Four Natural Home Remedies for Bruised Ribs

Updated on April 14, 2017
The Earth Goat profile image

These home remedies worked for me when I bruised my ribs after a cycling accident.

My Bike Accident

There I was, thinking I was stylish whilst zipping round Brighton town centre on my Dutch bike. I was so busy feeling cool, I neglected to look where I was headed—and I had to swerve to avoid hitting an elderly couple. I took a tumble across a low wall. Lying on the ground, pride dented severely, I mentally checked myself. I'd left the skin on my knuckles somewhere and my foot was sore, but the worst pain was from my lower right ribs.

Initially I thought I might have broken a rib. From my crumpled position, I took a few deep breaths, both to calm down and to make sure that a rib hadn't punctured a lung. My breathing was stable and my lower right ribs painful, but not unbearably so. I stood up very, very gingerly, holding my side and staggered home using my bike for support.

Safely back at the flat, I cleaned out my gritty knuckles with a bubbling solution of 3% hydrogen peroxide before wrapping with clean gauze and rubbed a little arnica gel into the burgeoning bruise on my foot. Much as I prefer natural home remedies to conventional medicine, I made an appointment to see my doctor, just to make sure I wasn't at death's door and confirm my suspicions about the bruised ribs.

Consult Your Doctor

If you believe you have injured your ribs, always seek medical attention. Punctured lungs caused by broken ribs can be life-threatening. Whilst I report here on what worked for me, please consult a qualified medical practitioner before embarking on any natural home remedy treatment.

Accelerating the healing of bruised ribs

So I visited my doctor. She agreed that it was simply bad bruising to the muscles around the right side of my rib cage, caused by the jarring movement in the ribs when I landed across the wall. Unfortunately, the only remedies conventional medicine offer those suffering the pain and discomfort of bruised ribs are rest and painkillers. She estimated a painful extended healing time of two to three weeks!

I have a busy schedule and was in the throes of renovating my flat, so two to three weeks was time I didn't have. I started investigating ways I could use simple home remedies to heal my bruised ribs and get back to my normal routine faster. After some home study, I decided to throw the following natural remedy regime at the painful bruised ribs:

  1. Raw apple cider vinegar compresses
  2. Epsom salt and lavender oil baths
  3. Turmeric
  4. Blackstrap molasses tea

Raw and packed with nutrients

Raw apple cider vinegar
Raw apple cider vinegar | Source

Apple cider vinegar compresses

Three times a day, I mixed a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with the same amount of water. I dipped a clean muslin rag or paper towel into the apple cider vinegar mixture and held it against my bruised ribs firmly for about 15 minutes.

Raw, unpasteurised apple cider vinegar with the 'mother' has traditionally been used to heal bruises. As the bright complexion of anyone who takes apple cider vinegar regularly will testify, it stimulates the blood circulation. In this case, apple cider vinegar helps the body to remove the clotted blood from beneath the skin, both improving the appearance of the bruising and speeding healing.

Epsom salt and lavender oil baths

Normally, I shower to conserve water, so a daily bath for a week felt like absolute luxury. The body absorbs magnesium sulphate through the skin as you soak in an Epsom salts bath, which helps to reduce the inflammation of the bruised ribs. It pays to have Epsom salts in your bathroom cupboard, as they can be bought very cheaply from your local pharmacy or online and are brilliant for soothing all kinds of aches and pains.

I added a cupful of Epsom salts to a warm, not hot, bath, along with a couple of drops of lavender oil to promote relaxation of the muscles.

Nature's healer

Turmeric powder
Turmeric powder | Source


Completely natural and safe, turmeric is one of the most powerful home remedies for the treatment of injuries. Turmeric's active ingredient, curcumin, is a potent anti-inflammatory, an effective painkiller and also speeds healing.

I took a teaspoon of turmeric with a grind of black pepper (piperine, one of the chemicals in ordinary black pepper, enhances the bioavailability of turmeric significantly) in water three times a day. I'm used to downing it quickly, but if you're not a fan you can buy the active ingredient, curcumin, in capsule form for convenience. 

Blackstrap molasses tea

Another traditional home remedy, blackstrap molasses has long been used by arthritis sufferers as an alternative to conventional pain relief, so I thought I'd try it for my aching bruised ribs.

I drank a tablespoon of blackstrap molasses dissolved in water once daily whilst my bruised ribs healed. Blackstrap molasses assuages my sweet tooth and is packed with iron, magnesium and potassium to support the body while it heals.

So, how long did it take me to heal my bruised ribs?

When you bruise your ribs, the first thing you notice is how you use the muscles supporting your rib cage - bending, lifting, gesturing, reaching, turning in bed, everything is painful with bruised ribs. The evening of the day of the accident, I felt like crying just standing still.

The blackstrap molasses tea helped initially, mainly psychologically I think, as it soothed and warmed me after a difficult day. I noticed after each Epsom salts bath my back muscles felt looser, which definitely made a positive difference to the pain in my side.

After literally three days following the home remedy treatment for my bruised ribs, I was back on my bicycle again! I was most definitely avoiding the bumps in the road, but able to get to an important meeting in town and sit through an hour and a half without too much discomfort. The 'old lady' feeling of tension and aches lasted for just over a week all-in-all.

Obviously, without injuring my ribs again and testing the doctor's course of bed rest and conventional painkillers, I can't tell whether my home remedy for my bruised ribs worked more effectively. I can only say that I felt better knowing I was giving my body the best chance of recovery by piling on all the good stuff!


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    • profile image

      Abbigail 2 months ago

      Thankyou. Husbands done his ribs. Dr gave him medication but adding this to the mix!

    • profile image

      Lulu Cabeza 6 months ago

      I will give these suggestions a try today. I too bruised my entire rib cage this w/end while moving furniture and slipped on a puddle of water. Needless to say, the pain is excruciating!! I am wearing a soft brace to help with movement. This condition of bruised ribs is really agonizing. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      jessie sobol 6 months ago

      I was notified that if you are a smoker and do have a bruised rib it doesn't help. You would need to quit for a little and focus on your breathing. And control your breathing.

    • profile image

      Linda 18 months ago

      Thanks so much - I just fell in the shower - whacking a few ribs. So, I'm following your suggestions.

    • profile image

      Helena 18 months ago

      These remedies are a lifesaver! I bruise easily as it is, however I recently bruised my ribs, I have been resting but I have a concert to attend tomorrow. I saw this a few days ago and decided to try the ideas out. It worked like a charm. Of course, they're not 100% better but at least I can jump and move around without whimpering in pain haha

    • profile image

      Annalee 21 months ago

      Thankyou so much for taking the time to look into the natural remedies for a fractured or bruised rib (s) I too enjoyed the warm and open way you explained your findings and end results My bruised feeling is higher, under breast bone, and am in need of relief and getting back to usual tasks These are all remedies that I keep on hand Grateful to know the right combination.

    • profile image

      Sandy 2 years ago

      Thanks a millions for your post. I had a car accident nearly four months ago. I was in front seat of passenger. It was a tremendous shock because I did not know it is coming. I was breathless and mechanically I took out my seat belt, opened the door and came out of the car for fresh breath. I am claustrophobic anyway. We were taken to to the hospital immediately and x ray reports said that there is no fracture in my ribs. After two three days, after browsing for a long time for home remedy I came across your wonderful article and I told my friend about your epsom salt remedy. She gave me epsom salt and lavender oil and I took tub bath and immediately felft 90% better. I even forgot about my pain and in the process i lifted something heavy and again the pain started. But then later on i was careful and the pain became less by every passing day. But for the past two days when weather started to warm up little bit, I did some work in the yard, like removing dead plants, cutting some bushes etc. Again the rib is paining. (the rib pain is the right side and sometime I am feeling the pain, (right now I am feeling the burning sensation in the surrounding areas of the ribs as I am typing this msg.) I would like some advice on this.I am always scared to go the doctor and hence love to feel and get better with home remedies and positive affirmations.

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      Kay 3 years ago

      Warm castor oil packs are also a quick way to heal the rib and attached muscles.

      Thanks for the additional info.

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      ludovico 4 years ago

      I'm going to try your natural cures, because today I bruised my ribs at the bottom of my cage, and I will honestly tell you what happens.

      I'm fascinated by your knowledge, and by the way you communicate your message…so precise, so straight forward, and so warmly. It makes you a great story teller!


      If you are not yet a naturopath, I think you should seriously consider to go for it, because I know something about natural cures, and it’s clear to me, that you have a natural talent for it! And in this “new age” we are entering to, definitely we need more people like you.


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      Gg 5 years ago

      I agree that these remedies can help if it is merely bruised ribs. They can even help with the soft tissue issues of broken ribs. BUT IT IS REALLY IMPORTANT TO SEE A DOCTOR FIRST. The ribcage encases all the vital organs.Damage to the ribcage can mean damage to organs as well. With either bruised of broken ribs, you will be tempted breath shallowly. This can cause ongoing breathing problems. The doctor will give you simple ( but painful) regime to ensure that at least once an hour you are taking deep breaths. And he or she will be able to explain what a deep breath is.

    • profile image

      The Earth Goat 7 years ago

      Thanks Kim. I've been enjoying Hubpages too. I think getting the first one done is a real mental boost - I've had a ton of other ideas for hubs overnight!

      I'm no expert on home remedies, just the recipient of lots of family hand-me-downs which I've backed up with a little of my own research. One day I'd like to get qualified though!

      Thanks again for reading,


    • KimGrkker profile image

      KimGrkker 7 years ago

      Good advice. Where did you learn about natural remedies? It is helpful to have this knowledge. Thanks again. I have yet to write a hub. I am truly humbled by all the information shared on hub pages.

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