Hibernation Update and The Great Comfrey Plant

Well…what a slacker I have been! Not exactly…I did take some time off of blogging. However, I am ready and committed to more regular posts, so stay tuned.

It has been a very mild winter so far. In fact, it has not felt too much like winter at all. We are enjoying another week of very mild, and at times, warm temperatures. The wind sure has been gusty though. In fact, today, it is extremely windy and is creating a bit of wildfire hazard. The hens are running around like crazy. I am thinking they are not fans of this wind. It has provided a bit of guilty pleasure watching them hustle around the yard though as if they are trying to escape the wind.

Deacon broke his hand going on two weeks ago. Not a horrible break, thankfully, but enough to keep him from doing his regular chores around here like splitting wood. Fortunately, he split a whole bunch before this incident. I can, of course, split wood, but it’s kind of his “job” and he does it much more efficiently than I do. Being his dominant hand, though, it has been a bit of inconvenience and source of irritability. But it could be worse and we thankful it is not.

As one who studies plant medicine, I had heard about the benefits of Comfrey in healing fractures, broken bones, sprains, ligaments, open wounds, bruises and more. His broken hand has offered an opportunity to test its healing properties. Comfrey contains allantoin, a substance known to aid granulation and cell formation . . . which is what the healing process is all about.

The local herb store in our little town has bulk Comfrey root and leaf. Typically, Comfrey is used externally but tea is also common. Here is a word of caution for the casual user and contraindications. It contains liver toxic PAs. Pregnant women should avoid using it as well as those with liver issues. For a healthy non-pregnant person, taking internally as in root extract or leaf for tea, a daily 3 week course should pose no health risks.  External absorption poses very little, if any, risk.

I purchased two ounces of root and made a poultice. I measured 2 cups of dried root and poured boiling water over it and allowed it steep for 20 minutes. I put it all in a blender and mixed it up until thick. I added some flour to thicken it a bit more. It made quite a bit of paste and I have stored it in the refrigerator.

Dried Root
Dried Root

We spread it over the broken and bruised area, wrapped it in plastic, gauze, medical tape and then applied his splint. He kept it on overnight for two nights in a row. The moisture irritated his skin a bit, so he has decided to apply it for a few hours during the day then wash it off before bed.

He has been commenting on how much better it already feels. In fact, he has left his splint off for a couple of hours this morning and has been using it very lightly though not applying any weight to it. He is using his computer mouse and opening and closing his hand. He believes, and it makes sense, keeping the joints moving and lubricate and engaging the muscles will prevent atrophy, stiffness, and aid in healing.

There is no real scientific way to measure his progress though. The average healing time for a break such as this is about 8 weeks in a splint or cast. We will see, based on how it feels and mobility, how quickly it heals.

If this interests you, do some research on Comfrey. Here is a start.

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