Herbal remedy experiment

I’ve been growing comfrey in my garden for years. I grow it because it’s a great fertiliser but it’s also an old herbal remedy for bone fractures. The caveat is that it should not be used for more than 10 days in a row nor more than 4-6 weeks a year as a topical treatment because it has the potential to cause liver damage. It should also never be ingested or used on broken skin. This post is not providing medical advice. I am merely sharing my own personal experience. I have not studied natural medicine and do not recommend anyone use herbal treatments unless they have consulted their medical physician.

Caveat aside, comfrey contains allantoin, which can help repair cells. It has long been used to heal bone fractures (hence the common name ‘knit bone’) and it is reputed to be a good anti-inflammatory for deep bruises.

I have cooked up a comfrey poultice that I’m using on my foot and shin. I am not using it every day but am going to try it a few times to see whether it can help. I figure it can’t do any harm to try, so long as I head the warnings about limiting my use of the herb. I think I will use it 5-6 times over the coming fortnight. Hopefully it will start off the healing process.

1. Blend comfrey leaves and water

2. Add flour to form a paste

3. Spread paste on a cloth or pad

4. Wrap cloth or pad around injury

5. Tie cloth or pad around injury

6. Wrap in plastic and sports tape to prevent leakage

I’m also going to speak with my physio tomorrow about whether a set of crutches might be useful. I can’t seem to sit still so resting my foot isn’t going so well. But if I have a set of crutches I can still get around while resting my foot. I’ve pulled out of Tough Mudder because it seems silly to risk further injury when all I want to do is run ultras.

I mean, I’ve really fallen in love with the sport. There is only one other thing I’ve ever been ‘eat, sleep and breath’ interested in, and that’s my garden. I’ve cycled most of my life but haven’t ever been in love with it; my bike’s always just been a mode of transport. I love my motorbike but only ride it; I have only recently decided to learn how to service it myself.

But running … I am surprised to find I love it. I want to run long distances. I don’t need to be fast but I need to be out there in the bush running. And it’s trail ultras that I crave. Sure, I’ve now run a marathon but it didn’t give me the same buzz as the thought of being out on the trails for 7 – 20 hours give me. I can’t explain it; but I could eat, sleep and breath ultras quite easily. I know the names of some ultra runners while I’ve never known the names of any other sports people (not even triathlon).

So I’m going to try my comfrey poultice and perhaps use crutches. And when I can run again, I’m going to follow a progressive program to sensibly build my strength and endurance to reduce the risk of my leg injuries recurring. Because I just need to run.


7 responses to “Herbal remedy experiment

  1. Out of the five runs I do per week, it’s the long trail run each Sunday that I look forward to the most. I crave those long trail runs, as tough as they can be. I understand your frustration. You’ll be soon back on your feet and pain-free. Hang in there!

    • It’s interesting. I used to fear running. I used to worry about the pain and the exhaustion. But now I feel differently and I am looking forward to doing long runs. Having said that, I’m going to enjoy the next 3 months too … Swimming in summer is going to be super nice and no doubt Mum and I will have a chance to do some long bicycle rides together .

  2. Happened to you to? I am down for 4 weeks now 😦 .. So depressing and I have forgo 3 runs already. Sigh.. Wish I can have some comfrey

    • Yeah. Happened to me too. And a few others in my running group. It is depressing. I’ve had to withdraw from all my events too, including Tough Mudder. But it’s okay. I am enjoying swimming and going to the gym. I figure it’s just a lesson in not getting complacent 🙂

      I hope your injury heals quickly.

      • Well I couldnt get complacent even if I want to, its a trail run, so running with speed I just slipped, swimming and biking is ok,

        I can’t do my trainings as often with bike and swim cause got to travel to the pool and got to get dressed for bike.

        its been 4 weeks now, and it still hurts when I wake up in the morning, 😦 You heal well too and have a great week.


  3. Just saw that you had to withdraw from Tough Mudder 😦

    The interesting thing with Comfrey and the reason why it is not recommended for internal use is due to a very dubious study however unfortunately with herbal medicines, it is easy for them to be removed from our use but extraordinarily difficult to reinstate them!

    An exceptional case in point is Kava which only in the past few years has been approved by the TGA for internal use due to campaigning by particular leaders in the herbal medicine field… but even then it is required to be manufactured in a specific way.

    Hoping you recover sooner rather than later…. thank goodness summer is coming up for you to enjoy swimming in the warmer weather!

    Take care

    • Yeah, I withdrew from Tough Mudder and every other race I was going to do this year. I also need to withdraw from my events early next year because I don’t want to risk re-injury by overdoing it again. Happens … The sun still came up in the morning 🙂

      I agree about the scare mongering that happens with herbal medicine. I’m just not willing to take risks because I’d rather be safe than sorry (says he who’s been running with shin splints and a sharp pain in my foot all this time – LOL).

      I’m a big fan of herbal remedies. I used to have a great medicinal garden at my old home. I’m slowly rebuilding it at our new place …

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