how to make a comfrey poultice

Posted on April 22nd, 2011

Two weeks I ago I sprained and hairline-fractured my ankle…and tore my tendon. I was running barefoot on ocean rocks in the rain because I was listless. “I know, I’ll do something slightly off-kilter, so I can feel a bit more alive.” In addition to demolishing my ankle I also ran into three nude men. Another story.

photo

Jo. Me. Bung ankle.

So. I can’t walk for 6 weeks, run for 3 months. It’s a sentence. It’s a sign.

But this has helped. A comfrey poultice. I researched online the various benefits. Much has been said about it’s ability to heal sprains and even fractures. I looked at the different techniques and decided to get witchy with it myself.

Frankly, I’ve come up with the Creme de la Creme of Healing, Soothing Poulticessssss.

Check this shit out…

IMG_0446 1. Cut up comfrey leaves – about six – and stick-blend in a plastic container(which means you don’t get your blender machine dirty) with some water…enough to make it soupy.

IMG_0448 2. clever trick #1: Most recipes say to add a good handful of flour to get it paste-like. Good. But I used chia bran and psyllium husk because it got it SUPER pasty. Like a rubber. You need this so you can use the poultice like a goob and it won’t run everwhere.

IMG_0450 3. I bought these little guaze swatches from the chemist for 45c. You could use an old nappy or teatowel cut in strips. I put a 1cm thick patch on each, about the size of your ankle. Or whatever.

IMG_0451

4. clever trick #2: I then applied the swatch to my ankle…and used clingwrap to keep it there. Not only holds it in place firmly, it also stops leakage! I ran a bit of surgical tape around it to keep it in place.

IMG_0452

5. clever trick #3: With the left-over swatches…I stuck them in the freezer. Which turned them into the most clever healing ice packs.

Feel free to cut and keep this for when you next go barefoot rock running in the rain on a nudist beach.

PS Got any other kind of cures like this? Favourites?

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  • http://thechocolatefigsf.com Sarah

    ugh, i once had a stress fracture in my shin and couldn’t run for 3 or 4 months. pure torture. but, you get through it and you learn. i’m much more careful with myself now.

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  • Madison

    Hey Sarah, I hope you feel better. I’m a bit confused what it is meant to do? xx

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  • Nicky

    Matching sweatshirts…how cute!

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  • Lisa

    ‘Running barefoot on ocean rocks in the rain’….even I could have told you how that story would end before seeing photos of your strapped up ankle! Perhaps it’s not so much a sign to slow down but about thinking things through more carefully.

    Must say the 5th photo looks a rather grose. But always good to hear of new ways to treat wounds. Just yesterday I heard that Emu Oil is brilliant for scars and arthritis.

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  • Jo

    Haha, yes, we matched. Although I’d like to match with the long legs also!

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  • http://melbournenaturalfertility.com.au/ Nat Kringoudis

    Take caution when applying cold temperatures to sprains & breaks beyond a few days – it slows down blood flow which can in turn draw out the healing process & sometimes actually cause further damage. Be sure to alternate heat and cold compresses to prevent this occurring. Moxa is a fabulous chinese medicine treatment which invigorates blood flow and increases healing at the same time. See if you can hunt some down. I hope you’re feeling better really soon. I’m sure with all you’re doing you’ll be back on the rocks with the nudies in no time ;)

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    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    THanks Nat…happy never to run into those nudies again!

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  • Mrs Bok

    Nude men?? Scary. Hope you recover soon!
    Comfrey tea does wonders for the garden so no wonder it helps an injury!

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    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    Recover from the nude men? Or the ankle!

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  • http://www.cassandrallen.blogspot.com/ Cassandra

    Hmm Interesting story Sarah! Yes I believe in the wonderful powers of comfrey. I have spent many a season at various ski resorts and have learnt that comfrey can be fantastic for healing sporty-induced sprains. On a side note, I like these real life photos much better than the magazine-type glamour ones you sometimes use on the blog.

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  • Leesa

    Boneset works wonders. My ex husband once had the same injury and I applied a polstice after the clinic sent him home to rest (we lived in the mountains). He was to go back on Monday – but the bone set worked so quickly – the doctor had to rebreak it to set it straight.

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    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    Noooooo!!

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  • steph

    Hey Sarah, that is hilarious , i take it you had the injury after spotting the nude men, i am just imagining you lying on the ground and the nudes bending over you!!!Imagine that view!.
    I have sprained my ankles (both) numerous times snowboarding and also by wearing heels drunk, it seems to be a recurring injury for me.
    I have always found ARNICA the best remedy and once someone gave me rhus tox and that is great too, i take arnica internally and also apply an external cream and it really helps speed up the healing for me.
    It sux you can’t excerise but it always happens to me when i need to slow down, at least we are not at the height of summer.

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  • http://www.adamcordner.com Adam

    Hi Sarah

    The typical man in me says “no way am I trying this” but, in keeping up with my effort to try new things I might just give this a go.

    I play ice hockey and sprains, breaks and bruises are frequent, I used to get over an injury alot quicker than I do now, but lately it takes a while, and an injured man becomes a little grumpy boy and hard to tolerate and manage, so the quicker I can get over it the better off humanity will be.

    I have never tried anything like this, can you suggest anything for a sore groin and back pain? At the moment I’m just complaining about them.

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  • jenna

    Hi Sarah,

    Hope your ankle gets better soon. I used boenset on my broken ribs some time ago, the rate they healed was incredible!

    I’m in my third year of herbal medicine studies at Australian StillPoint Institute in Perth, love, love, love the herbal way!! It’s certainly all very fascinating and interesting.

    Great post.

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  • Kay

    Hope you get better soon, Sarah. When I was little (in the early ’50s!) a neighbour hurt her leg – massive bruising and swelling, possible hairline fracture (?) – and the G.P. told her to use a comfrey poultice; she just bruised the comfrey and held it in place with a wide bandage. It worked really well. We knew comfrey then as ‘knitbone’.

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  • rheds

    Hi Sarah, good luck with your recovery! I sprained my ankle terribly last October, tore all the ligaments etc. I started using comfrey after about a week and the recovery really sped up as soon as I started using that. I’ve heard stories of it hleping heal broken bones really quickly (how do we convince doctors to let us slather it on before they put on the paster cast?). I’d combine your poultices with arnica for the pain and bruising. Dislocated my thumb the other day (klutzy much? yes) so its comfrey and arnica again for me!

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  • Sarah-Jayne

    Sarah,

    I’ve only recently cottoned onto your blog and if the last couple of posts are anything to go by, I think we’re travelling on the same wavelength.

    I too am working on my vata, subconsciously and consciously. I was also told last week to acquire some comfrey leaves to aid a battered foot. Too weird!

    May I ask where you rustled up (no pun intended) those leaves? They’ve hard to find. I’ve been told comfrey oil is a sufficient substitute though.

    Hope your foot is surviving and you don’t have to wear a moon boot, they’re hard to stylise. x

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  • Vera

    Hi Sarah,
    Similar story, I hopped out of my care [raining] because an elderly gentleman whom I know slightly, could not hear me calling to him to give him a lift home. As I ran after him, acrosss the road, leaping on the footpath on opposide side and down I went, rolling over on the very wet grass, spraining my ankle. All because I was chasing after a MAN to a good deed. I do not think I got a good deal at all…. You have to laugh don’t you??!
    However, I massaged Hirudoid Cream into my foot, ankle and above around the bottom of my leg. It works wonders. Bruisisng is drawn out and away goes the pain. Of course I sat with the leg up for the afternoon. Visualising how I must have looked rolling the wet grass.. how [dis]graceful can one be???
    Vera

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  • Jane

    I just read the ‘and I also ran into three nude men’ bit. Thanks for the laugh :)
    I get the running on wet rocks idea because of being listless, when I’m feeling a bit blah I find a bush track or a rough coastal path, the concentration needed to run on those tracks always focuses my mind, it’s a great way to be in the moment and crowd out any other thoughts. The negative bit being the propensity to fall once in a while so it’s interesting to hear fresh comfrey works. I’ve only ever seen the ointment.

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  • Jacki

    I use a similar application of whipped up egg whites for bruises. Pop one on overnight and it can make a huge difference!

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  • Charlie

    Hi Sarah

    A very close friend of mine has done a real number on his ankle on Saturday night – tearing ligaments off the bone. He is a professional rugby player and I want to help him ease the pain and swelling and help get him back on the field as soon as possible.

    I came straight to this post – this may sound incredibly stupid but where do I find comfrey leaves can I buy them at a florist? or do I need to start peering into peoples gardens?

    Also is there any other herbal remedies I can suggest to him as he is willing (god love him) to try anything “magical”.

    I hope your Healing well!

    Best wishes

    Charlie

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  • m

    I have just purchased your “I Quit Sugar” book. The version I printed off cuts letters out of words which makes it difficult to read (and re-read) smoothly. WIll I be sent a complete version by post if I ordered this online?
    M

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  • alex

    Hi Sarah
    Stumbled across this searching for a recipe to help heal Mum’s broken arm. She got herself a new pair of rollerskates, enough said. Great info! Thanks mate, you’re a legend
    Alex

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  • Nona

    Clever trick #4

    “You could use an old nappy”

    If you use an old nappy you wouldn’t need the comfrey paste, as it comes with it’s own. :)

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  • Allan

    Hi, I have injured my shoulder and I would like to try a comfrey poultice. Where do I buy some comfrey before surgeon has a go.
    Thanks Allan.

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  • myles

    i have been using comfrey since i was born yes born it is good for asthma. blended in cloudy apple juice strained yummy to drink. hasnt killed me yet at 45 yrs old

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  • Erin

    This is excellent my husband has a bad shoulder and I’ve got some comfrey from the local garden centre but had never been sure how to use it other than in the compost, thanks am looking forward to giving it a go!!

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    myles Reply:

    put in as much apple juice as needed for taste till you get used to it.

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  • http://ayurvedareno.com maryam

    Thanks for the great pics and step by step instructions. Sprained my ankle 2x in one week 3 weeks ago and has been healing slower than expected. Have been putting it off due to traveling out of town. Will begin using comfrey tonight!

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  • fenellabelle

    Comfrey or Knitbone is an amazing herb, in fact it is probably THE most amazing herb of all. It is the only land based herb to contain the compound Allantoin which promotes tissue growth, Allantoin is also found in kelp and umbilical cords. I have personally used Comfrey to heal a broken leg in half the time – long story – you can take it internally, or apply externally. Try making a poultice by pounding up ginger and 2 comfrey leaves, apply and wrap with gladwrap, leave on as long as you can stand it .. it does get warm. Remove that poultice and re-apply plain comfrey leaf poultice, then rebandage. Comfrey really works!

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  • Terry James

    I can confirm the use of Comfry is a truely magical antiinflamitory… and use it for most of the ‘.. itus’ problems. The whole plant can be used, and the root is the best as it has more of the mucaceous/allotoin gunk in it… I usually scrape the black outer skin off the root, rinse with clean water, then cut up and ‘smash’ to break the fibres and make it pliable and ‘stick’ to the skin/wound without a hassle.

    Adding ginger does work.. it does ‘heat up’.. monitor it… you can get heat ‘rash’…

    Just wrapping ‘where possible’ the poultice in plastic ‘glad’ wrap helps keep it all together and sweat the mix in to the skin more… overnight is ok… and maybe a loose elastic gauze bandage or sock over that to keep it ‘comfortable’.

    The ‘magic’ takes about 48 hours to kick in… and generally turns a 6 week injury into 6 days..

    Swelling, edemas, and ulcers will just dry up.

    Foreign bodies… splinters etc… the inflamation will ‘localise’ and the body will ‘reject’ the foreign intruders.. long before any major ulceration/boil action happens.

    Mouth and throat… psoriasis, ulcers, … make a tea from a few leaves placed in a tea cup, boiling water, place a saucer on top and wait till cool enough to gargle with.

    Sage and Comfry is a good double for the tea, Sage works like antiseptic mouth wash.. and great by itself.. makes a nice soothing relaxing ‘tea’ to drink as well.

    Comfry is propogated by any piece of ‘root’ cutting… no matter how small… and is usually grown in its own ‘patch’…

    It is the only ‘land plant’ with vitamin B12.

    Leaves can be soaked in water to make a liquid manure (it stinks to hell) for the garden.

    The leaves can also be used as a ‘promoter’ for the ‘compost pile’… ie.. to get the heat happening.

    I use it mostly for ligament, shoulder, ankle, sprains and pains… and drying up any wound that isnt healing fast enough, and/or has ‘red’ inflamation happening..

    Dont overlook the pimples and cold sores… just break a leaf off… squeeze the stem to get the sap flowing, and just dab that on the problem spot… that is the quick fix.

    Allotoin.. the active ingredient… has been made artificially, and is used in lots of cosmetics for its ‘skin/cell prolifiating and healing properties’… but the allotoin is naturally available in the plant… is water soluble, and can be lightly stewed out of the leaves to form a extracted version… similar to putting it in a blender, eh?

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  • Wendy Olson

    I live in Provo, Utah and our winter here this year has been a bad one. I would like to find some fresh comfry. But due to winter conditions, that may not be possible. Does anyone know where to get fresh comfrey, or if not, when its in season. For now I’ll even settle. For the dried kind just so I can get some to get started on a much needed poultice.

    If anyone knows how to locate comfrey, fresh or dried, please contact me by email at the address listed above.

    Thanks everyone…
    Wendy O.

    A

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  • Wendy Olson

    Yes, I’m the one looking for comfrey in this winter Wonderland we call Provo City. If anyone out there knows where I can acquire comfrey along with other good ingredients formaking a pain treating poultice, l would be so grateful to have that information shared. So, if you have that kind of info at your fingertips and are in a mood for sharing, here is my email address: twolson08@Yahoo.com

    Thank you so much for your time & efforts in hopefully getting the answers I need.
    GOD Bless
    Wendy O

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    Terry Reply:

    Comfry in WINTER: Leaves die back – and make excellent compost fertiliser.

    The Plant stays ALIVE – waiting for some Spring Warmth.

    IF YOU KNOW WHERE THE PLANT ‘IS’ – then DIG UP ‘SOME’ ROOT.

    The ROOT has more beneficial allotoin in it than the leaves, and can be lightly stewed at low temp in water to extract the ‘stuff’.. just a variation on technique.

    You do not have to do this, just ‘maybe clean the black outside coating of root’ to expose the white flesh inside, which will ‘oxidise’ – go brown – while you look at it.

    A slither of root can be used inside your mouth – between gum and cheek – to maybe heal a problem on the tooth gum area. Surprisingly, as it is ‘super slippery – mucaceous’, it will cling and stay in position – say while you ‘sleep’..

    Otherwise – mash the root to make a poultice, or a little mashed root to make a ‘tea’, and the tea – well ‘gargle’, to control mouth and throat inflammations .. too easy!

    When using it in the mouth and throat – I also alternate ‘teas’ with SAGE TEA which is antiseptic, and acts like Listereene? mouth wash… but better.

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  • Heather Copeland

    I wonder if comfrey can help me? Two years ago I was in a car accident and my mid to lower back has been in pain ever since. I went to physical therapy for months followed by painful shots and tons of pain pills. Has anyone used it on their back?

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    Terry Reply:

    Hi Heather, you dont say WHAT is stuffed in your back – I myself did much the same thing but on a motorcycle – it was 2 years before I had ‘spine problem’ [T7+++] brought on by sleeping around in bad beds – I was a airline steward. I didnt know about Comfry then, and would have definately tried it – but I dont use it now for the spine problems – which is usually the spine pinching a nerve and producing pain with the associated muscle ‘spasms’.
    IF this ‘nerve pain’ is your problem, I dont think the Comfry will help – but it works great on muscles, tendons, etc – to stimulate blood flow, hence – more oxygen – the healer.

    Not sure what country you are in, but in OZ – I seek out #1 – a good osteopath, or #2 – a good ‘remedial masseur’ – one that can put your bones back in the right place… or, and a long way down the list – a chiropractor, and there, you have to shop around – they like X-rays, I dont.

    Physio’s – 5% are maybe ok, but I havent time or $ to find them, and come from the same school as doctors – who inject you with – ‘cortisone’?? – a mask – and prescribe you – more ‘masks’ – or cortisone as it is an ‘anti-inflamitory’ which fixes the ‘result’ not the problem.

    Good luck.

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    Heather Copeland Reply:

    I live in the US. I have a wide range of issues with my back including bulging disks and SI joint pain from swelling tissue. I’ve had many months of massage therapy which did help a little but it mostly left my back and backside sore and all bruised. I have been getting cortisone shots frequently but even they don’t help. I’ve recently weaned myself off the pain medication however I may have to go back on it again just to get some kind of relief. I ordered comfrey plants online a few days ago. I’m going to try it and see if it works. If not the leaves of these plants will give my vegetable garden nutrients. I will keep you posted on the results if any…Thanks Terry

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    Terry James Reply:

    Hi Heather,
    The Comfry will greatly assist any inflammation and swollen tissue.
    In most cases where cortisone is used, Comfry poultice will achieve a result, without the harmful side effects of cortisone – which is pretty standard treatment – and again, treating the Symptoms, not the Cause!

    Good luck with the comfry – if it fixes any of your problem, that would be a bonus to you.

    When you get your plants – CUT THE CROWNS out of the plants, and replant that in a pot or spot in the garden.. it grows by root cuttings.

    USE THE ROOT in preference to the LEAF, AS IT HAS MORE ‘STUFF’ IN IT – AND NO PRICKLY HAIRY BITS LIKE ON THE LEAF…. which can make you want to scratch.

    Definitely put the excess leaf in the garden, or Compost (it is a promoter for heat – like using – chicken crap}.. the leaves can be put to soak in a barrel of water, then ladle this ‘LIQUID FERTILISER’ onto your plants – just as you would use say Cow dung – it SMELLS pretty awful too, just like cow dung… but works great.

    Make your ‘poultices’ – with tape – micro-pore tape works good – and plastic wrap – upside down – then pick the whole patch up and apply it to your back – that is if you don’t have help at hand.

  • http://n/a jack

    I’m a great fan and believer in comfrey; have loads of it in my garden but now want to make poultice for a friend with damaged bones (from walking/running too much). Your information on a poultice is very clear but I would like to know this: How long should one wear a poultice and how often should one apply a poultice?

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  • metatouch healer

    How did the comfrey work for you? How often did you use it?

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  • Seth

    Can this be left on over night? Not the ice poultice, but the warm gooey one.

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  • thwap

    Haha I wonder what nudist beach it was!…

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  • Virtual Clinician

    This is wonderful naturopathic article for community resource. The knowledge, effective administration, and internal benefits of the comfrey herb are priceless notes of instruction.

    Further clinical testimonials attribute to this on NAETURALHEALTHINFORMATION.COM. There you are able to purchase a conveniently formulated poultice with enhanced healing properties to treat both acute and diverse maladies.

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