When it comes to repairing bone fractures, this letter sent to us by Cloe Jazwinski of Los Angeles, CA is definitely coming from the voice of experience. Cloe knows a thing a two about healing a bone fracture. Besides being one of the most talented web designers we know, Cloe is a 2nd Dan black belt in karate (Shotokan) who's used comfrey salves to heal two bone fractures. She writes, "Comfrey is one of the most well-known healing plants, especially for its ability to heal tissue and bone (due to its allantoin content, which promotes the growth of connective tissue, bone, and cartilage, and is easily absorbed through the skin). Besides broken bones, these externally poulticed leaves and roots are also used for cuts, bruises and sprains."
Recipe: Comfrey is best used fresh and simmered. Use the sticky paste to make a compress and attach it with an elastic bandage. Use every night. This will speed the healing of the fracture dramatically.
To heal her fractures, every night Cloe would grind several tablespoons of comfrey with a mortar and would bring it to a boil with a few spoons of water. She then would make a paste out of it, spread the paste on a cotton cloth, wrap it around her arm, and put elastic bands or safety pins in to secure it. Even though she had 2 fractures, Cloe decided not to wear a cast but a sling, which is why she could take off the sling at night.
Writes Cloe, "The feeling of that compress was heavenly. Even though everyone said I'd always know where my arm was broken (rain and humidity brings back the pain for the rest of your life), I never felt it and I attribute that to the comfrey compress routine. It's known to heal wounds extremely fast as well (I use a pre-made ointment of comfrey and aloe on scratches and minor wounds and they disappear overnight). I see comfrey as the crazy glue of broken bones and skin..."
Not recommended for internal use as there is some controversy about carcinogenic effects. The controversy around the use of this plant concerns its pyrrolizidine alkaloid components, which are considered carcinogenic to the liver; however, these studies have been performed on rats that were fed up to 33% of their diet in comfrey leaf. Studies done with the whole plant (rather than with isolated constituents) do not show carcinogenic effects but rather the opposite. In fact, the Japanese use comfrey vinegar extracts for treating cirrhosis of the liver.
Our readers offer information and opinions on Earth Clinic, not as a substitute for professional medical prevention, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician, pharmacist, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements or following any treatment suggested by anyone on this site. Only your health care provider, personal physician, or pharmacist can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your unique needs or diagnose your particular medical history.
03/18/2012: Sp from Gc, Ci: "I bought a comfrey tincture online to help with arm fracture. When it arrived, I noticed the instructions say to mix a few drops in water and drink it. Can this tincture be applied on the skin instead?"
[YEA] 04/15/2007: Carol from OKC, U. S. A.: "...Comfrey compresses healed not only the deep bruising (in 3 days), resulting from a stubbed, broken toe but also, bone -- after all, the common name for comfrey is "knit bone". Raspberry tea healed my indigestion after I was forced to eat "junk food" for 3 days whilst staying with my husband's cousin."
[YEA] 03/03/2007: Ann from Union County, NJ: "I fractured my right fifth metacarpal the beginning of this month. I saw the orthopaedist and he set it with a cast. I used a tincture of comfrey acquired from the local healthfood store. I applied with a q-tip under the cast at the site of the fracture once or twice a day. I went back to the doc for my followup visit two weeks and two days after the injury, the doc kept asking, three times, "When did this injury had occur?" He could not believe how fast it had healed, he left the cast off and now I have a soft splint. Now I apply the comfrey tincture on a bandaid and leave it on overnight. I hope to be splint free when I go for my next two week checkup. Not bad for a 58 year old female."Replies
04/21/2011: Leslie from New Castle, Pa replies: "I fractured my fifth metatarsal on my left foot in February. This happened just from regular walking because my ankle is fused. I walked on it for a month (it was hurting but I did not realize it was broke), saw my orthopaedic surgeon on March 24th was told it was a stress fracture. I was put in a boot and told to use crutches. Went for a follow up on April 14th. It is starting to heal but I was told crutches for 2-4 months minimum. I cried the whole way home.
Came to Earth Clinic for advice and saw your post. I purchased Comfrey Tincture and I've been applying it in the evening before bedtime. I go back on May 12th for a follow up. I hope to have the positive results others have had with Comfrey! I will post an update on my progress."
[YEA] 03/12/2002: Donna from Ukaih, California: "I used a comfrey poultice on my granddaughter's arm and it healed so rapidly, the doctor was amazed. My 90 yr old mom just broke her arm and I'm using a comfrey compress. I'm told it will take 3 months or more for it to heal, so we'll see, but I have faith that it will heal much faster!!!"
Ted from Bangkok, Thailand: "You can get around the comfrey problem for internal use as comfrey's active ingredient is allantoin. What you need is to dissolve allantoin, which is not soluble in water. However, it is soluble in DMSO and this can help with fractures. You can mix about 100-5000 mg of allantoin to 2 cc of DMSO. Of course you should add water to 10-20 cc at which you can apply to the skin or drink for internal purposes. It has help some people heal fractures and this is one way to avoid poisonous alkaloids from comfrey. Some people added aloe vera extracts and oil to improve healing.
Dosages for DMSO mixed with comfrey on a per day basis is estimated to be about 10 drops per day based on mixture I mentioned. Please understand that use of DMSO will result in you getting garlic odor. You can reduce this if you halved your dosages or drinking diluted hydrogen peroxide will also help reduce the smell. The reason why it smells garlic is because your body is hungry for oxygen. What it does is it takes out the oxygen component from the DMSO to get DMS. Now if the water you drink is high in hydrogen peroxide (water with not over 0.5% food grade H2O2), then the oxygen will come from H2O2 component more readily, reducing the garlic smell somewhat. Of course you can try MSM which is an DMSO with one more oxygen, this will get rid of the problem and will also help with healing of fractures. Of course, MSM is not as good of solvent for allantoin as DMSO."
[QUESTION] 08/03/2009: Greg from Lagos, Lagos State, Nigeria: "I read "garlic helps to heal fractured bones" - Has someone applied this in factured bone(s)? How, what are the results and how long it takes compared to comfrey salve - Allantoin. Guidelines will be highly appeciated. Thanks and God Bless. Greg."
10/14/2012: Karen from Centerville, Ut, Usa: "You may be able to guess why I'm having trouble nailing advice on this one just using Google! I just read about comfrey and can't believe I forgot that one for my herbal bag of tricks. With a deeper fracture like this, do you just heat it up a bit more and leave it on a bit longer?
Anyway, main concern (due to lots of misdiagnosing, I really think the fracture occurred following a should have been simple (and wasn't) ventral hernia repair last January. Surgery itself was OK, just have had very bad pain and a limp ever since (pain over the iliopsoas, which I think make sense in light of the location of the fracture). Because of misdiagnosis ("something in the hip, " "osteoarthritis" "let's just try cortisone") I've actually been in PT plus hiking and biking over the summer. Not a prime candidate for oodles of osteoporosis, but am getting a bone density scan.
Anyway, my specific problem is my husband and I are happily married and are trying to avoid the celibacy thing (this is 9 months, after all) but are looking for tips to avoid further injury to the area. Please, does anyone have any suggestions? Positions? If it hurts, don't do it? Limit actual intercourse to some number of minutes. (Probably some of you ladies would be envious, but he can go on at length without peaking, but many, many minutes even with my leg supported does start to make the involved area painful).
Collateral damage: had rotator cuff surgery on both sides 2 years ago. Crutches provoked rotator cuff pain that was worse than the fracture. Have since found the spring-loaded dealies, but a lot of the damage was already done (thinking comfrey might be a help there as well).
Sorry if this frankness makes anyone on the list uncomfortable, but this has not been a subject I've been able to find any info about (plus I'm being treated in a university setting so feel like I'm getting care management by the Keystone Kops. ) Ted and anyone else, dig in!"
[BETTER BUT NOT CURED] 10/27/2011: Dolores from Mansfield, Mo: "Blessing to all. I started taking MSM for my fracture foot, which it did not help. BUT it has my knee joints and elbows. I tried the apple cider vinegar also."
03/07/2009: Stan from Menomonie, WI. USA: "I served in the military and as a result of my training have been suffering bilateral stress fractures in my shins. It has been two years of going to the doctors who are unable to pinpoint the source(s) of my pain. They have given me peroxicam(sp?) to help with the pain which kind of works. I was wondering if anyone has/had a similar injury and what you did for the pain and to help the healing process. The doctors think I am crazy and tell me I should not be feeling any pain according to the x-rays, and I would love to tell them differently. Along with this pain it is troublesome to work a full 8 hour day without being completely wiped out 6 hours into it. Being on my feet daily is out of the question for now. It seems time it helping but I was wondering if anyone had any ideas what to do to help with the pain. Please advise. Thank you!"Replies
03/15/2009: Cindy from Ch, WI replies: "please i would like to find the post from stan from menomonie,wi from march 7 or 8th, 2009 about stress fracture pain, thank you"
03/15/2009: Joyce from Joelton, Tn replies: "Hello Stan,
Sorry you are having the pain problem. I assume that your stress fractures are a few years old so it would now be called traumatic arthritis pain. Don't know if it will help you or not but I have been taking MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) for approximately 15 years now for that type pain and it is the best thing I have found yet. You won't realize it is doing anything until one day you will notice that the weather has changed and your usual bone or joint pain hasn't hit you yet. Another fellow I got started taking it fell off a ladder at work and broke his leg. He was out of work more than a year because when they took the cast off they found it wasn't set right, so he had a trip to surgery to rebreak it and a pinning job. He was having a lot of pain at the time I told him about it. I told him that I had started off taking the race horse dose to begin with but I don't know whether he did the same or not. When I told him I was fixing to reorder my MSM and asked if he wanted me to order some more for him, he was delighted. He ordered 2 or 3 pounds for himself and told me to order three more for him, because he planned to give them for Xmas gifts that year. The MSM found in the horse section of any local farmer's Co-op is the same stuff. Just make sure it is well packaged and at least 99.9% pure MSM.
You can find a lot on line by googling MSM."
03/25/2009: Stan from Menomonie, WI replies: "Just a question in regards to the MSM usage. What type of MSM is used? I was looking at our local food coop and found tablet forms, however the veterinary use has me curious. Is that in a powder form that gets mixed with horse feed? I'm not too inclined on horse knowledge myself. It would be great if I could get any more information on how to use/take MSM (veterinary style.) I appreciate all of your help! Thank you!"
03/26/2009: Joyce from Joelton, Tn replies: "Hello Stan from Menomonie,
Go on line and see in you can get into the archives of Journal of Longevity magazine. This is where I first read about MSM (all MSM should be methylsulfonylmenthane) and after seeing what MSM's chemical name is you can readily see why it is called MSM. MSM was used in vetinary medicine long before it made it to us, primarily to keep the joints of the race horses healthy. In the Journal of Longevity article titled "Breakthrough in Joint Pain" which was written by a doctor (Lawrence I think) but it was about a Dr. Jacobs who had been using it in patients for sometime before it was written & published. It also told that Dr. Jacobs who had been taking the recommended race horse dosage for a prolonged period to see if there would be any reaction to a larger dose, at the age of 75 years old still had a head full of dark hair, no adverse reactions from MSM, and still teaching in medical school and still treating patients. The 2 doctors have written a book on MSM and what it does.
I started taking the race horse dose myself and like Dr. Jacobs have had no adverse reactions. The changes in the weather no longer bothered my 2 joints that gave me the most trouble. When me and the ladder I was on did a backward flip a few years ago, which gave me slight impaction fracture of the left distal femur, a proximal tibial plateau fracture, and a totally detached ACL, I walked on the knee with a knee brace, pair of crutches and took no more than 2 Orudis KT tablets for pain during the healing of the above injury, but you had better believe that I was taking the race horse dose of MSM the whole time. If you check the Farmer's Co-Op for MSM, you will find it is in crystal form & can be mixed with the animals feed. It is also used for other animals, such as dogs. As for myself, it goes down easily by dissolving in water and drinking it. It doesn't taste all that good but the bad taste is gone as soon as you rinse your mouth out with water after drinking it. "
[YEA] 05/09/2008: Joyce from Duke, Tn: "It is called MSM because its chemical name is methylsulfonylmethane. This is a first cousin of sulphur & is related to DMSO also. MSM is a natural substance found in the body, but apparently is another of those things that have declined in our super fertilized agriculture which has a habit of depleting our foods of many of those nutrients that used to be found in adequate amounts in our foods.You can google MSM or the chemical name & learn more about it. I have loved the results ever since I realized how effective it was. I got a number of people interested & they started taking it and found just as great as I told them it was. A lot of those had some post traumatic arthritis. My nephew was unable to get his hands above his head (fractured wrists years ago from motocycle accidents). He started taking it l0 or 15 years ago and still is. He's probably giving some to his horses & dog also. A coworker told me that her husband's back gave him less trouble after starting it. He had fractured his back in a car wreck several years before & was very painful after that. When The ladder I was did a backward flip 2 years, ER xrays said nothing broke, MRI done 2 days later said I had a slight impaction fracture of the distal femur, tibial plateau fracture, and totally unattached AC ligament in the left knee. With a hinged knee brace, a pair of crutches and the race horse dose of MSM daily, I breezed through recovery with only 2 Orudis kt (NSAID) pills for pain. Knee is painless unless I do something like I did approx. a year later. In preventing myself from falling with a big box of books in my arms, I had to do what I wasn't supposed to - I had to pivot on the left knee and without an ACL, you can't swivel or pivot on the injured knee. I think it was my hamstring muscle I got on that one - unfortunately MSM didn't help that much on that one. Other than not being able to pivot or swivel on that knee, the only other restriction I have is to continue to wear the knee brace when waling on uneven ground, so when I go hiking through the woods, I wear it and very thankful that I have it."
03/18/2010: Cindy from Oroville, Ca, Usa: "Mending broken bones
I broke my foot 2 years to the day. A simple break, the DR called it a Dancers break. Just the outside bone below my little toe. Big complications later with blood clots, surgeries etc. But my question would be, why the spot still hurts. It has been aching a lot lately. I would like something to try naturally to heal this. Any ideas I would love to try. I am doing clay bathes now."
[BETTER BUT NOT CURED] 12/02/2009: Beth from Stl, Mo: "Turmeric and Comfrey for Fracture/Bone Bruise
I recently fell and hurt my wrist- I was in the ER and they said it looked like a bone chip or fracture- I still have yet to have a second opinion- I'm going to see if it's healing this week. They gave me a splint to wear and while the pain wasn't too bad my hand felt off and the joint on my wrist below my thumb was deeply bruised- it hurt just to bump it. It's been about a week and I wish I would have tried something sooner- nevertheless I took 1/4 tsp of turmeric in a small glass of soymilk last night (in water in the past I had trouble getting it down) and today the bruising is finally less painful. I am also using comfrey tincture on it nightly I wrap w cotton gauze and put some drops and keep it on overnight and rub a bit on in the morning. I'll see soon whether it's actually healing- but it is feeling better."