Saturday, May 22, 2010

Self-Reliant Health - Comfrey

Comfrey is one of the first herbs I ever used, and another one that I would highly recommend everyone keeping on hand. It is an amazing herb for healing wounds and injuries. It is known as a "cell proliferant". In other words, it promotes cell growth in the repair process. The Blackfoot Indians from this area refer to comfrey as "bone knit." It can be used topically as a poultice or in a healing salve - or "green" salve. Most "green" healing salves you buy will have comfrey as the main ingredient.

Comfrey Healing Salve
I've made my own healing salves over the years and always keep some "green salve" on hand. It is also easy to find in health stores and not very expensive. Comfrey is easy to grow and will spread if not kept under control. A couple of plants were added to my parent's garden area and left to grow freely, and now they have about 1/4 acre of fresh, organic comfrey!

In our home we use a comfrey salve on any cuts or open wounds. With 3 boys, we've had plenty of injuries over the years. If comfrey is kept on the wound until healing is complete, there is usually no scar left behind.

A friend of ours used a homemade comfrey salve on her son's finger when he accidentally cut the tip off. He had severed the entire pad on the end of one finger, leaving only the skin attached on one side. They laid the pad back on and covered the entire end of the finger with the salve and wrapped it up. It healed with no visible scar and complete feeling.

Comfrey Poultice
We've also had a lot of experience in our family using comfrey poultices. To make a poultice, you either blend the fresh comfrey plant in the blender, or use a dried comfrey powder. Both the plant and the roots are used for healing. You can mix other healing herbs with it, or use just the comfrey. Make a paste out of it by mixing it with Wheat Germ Oil or some other oil. Honey also has healing properties and can be added to the mixture.

On one occasion, a friend of ours who is a fiddle player dislocated his elbow in a biking accident. The elbow was moved completely out of it's socket and the ligaments pulled. Since it was the "bowing" (right) arm that was injured, the one that gets the most movement, the doctor told him he would not be able to play the fiddle for several months. We made a poultice with comfrey powder and Wheat Germ oil and covered his entire elbow with it. Plastic was laid over the comfrey mixture and then wrapped in flannel. Within 2 weeks he was playing again just fine.

My brother has used comfrey poultices with great success. When his daughter broke her wrist, they had it x-rayed and found she had a buckle fracture. He put a comfrey poultice over the fractured area, covered it with gauze and then loosely wrapped it with Saran Wrap so she could sleep without getting it on the bedding. The aching stopped and she had no more pain. The fracture had been completely healed when it was checked again at 5 weeks.

My aunt had a horse who was badly injured when a barn collapsed. A large hole was gouged in it's rump area. My brother made a poultice from comfrey, lobelia, plantain, dandelion root, carrot juice, honey and Wheat Germ oil. He harvested all the herbs fresh except for the lobelia, which he had some dried plant on hand that he had bought. He blended it all together in the blender, and they packed the hole, which was big enough to put your fist into, with the mixture. Puss oozed out when they packed it in. They covered it with gauze and taped it in place. After a few weeks it was completely healed. Even the hair grew back completely and in it's natural color. Often, with horses, if the hair regrows over a wound, it will grow back white, without the normal pigment.

When my aunt took her horse to the veterinarian initially, she was told that it should be put down (killed) because it would not be able to heal well enough to ever function normally. Well, since her horses are like her kids, she took him home and called my brother. A few weeks later, she took the horse back to the vet who was shocked. He had never seen anything heal like that and wanted to know what she had done. She just told him that her nephew had "filled it with some weeds"!

Another horse was badly injured on his front shoulder. We think he'd been chased by a mountain lion since another horse with him had claw marks down his rump. The horse ran into a fence or the end of a log or something that tore a large hole, almost the size of a dinner plate, and a couple inches deep. Like the first horse, the wound was packed full of a very similar mixture. Within a few weeks, new flesh had grown in to fill the hole, natural brown colored hair grew back over the area, and there was almost no scar. She also fed the horse 2 to 5 lbs of carrots a day to help in the healing process.

You can also take comfrey internally, but like all substances, it's wise to only use what your body needs. If you don't have an injury for your body to use it on, I would not recommend consuming it. If comfrey is growing around livestock, they will only eat it when they are wounded. We can learn a lot about how to heal ourselves, by observing what animals do naturally.

So put on your list to make a quick stop at a health food store and pick up some comfrey powder. Then you'll have it, and the next time you or someone else is injured, mix a little comfrey with some honey or oil and try it out. If you really want to be self-sufficient, get a few comfrey starts and grow your own. You can have enough to help a lot of people in a crisis. And without spending hardly anything!

5 comments:

  1. I think you must be an American Indian.
    I love the information that you gave here. We have gotten so far away from using natural remedies for things that it almost seems like witchcraft when you tell us these things.., especially to doctors,who would go out of business if we all turned to the natural world for healing.
    I think I will go out and plant some Comfrey now. Thanks

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  2. Thank you farmlady! I'm not (an Indian), but I sure learn a lot from them - and others! This doesn't all seem so strange to me because I grew up in a "normal" (whatever THAT means :)) home that just lived off a farm and used plants for medicine. I guess it's whatever you are used to, and once you try something new, it's not new anymore! It's easy. :)

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  3. If only I knew this a few years earlier...it could've saved me $500.00 at the hospital emergency room when I cut the tip of my thumb off.

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  4. you are invited to follow my blog

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  5. Have you considered linking this to sites that sell herbs? It would be nice to find useful information like this along with links to order the necessary herbs. You might be able to take make a profit on the advertising while helping your readers find what they need for healing. I broke my clavical and the top of my humerus when I was thrown from a horse. I haven't been recovering very well. My friend told me about comfrey. I made a poultice of honey and comfrey root and covered it with plastic wrap. I also put dried comfrey leaves in some chicken soup I heated in the microwave. I think it would have been better if I had had the comfrey available to add while initialy preparing the soup. (I realize the FDA has said not to eat comfrey, but I don't actually trust the FDA) I didn't have a miraculous recovery, but I did experience noticable improvement over night.

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