BROKEN limbs are a remote possibility in the ordered lives of John Citizen and his family in normal times, one which he does hot even consider. But autre temps; times change and we have to change with them; we have to face the fact that one of the dangers which lurk in the darkness is the likelihood of a tumble against and unseen obstruction and a broken bone happens just come ca, all in a moment. We have turned the night into day for in a moment.
We have turned the night into day for so long, we have been so used to the brilliant illumination of our thoroughfares, that we have lost the knowledge of our less- favoured-as we think-brethren in the wilder stretches of this globe of being able to see in the dark and of sensing such small obstacles as loose stones, uneven steps and irregularities of the roads and thus being able to avoid them in safety.
We knock up against people in the dark, we do not sense the vibration they send out, we do to hear the slight noises their footsteps make; we have lost the art of tracking; and thus we have got to pay the penalty, and many a man and woman in these isles is laid aside with a broken limb. Be prepared, we are warned.
A doctor will be necessary, if he is at hand, to set a limb; Homoeopathy by means of well-tried remedies can help so very much in easing the pain and, what is more important still to the individual, can shorten the days of convalescence. Arnica counteracts the immediate shock, prevents the wound-fever, the reactionary temperature and absorbs the bruises, and is a more rapid pain-killer and sedative than morphia without leading to the formation of a drug habit.
After a few days the stage is reached when the bruise have gone, the aching pains have disappeared and a picking sensation sets in. Callus should be forming in the bone; now we ought to change from the remedy Arnica, which is no longer similar to the complaint, no longer homoeopathic. Another herb is needed to hasten the knitting together of the bones, and this is comfrey. Its very name tells you, which is as contraction from the Latin confirmare-to form or unite. The botanical name, Symphytum-indicates the same from the Greek symphyo, or to unite.
Plat lore to me is very thrilling, and botanizing and searching for and finding plants, mere insignificant weeds to many people with unseeing eyes, is a pastime during holidays. Though the tentacles of london spread on all sides for miles, yet within reasonable short distances you will find little oasis of peace and verdure, where you can walk contentedly along narrow footpaths, away from the smell and din and dust of the modern highroads, and watch nature in her various moods.
I know secret places where I have seen the azure-blue wings of the shy kingfisher flash in and out of the reeds of the dreamy mill-ponds and waterways, and not far away, in the quiet water meadows and along the towpaths of the rivers Thames and Wey and the almost forgotten canals in Surrey, I have found the showy, proudly erect plants of the common comfrey, which bloom throughout the greater part of the summer from April onwards. The first time I spotted it in a low-lying orchard on an island in he Thames and had to look it up in John;s Botany-I knew it belonged to the borage family, as it was hairy, shaggy and rough all over.
Borage itself is an interesting plant. It is claimed to be the nepenthe, the powerful potion of forgetfulness which was given to Helen in Homers Iliad. Other ancient writers say that it maketh a man merry and joyful; and an old Latin tag has it that:.
“I borage Bring always courage,”.
Comfrey, its cousin, brings courage in a different way to a wounded man: by knitting together broken bones.
Some eighty years there lived somewhere in England an old bonesetter whose fame went far beyond his own parish for his ability in curing fractures. He applied dressings of Symphytum to the bones after setting them, and when the dressings were taken off after twenty days, the bones were sound and firmly joined.
The surgeon now uses splints of aluminum or wood or gypsum to provide the temporary support, during the process of healing; but Symphytum apparently worked wonders in the hands of this herbalist and bonesetter.
The chemical constituents of comfrey are mucilage or gum, which it contains in abundance, and a substance called allantoin.
Comfreys reputation as a vulnerary may be considered to be due to the fact that it reduces the swelling round the fracture and the mucilage or gum gives the necessary support afterwards.
The allantoin is said to play not an inconsiderable part in its capacity of wound healing, as the Scotch surgeon Macalister claimed in one of the leading medical papers before the world war. He stated that allantoin acted powerfully in strengthening epithelial growth and was valuable in external ulcerations.
During the last war, further articles followed in medical literature confirming this allegation; and allantoin, one of the constituents of comfrey, was freely used in treating of the constituents of comfrey, was freely used in treating chronic wounds, ulcers, burns, etc. So once again the knowledge of the collection of simples was found to be correct.
Comfrey grows freely along waterways and in low-lying meadows, and was cultivated in gardens for its virtues in wound healing in he past. Now that we are urged once more to make more use of home-grown produce, perhaps comfrey will be remembered again.
The young leaves are said to make a peasant green vegetable. I pass this on for country people to try next summer.
Indeed, comfrey roots, along with chicory and dandelion roots, can be made into a coffee which is similar in taste to the beverage made from the coffee, bean, without its injurious effects.
Symphytum or comfrey is used as an internal homoeopathic medicine, though it has never been extensively proved.
It is very efficacious in bruises and injuries of the eyeball and bruises of the cheekbones after falls and after being hit by snowballs. Arnica in bruises of the cheekbones does not work very well, as I proved to my own satisfaction in several cases. The bones of the face are not covered sufficiently with muscles and are too superficial; Arnica does not act on bones, while Symphytum does; therefore Symphytum is more homoeopathic to injuries of the face. I should advise the local use of Symphytum in tincture and also Symphytum internally in a low potency in such cases.
Some cases have been reported where in fractures the Symphytum given internally has led to the union of a bone in a little over nine days, which is remarkable, as usually you reckon it takes three to six weeks.
Symphytum is of use in tumours of the bone as well.
Dr. Cooper recommended it in malignant cancerous growths of the bone, in mother tincture at first, to be followed by higher potencies, while the patient is carefully watched for reactions.
Remember comfrey for comfort in fractures and long-standing chronic ulcerations.