The pain and bruising of a broken bone can be quite terrible, and it would seem there’s nothing to do but set the bone and wait for it to knit back together. But there are actually natural remedies that can speed the healing. One of them uses comfrey, a perennial herb that’s native to Europe and Eurasia. Both the leaves and roots of comfrey are used medicinally, and it is so good at healing broken bones and bruises that its other names are knit bone, boneset, and bruisewort. Here are three recipes:
1. Mince 2.5 ounces of comfrey root, and place in a large pot. Pour in a quart of boiling milk, and heat until it comes to a boil again. Boil for 20 minutes, remove from the heat and let it steep for six hours.
After the mixture has steeped, soak a clean towel in it, and place on the injury. Change the dressings every four hours for the first 24 hours. After that, change the dressings as needed.
2. Chop 4 tablespoons of comfrey root. Place in a saucepan, add some boiling milk, then placed over medium heat. Let it boil for 10 minutes. When it’s cool, soak a towel in it, and place on the injuries. Change the dressing every four hours.
3. This remedy uses a tincture of comfrey, which is a very concentrated type of tea. Combine 4 ounces of finely chopped comfrey leaves with a pint of spirits in a bottle or jar that can be tightly sealed. The fewer congeners the spirits have the better. Vodka is ideal. Shake the mixture a few times a day for two weeks. Let the comfrey leaves settle, then strain the liquid into a clean bottle and store in a cool, dry place. To use, rub the tincture on the injury, and wrap it up in nylon.
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About the Plant
The comfrey plant grows to about two to three feet high, with long, oval, basal leaves that can grow up to a foot long. They’re covered with fine, prickly hairs, so it’s best to handle the plant with gloves. A stalk grows from the basal leaves that have smaller leaves and racemes of cream or purple flowers that bloom from May till the end of summer. It’s not unusual for the plant to have seeds, flowers, and buds at the same time.
The root of the comfrey is about an inch thick and can grow over a foot long. It is black on the outside, has a white interior and grows just beneath the soil. Botanists describe the root as fleshy, juicy and mucilaginous, somewhat like okra.
The best way to grow comfrey is from root cuttings. Plant cuttings about three to six inches down and two to their feet apart in a place that gets part shade. Make sure it gets pretty of water. It might be wise to keep comfrey in a container, for if it likes where it’s planted, it can become invasive.
Though comfrey is excellent externally, it probably should not be ingested due to certain alkaloids in the plant that have been linked to liver damage. The alkaloids are concentrated in the roots. There’s a moderate amount of the young leaves and small amounts of older leaves.
Known for centuries for its medicinal properties, comfrey is a humble plant with powerful healing qualities when it comes to broken bones and their attendant bruises.