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Comforting Comfrey Can Speed Recovery

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Poison ivy. It’s my bane, my scourge, the melter of my skin. And now? I will add a breaker of my bones to the list of frown-inducing encounters that I’ve had with this pesky climate change lover.

You may have noticed that I’ve been somewhat quiet lately — that’s because I fractured my wrist about 7 weeks ago. I was cleaning up that last large bed next to the house when I had a pivotal argument with a vine of poison ivy. It quickly escalated into a tug o’ war worthy of filming (though, to my knowledge, my pride escaped being caught so compromised)

To be fair, I admit to having muttered aloud hateful things for a good three hours as I pulled all the offspring of this evil mother plant. I told each and every morsel that it was mean and horrid and unworthy. Definitely one for the karma books that the tug o’ war ended in point ivy.

After ignoring the little voice suggesting that I’d done enough for the day, I decided “one more vine.” After all, I was already protectively clothed and so close to being finished that I might as well just do it.

We seemed evenly matched, that vine and I. I tugged, it held strong. This continued for several minutes. I strengthened my tugging, it continued to hold. Then all of a sudden, quick as you please with no warning whatsoever… bam. It broke and I tumbled backward on a slight downslope, all of my body weight and quite a bit of momentum onto my left wrist. A loud crack followed by a small snap then my “Aw, man!”

I checked in on my body. No nausea (whew), a little light-headed, and my wrist was starting to hurt. I hoped for a sprain. I carefully shoved the offender into the trash bag and carried it to the curb. On the way back to the house, I had to sit down twice due to the light-headedness. Not good—and my wrist was developing a rather sizable knot. Off to the hospital we went.

Confirmation: a closed, distal fracture of the radius. They wrapped me up and referred me to an orthopedic office. Thankfully, I was able to get in the next day and they fixed me up with a brilliant Exos cast (by Boa Technologies). This made me happy because I would be able to take the cast off and apply comfrey several times a day.

I would also be able to tend to the rash that developed over the next couple of weeks — that dreadful ivy plant had transferred just the tiniest bit of oil to my skin which, in turn, spread and covered the entire inside of my left arm.

The good thing is that I didn’t have to turn to steroids this time as I have figured out the perfect combination of homeopathic remedy and a wonderful product from John RedDeer Cruz. While my skin still blossoms (to put it nicely), it actually no longer melts off leaving a trail of ooze all over everything it touches.

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Using Comfrey as a Healing Agent

What about the comfrey? I have used comfrey oil, tincture, and  compresses on my broken toes for years. It has always cut the healing time in about half. I swear by the stuff! It can do wonders healing many things. I urge you to spend a little time looking into this plant if you don’t already know about it.

Two very important things to remember when using this wonder for healing:

1. Never use it on any area where infection is present (you’ll seal in the infection).

2. Don't use it without a lot of study and research when the bone has broken all the way through. Comfrey (aka boneknit) heals bones and connective tissue so well and so quickly that when used on some injuries, it can move the bones out of alignment before knitting them together out of place. Then you’re in for surgery and longer rather than shorter healing times.

This is where my closed fracture break was a blessing. I knew from experience that there was a distinct possibility that my orthopedist might be proven wrong with his initial doubt that my nearly 60-year-old body could mend this in anything close to a quick timeline.

At my two-week check-up, I was thrilled to see his raised eyebrow and suggestion that I was healing more quickly than normal. He even let me start physical therapy sooner, though on a slow track. My Physical Therapist referred to me as an outlier more than once. Both he and my orthopedist urged me to be patient as I was healing much more quickly than most people.

Patience is not one of my strong suits when I have a garden to put to bed and arting projects queued up and waiting. I’ve recently become very adept at one-handing all sorts of chores.

Comfrey Oil and Comfrey Compress

I applied comfrey oil up to five times a day, with frozen compresses once a day during the first week. In addition to my use of comfrey, I had one session of acupuncture, consumed several bowls of bone broth, was religious in taking organic plant calcium, and worked healing energy.

At this point, the only lingering hindrance is my TFCC ligament. The orthopedic physician’s assistant tells me that will take another six months to heal. My comfrey and I accept that challenge with vigor and a wee knowing smile.

Now, if I could just figure out how to make a comfrey bath large enough to immerse the planet in…

Blythe Pelham is an artist that aims to enable others to find their grounding through energy work. She is in the midst of writing a cookbook and will occasionally share bits in her blogging here. She writes, gardens and cooks in Ohio. Find her online at Humings and Being Blythe, and read all of her MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here


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