Well I finally got hurt - took a falling knee to the side of my shin and have a hell of a welt there now. Leg injuries like this suck because they impact your walking and then your hips hurt, and then your back, and then your shoulders ... just terrible.

To treat initially, I just wrapped the contusion in gauze and soaked with Witch Hazel. This is quite effective - much more so than ice. Remember, ice is for dead people. The next day, I went to the health food store and got an Arnica compound over the counter, and some homeopathic trauma pills. So far it is pretty successful - I probably will only miss one class, and I am about 90% mobile.

I own a copy of A Tooth from the Tiger's Mouth: an excellent book about traditional Chinese medicine as it applies to sports injuries. That got me started on trauma liniment or Dit Da Jow (spelled a hundred ways) which is basically witch hazel with a bunch of herbs, steeped in alcohol. It is designed to prevent the pooling of blood in a contusion and it really works quite well.

I decided to make my own for the next time I am hurt, and did a little online research to find some recipes. Basically, there are three categories of herbs that are needed: pain reduction, blood flow stimulation, and blood clot reduction. They are soaked in vodka (not everclear, you need some water too) for a few months, then you are good to go. Here are a few of the recipes that I found:

American Die Du Jow

  • Alcohol (Vodka, Gin, Brandy - even Rubbing Alcohol) 1 or 2 quarts
  • Breadstraw
  • Calendula (Marigold)
  • Camomile
  • Comfrey (if you can still get it - you may have to grow your own if you want to add this)
  • Common Club Moss
  • Cow slip
  • Dandelion
  • Shepherd's Purse
  • Stinging Nettle
  • St. John's Wort
  • Wintergreen oil

Traditional Jow

  • 1 bottle of strong vodka, gin or Chinese rice wine
  • Artemesia (Liu ji nu) - 5g
  • Borneol (Bingpian) - 1g
  • Carthamus (Honghua) - 5g
  • Catechu (Ercha) - 8g
  • Cinnabar (Zhusha) - 5g
  • Cirsium (DaJi) - 1g
  • Dragon's Blood (Xuejie) - 30g
  • Mastic (Ruxiang) - 5g
  • Musk (Shexiang) - 1g
  • Myrrh (Moyao) - 5g
  • Pinellia (ShengBanXia) - 5g

Another simple one


  • Arnica blossoms (anti-inflamatory, pain relief)
  • Comfrey (anti-inflamatory, pain relief)
  • Blessed Thistle (blood purifier)
  • Goldenseal root (antibiotic, wound healing)
  • Ginger root (circulation, wound healing, pain relief)
  • Myrrh (antiseptic, circulation, wound healing)
  • Sasparilla root (blood purifier)
  • Witch Hazel (anti-inflamatory, pain relief)

Chinese formula


  • ru xiang, 12 grams
  • mo yao, 12 grams
  • chi shao, 12 grams
  • mu xiang, 12 grams
  • hong hua, 9 grams
  • tao ren, 9 grams
  • dang gui wei, 12 grams
  • pu huang, 12 grams
  • da huang tan, 9 grams
  • tian qi, 12 grams
  • xue ji, 9 grams
  • ding xiang, 9 grams

Remember, this formula is VERY TOXIC and should NEVER be taken internally or used on an open wound. You will end up in the emergency room if you screw up. If the skin is broken, and the bruise is deep, go to the doctor. It's just not worth being hurt for a long time.

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