Accelerated healing is an ability of Vampires, Werewolves, Hybrids, Immortals, and occasionally, Witches to heal from physical injuries at supernatural speeds. This allows users to regenerate and fully recover from injuries such as gunshots, broken bones, blood loss, snapped necks, burns, bite wounds, and brain aneurysms in a matter of seconds/minutes, depending on the injury.
Accelerated healing varies from user to user although, it is usually the oldest who are able to heal faster than younger users.
A vampire is a supernatural being that can heal from most wounds in seconds. Arguably their most prominent advantage, their wounds are shown to be completely gone within seconds to minutes, depending on the severity of the injury. They can heal from any type of injury which are non-fatal. Vampires cannot heal from decapitation, heart extraction, being set on fire (unless the fire is put out), and from being staked in the heart.
- A vampire who is drinking human blood can heal even faster than a vampire who is drinking animal blood. This has been seen when Damon, who drinks human blood, was stabbed with a knife by Stefan, and seemed unfazed by the pain and healed in seconds; but when Damon stabbed Stefan, who was only drinking animal blood, he showed more response to the pain and it took noticeably longer for his wound to heal. And even then, Stefan has displayed being able to recover quickly from superfical wounds despite his restrained diet.
- They can also heal from burns inflicted by vervain or the sun although it will take a few more seconds then normally.
- If vampires have been starved of blood for a long enough period of time, and have ingested vervain (by injection, inhalation, or eating/drinking it), their wounds will take much longer to heal, as evidenced by Caroline when she was tortured by her dad to suppress her vampiric nature; when Tyler rescued her, she still had burns and gashes on her body that hadn't fully healed. When Frederick kidnapped and tortured Stefan, he also had difficulty healing, and was forced to drink Elena's blood to give him the strength to save them both from death.
- There are some cases where Vampires will not heal from wounds they obtained before transitioning. The best example of this is the fact that all the female Vampires in the show are still able to wear earrings. The same could also be said of tattoos that were made before the transition.
- Vampires cannot heal from werewolf venom without the use of Klaus's blood. Without the blood and depending on the the werewolf that bite them, a vampire will hallucinate and die anywhere from a day to multiple days.
- Original Vampires have a resistance to werewolf venom unlike normal vampires.
Werewolves also possess a healing factor which is on par with a Vampires healing factor, however only for small wounds such as small cuts, slight burns etc. They cannot however heal as quickly as Vampires when it comes to more serious injuries such as gunshots, stab wounds (with the exception of silver) etc. This is shown when Tyler is shot in Wolf form, yet is still heavily bruised the following day. They also cannot heal from fatal injuries e.g. broken neck, as they are not undead like Vampires.
- Tyler was shot in wolf form and his wound took a good while to fully heal even after reverting to human form.
- Mason is seen healing from a burn inflicted by wolfsbane, though not as fast as a vampire burned with vervain.
- Contrary to popular lore, these werewolves are not affected by silver, they actually heal from it on a vampire healing level, as seen when Damon stabs Mason with a silver knife and Sarah stabs Tyler with the letter opener; both healed easily.
Werewolf-vampire hybrids experience the "best" of both worlds in their ability to heal quickly. They are able to heal nearly every injury except decapitation and heart extraction.
- They also heal from silver which is why the White Oak Ash Dagger doesn't work on Klaus.
- Tyler has survived many attacks after being turned into a hybrid; the first time, Connor Jordan shook his hand, wearing vervain-soaked clothes that burned him. When he mistook Tyler (a Hybrid) was a vampire, he shot him in the heart and chest with wooden bullets; Stefan told Tyler that he was lucky, because if he had been a normal vampire, he probably would have died, noting that the bullets had also been steeped in vervain. The second time, Tyler was attacked at the Council Memorial again by Connor, who shot him in the chest (probably through the heart) with a wooden stake out of a stake-launcher while he was speaking in front of the memorial service. He was briefly unconscious until Caroline pulls the stake out of his chest, and Tyler awoke and coughed severely for several seconds until his wound healed. Again, had he been a regular vampire, he would have died.
Witches also possess this ability. However, Damon said that the witch Emily Bennett spent years learning how to do such spells, implying that they are very difficult to master or they require a greater power and focus. Ayana, a Bennett ancestor, was her village's Healer indicating her skill level and proficiency over this delicate and tedious form of magic. Esther once pleaded to her to save her son though she claimed that the spirits would not give them a way as he had already passed on. This would have thus required a resurrection spell, which went against Nature, which Ayana served devoutly.
One of the only witches shown actually using the healing spell on him/herself was Bonnie Bennett, who was a user of expression. Bonnie was able to recover and retaliate quickly after a Vampire attack.
Freya Mikaelson and Dahlia are two of the most recent witches to display this power. Freya performed this spell a total of three times: To heal Rebekah's hand (in the body of Eva), and twice to restore the bodies of Vincent and Eva so that Rebekah and Finn's spirits could possess them after they died, respectively. Dahlia was able to break and heal a powerful hex/curse that crippled Josephine LaRue's hands (a feat that the Regent would not, or could, not reverse.) Given their ages (biological a thousands years) and the power they accumulated, this was considered to be an easy feat.
These spells have there limits and seem to only work on the physically (or mortally) wounded, as given Freya's power, could not heal herself from the poison in her body, or the Beast's bite Camille O'Connell received that resulted in her death.
Immortals have an extreme healing factor on par with that of vampires. They can heal from anything like knife wounds to gunshots. However since they are truly immortal, they can survive spinal damage and cannot have their hearts ripped out.
- Magic: Witches can exploit accelerated healing in most supernatural creature. For example, they can give vampires brain aneurysms over and over again, causing them great pain and incapacitating them. This also seems to affect other supernaturals with accelerated healing, like werewolves and hybrids.
- Severe Physical Damage/Trauma: A vampire or hybrid can not be recovered in great bodily harm, or the removal of a body part. The heart and the spine are two important elements that can not be regenerated, because they are the main elements for the flow of blood and other organs restoration. The brain can be damaged but regenerates after a while.
- Werewolf Venom: Non-original Vampires cannot heal from werewolf venom without the use of Klaus's blood. Without the blood and depending on the the werewolf that bite them, a vampire will hallucinate and die anywhere from a day to multiple days. Original Vampires have a resistance to werewolf venom unlike normal vampires.
- Cancer: Accelerated healing boosts the rate in which cells grow which usually heals the user. However if a person who has cancer was turned into a Vampire the cells will grow out of control due to the vampire blood not differentiating between cancerous cells and healthy ones.