"Quality means doing it right when no one is looking ." - Henry Ford
We all should try to do it right whether someone is looking or not. Maybe he was referring to one of his model T cars on the assembly line and his workers. Taking this a step further, always doing the right thing will never get you in trouble. I have learned the hard way, and I am sure you have also had moments of clarity about this in your life.
Two herbs I want to have in my first aid herbal kit would be Achillea millefolium and Symphytum officinale. While studying Botanical Latin this year with the New York Botanical Gardens, I learned that officinale means 'medicinal'. So if you see 'officinale' in an herb name you will know that herb has medicinal properties. These herbs are Yarrow and Comfrey, respectively.
I use both for bruising and inflammation. Many patients use Arnica for bruising which is also an excellent choice.
Depending on what herbal book you are reading, the herb Comfrey has had its share of misgivings. It is perhaps one of the most famous medicinal herbs in history. Because it contains certain alkaloids that have toxic effects on the liver, some countries have banned its use. Many sources say that it is illegal to use the roots internally, but I know some patients and herbalists who DO ingest comfrey.
Why use comfrey in bruising or inflammation versus other herbs? One of its components is allantoin which causes cell growth. This accounts for its remarkable healing properties. Comfrey has the ability to stimulate growth when the system has been traumatized. If you think about this statement, it is a rejuvenating herb. Did you ever taste comfrey? Well, I have and it is slightly bitter tasting and mildly astringent (which makes it good for an external tonic).
The most astonishing specific indication is comfrey's use in facilitating bone repair when there is difficult reunion. I wonder how many orthopedic surgeons know about comfrey ?
Initially I was cautious using this herb, but now I feel very comfortable. I think it would be great as a salve with Witch Hazel (Hamamelis) and Plantain (Plantago major).
I think Rick and I will have a comfrey salve party in the Fall! Who wants to make herbs with us?
Above: Four photographs of comfrey