Symphytum officinale. Bone-set. Healing Herb. Comfrey. N.O. Boraginaceae. Tincture of fresh root-stock collected before flowering and in autumn. Tincture of fresh plant. -.
Abscess. Backache, from sexual excess. Bone, cancer of, injuries of. Breasts, sore. Eyes, pains in, injuries of. *Fractures, non- union of, nervous. Glands, enlarged. Gunshot wounds. Hernia. Menses, arrested. Periosteum, sensitive, painful. Psoas abscess. Sexual excess, effects of. Sprains. Stump, irritable. Wounds.
*Symphytum may be considered the orthopaedic specific of herbal medicine. “The roots of Comfrey stamped, and the juice drunk with wine, help those that spit blood and heal all inward wounds and burstings. The same bruised and laid to in manner of a plaster, do heal all fresh and green wounds, and are so glutinous, that it will solder and glue together meat that is chopped in pieces, seething in a pot, and make it in one lump” (Gerarde). Peter *Squire’s Companion to B. P., 6th edition.) gives as the “medicinal properties” of *Symphytum: “Astringent, mucilaginous, glutinous, useful to form cases for injured limbs. The black rind (of root) is scraped off and the mucilaginous root is then scraped carefully into a nice even pulp, this spread of the thickness of a crown piece upon cambric or old muslin in wrapped round the limb and bandaged over, it shortly stiffens, and forms a casing superior to starch, giving support and strength to the part.” P. Squire knew a bone-setter who practised fifty years ago, and rendered himself famous for setting compound fractures with this root, which he kept secret, and he never removed the bandage after the first dressing until the limb was well (R.T.C.). *Symphytum has not received its names for nothing. *Consolida is one of them, and “Comfrey” is derived from *Confirmare. The glutinous juice of the root seems, according to Gerarde, to have given the key to its action as a vulnerary. H. C. Allen (*Medorrhinum *Cent., quoted Ind. H. *Rev., v. 60) refers to the following indications for *Symphytum given by Lippe: (1) When the bone or periosteum has been injured and the soft parts have recovered from the bruised soreness under *Arnica, the remaining pain and soreness of periosteum may be promptly relieved by *Symp. (2) In traumatic injuries of bone or periosteum (as from a snowball or anything else on the face), *Symp. was the only remedy Lippe has seen efficient. He cured many cases after others had used *Arnica and failed. (3) Here is one of his cures: “More than a year ago fell and struck knee on a stone, wound healed and scarcely left any trace, but there remained an acute stitching pain at point of injury, felt when the part was touched by clothing as when knee was bent.” Allen also gives the following cure reported by Fowler: Mrs. J. stepped on the edge of a scantling, which rolled, and she turned her ankle. In a few minutes the ankle began to swell and become painful, pain increasing rapidly, so that in hour or two patient was in great agony. She declared her leg was broken, she “could feel the rough ends of the broken bones jagging into the flesh.” could not bear any one to approach her for fear of being hurt. No discolouration whatever. *Symp. promptly relieved, so that she went about her usual duties in forty-eight hours. Allen regards *pricking pain as a guiding symptom. Next to bone injuries in importance are injuries to the *ball of the eye, as distinguished from injuries to the *soft parts around. “I have long since ceased to use *Arnica in injuries of the globe of the eye, *Symp. having given such prompt and permanent relief” (H. C. Allen) [I have, however, seen *Arnica speedily clear up haemorrhage into the vitreous from a blow of a cork from a soda-water bottle. J.H.C.] Allen gives these indications: Severe pain in globe of eye after an injury by a blunt instrument (snowball, cane, point of umbrella, infant’s fist), the soft parts remaining intact. Croserio (*New, *Old, and *Forgotten Remedies) was one of the first to use *Symp. in the potencies for fractures. P. P. Wells translated Croserio’s *Connection of Homoeopathy with Surgery, in which this passage occurs: “Injuries of the bones are healed most promptly with Symp. 30, internally, once a day.” Wells gives these cases of his own: (1) Boy, 14, broke bone of forearm at junction of middle and lower thirds, two years before. Had twice repeated the fracture by slight falls. Ends now slightly movable on each other, arm of little use. Three doses of *Symp. made a perfect cure, and the boy became robust and much better in health than he had ever been before. (2) Boy, 8, fractured humerus near junction of condyles and shaft. *Arnica 30 immediately arrested the spasmodic jerks of muscles of injured arm. *Arnica was continued three days, by which time all traumatic fever had subsided. *Symphytum 3, one drop in half a tumbler of water, a teaspoonful morning and evening. The splints were removed the ninth day, and the bone found consolidated. The cure was entirely without pain. F. H. Brett (H. W., xxv. 304) cured himself of inguinal rupture by rubbing the part with tincture of the root. On another occasion a blow on the lower part of the back from a fall resulted in a secondary affection of the spine in the mid-dorsal region, a protuberance as if from a light dislocation appearing at the spot. Again *Symp. was applied. The tenderness at the point subsided after three applications, and in a few days the protuberance disappeared. Brett mentions (ib., 379) a case he had heard of: A diseased arm which had begun to mortify was dressed with a poultice of Comfrey root, and this “drew off the mortified substance, and the arm became sound again.” Sir Wm. Thomson, of Dublin (*Lancet, Nov. 28, 1896) relates a case of malignant tumour of the antrum which had extended to the nose. Microscopical examination proved it to be round-celled sarcoma. The patient, a man, was advice was refused at the time, and was repeated by Felix Semon, who saw the man later. After still further delay Thomson performed the operation in the month of May, 1896. A month later the growth began to show again, increased rapidly, closed the right eye, was blue, tense, firm, lobulated, but did not break. Thomson declined to operate again. Early in October the man walked into Thomson’s study well: “The tumour had completely disappeared from the face, and I could not identify any trace of it in the mouth.” The man had applied poultices of Comfrey root, and the swelling disappeared. Cooper (H. W., xxxii. 403) gives this experience of a patient of his: Just before her marriage she had a dangerous attack of scarlatina, leaving abscesses on both sides of the neck and great internal swelling, so that she could swallow only liquids, and that with great difficulty. The external swelling extended from ear to chin, and was hard and very painful. Poultices of Comfrey root were applied. The pain was immediately relieved and her abscesses decreased rapidly until they were entirely absorbed, without external opening so far as the patient could remark. Hering (from whom I have taken the main part of my Schema) says *Symp. has had a fragmentary proving by Macfarlan. Gerarde adds to the uses of *Symp. quoted from him above that it eases pains in the back from violent motion as wrestling, or from excessive sexual indulgence, even when spermatorrhoea has been induced thereby. *Arnica has an analogous use. *Peculiar Sensations are: As if upper lid passed over an elevation on closing eye. As if ears were stopped up. The symptoms are: worse By touch. Sitting causes pain about navel. Stooping causes weight in forehead. Walking causes pain opposite spleen.