Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Lesson 1 Theoretical Task

As part of the Theoretical Tasks for Lesson 1 we were asked to:
 Research the structure and function of skin. How does a bruise form? What other herbs can be used to help bruises?
The skin has three layers. The inner most layer is known as the lower dermis, the middle layer is called the dermis, and the outer layer is known as the epidermis.

The Lower Dermis contains oil and sweat glands  and help the skin to eliminate waste. It also acts as a cushion for the rest of the skin. It contains the finely distributed muscles of the skin which regulate body temperature.

 The dermis is the layer that lies underneath the epidermis. It consists of bundles of tough fibers which give your skin its elasticity, firmness and strength. The most important function of dermis is respiration. Tiny blood vessels, or capillaries  feed the outer skin layer. Dermis also determines the tone of the skin.

Epidermis is the top layer of skin and protects your body from invasion and infection and helps seal in moisture. Dead skin cells flake away and are replaced by new skin cells all the time. the epidermis holds the pigment of the skin.

Blood oozes out until clotting stops the flow, and as the blood is broken down, it will turn from a purple color to an orange color from the remaining iron and hemoglobin.In other words, your vains break under the skin but your skin doesn't break, so it's kind of like bleeding on the inside.

Some Herbs that are especially helpful for bruises are arnica, lavender, St. johns wort, calendula, bilberry, comfrey, and of course in this lesson we used elderbark. Arnica is probably the most widely used herb for bruises, but when looking to treat an inflicted area it is wise to know of more than one possible treatment and make the best choice as to what is on hand at the moment.
In my research I was unable to come up with a clear answer as to why elderbark would be beneficial for bruises. It does aide in reducing inflamation and that is always helpful when there has been trauma to an area. It may not be the best choice for treatment of a bruise, but as I found out it was beneficial to my husband's bruised foot.