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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

If I Could Only Grow Four plants in my Garden...

   Comfrey (Symphytum Officinale) would be one of them. Known by the folk names of knitbone, bonewort, boneset, consormel, and knitback, it is one of Mother Nature's most healing plants. According to The New Age Herbalist "Comfrey is one of the most famed healing plants. It's remarkable power to heal tissue and bone is due to its high Allantoin content. Allantoin is a cell proliferant that promotes the growth of connective tissue, bone and cartilage, and is easily absorbed through the skin. Research has shown that Comfrey has the ability to break down red blood cells, a finding that supports its use for bruises, hence its country name, bruisewort." (p. 33; 1988, Gaia Books Ltd, London; Macmillan Publishing, New York, NY.)
   This plant grows all along the canals in Britain, with its large, hairy leaves, bell shaped pinky-purple flowers, and tough tap root that reaches quite deep into the soil.
   As many folks who follow along with me on FaceBook are aware, I injured my left foot last December climbing off NB Valerie to walk into town for groceries. I stepped down on the edge of the metal skirting--it being hidden amongst tall grass--with my full weight and the damage was done all along the length of my foot which swelled terribly.
   I took Codis 500 and tried to ignore the pain for months until I realized my foot was not getting better. Two hours of walking made it swell and throb so badly I could barely stand on it or fit my swollen foot into shoes and boots.
   Finally this past May a trip to Accidents and Minor Emergency at a nearby hospital resulted in an x-ray and a examination by a Physician's Assistant who said it was impossible to tell if I had broken my foot since the original injury occurred five months previously and bone heals quite fast. She could see I had soft tissue damage and "that takes a very long time to heal." She said it would take up to a year and maybe a bit more to repair completely and recommended I stay off my foot as much as possible and keep it elevated!
   Well, this isn't really possible when living on a boat with no car, and walking everywhere for anything we need. I purchased Arnica cream at Holland & Barrett's which took a bit of the swelling down but only minimally. This is because this commercial product only has 0.09% Arnica by volume. (How to make your own Arnica tincture that is 98% by Vol. is a future blog post!)
   I stravaged on but noticed that when I lay in bed at night the slightest touch of my foot against anything was painful and it still felt bruised after all this time.
   In one of those synchronistic events, we moored up at High Lane Bridge in Stockport on the Macclesfield canal so Les could begin his interior remodeling session two weeks ago and a lovely young couple were moored right in front of us. She is a podiatrist, and after I told her about my foot she reminded me about Comfrey; having sprained her own ankle the day before, she gathered Comfrey leaves, mashed it up and poulticed her ankle which was already feeling better.
   Taking her example to heart, we found some Comfrey and I mashed it in my mortar and pestle, slapped it on my foot, wrapped my foot in cling film, slipped a sock over it and slept all night that way. In the morning my foot didn't hurt, the swelling was nearly gone and I could walk with my full weight on it! In fact I just now stood and did dishes and I wasn't even aware of my left foot--for the first time since December! I will continue to poultice with Comfrey for another week to ensure full healing.
   I was inspired to write this post for Vic on No Problem who has injured his arm with a rather bad bruise according to his wife Sue. It is not always easy to get an appointment for a doctor while continuously cruising. Even then the most they can usually do is prescribe anti-inflammatories and tell you to take it easy. Nature's medicine chest is right outside our doors, easily obtained and contains strong and effective cures for so many things that ail us. Heal well and quickly Vic!


James said...

Very interesting blog, let us know if it continues to work. Thanks for sharing :-)

Les Biggs said...

Hi James and Debbie,
I will keep you posted. I am a medicinal herbalist. I trained with a master hebalsit for nine years and day.

I used an alternative treatment to heal myself after a diagnosis of ovarian cancer in 2007. I am cancer free and remain so.

I've added your blog to our rolling list of blog posts and you and your boat to our boater's list. I see you are a fan of nettles too! :)

Thanks for touching bases with us!

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs