. A good approach is always to aim for rebuilding the capillary walls, strengthening them against future bruising.

The best nutritional substances for strengthening capillary walls are Vitamin C and bioflavanoids found in oranges and other citrus fruits or nutritional supplements. Vitamin C and bioflavanoids are produced together in citrus fruits and should be taken together as supplements. Some naturopaths also recommend eating pineapple for a substance called bromelain, a protein-digesting enzyme.

Pycnogenol is the brand name for a chemical found in grape seeds and pine bark. Recently, Pycogenol has become popular as a natural treatment for black and blue marks. It is supposed to increase levels of Vitamin C on the cellular level and fortify capillaries. A much less expensive source than Pycnogenol is fresh blended grape juice with seeds.

The herb comfrey has been discovered to contain allantoin, a chemical that promotes skin repair. Comfrey should be used only externally. Apply ice to the affected area and follow it with a bandage soaked in comfrey tea. Quick first aid application can prevent some of the discoloration of a black and blue mark.

Arnica is a pain-reliever, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic. This herb, too, should be used externally. Steep one teaspoon of the dried herb in boiling water until the water is cool. Soak a clean cloth with the tea and apply it to the bruise. A few drops of tincture of arnica in a cup of water will also work. If you use an arnica ointment from a store, look for 15% arnica oil on the ingredients list.

Applying a sage tea compress for an hour or overnight speeds healing. To make the compress, soak gauze in a strong sage tea. Wring out the compress and apply it to the bruise, leaving it in place until it cools down. Repeat three times a day, leaving the compress on for 30 minutes.

Compresses soaked in cool water spiked with four drops of essential oils--such as yarrow, hyssop, or lavender--will help control bleeding under the skin. Use the compresses once or twice a day for ten minutes at a time. Follow with ice wrapped in a towel and applied to the bruise.

A topical liniment called Tieh Ta Jow is effective for relief of bruise discomfort and helps to clear up black and blue marks. Tieh Ta Jow contains 26 herbs and is an ancient Chinese herbal formula.

These nutritional substances and herbal products can help with ordinary bruises you know are caused by trauma. But if you find yourself breaking out in black and blue marks for no discernible reason, see your doctor.