Tag Archives: Balm of Gilead

Herbal medicine for broken bones

My mom just broke her wrist so I did some research to give her some help from the plant kingdom. I immediately remembered an herb called boneset (Eupatorium spp.), but apparently that name comes from its use to cure a type of influenza or dengue fever, called “break-bone” of old. Looking through my herbal medicine / ethnobotany library, I found the following herbal preparations to be good for broken or fractured bones:

To speed healing, a poultice made of the whole plant (roots, stems and leaves) of yarrow (Achillea millifolium) should be kept around the affected area. Drink a tea made of the leaves and flowers of yarrow to also enhance healing. Yarrow s a very effective, all around healing enhancer that is found commonly in temperate areas. Achilles carried it into battle for his injured Myrmidons.

yarrow

Yarrow

The fresher the plant and preparation, the better. Wild plants also have stronger / more abundant active compounds compared to commercially grown and harvested plants.

Yucca (Yucca spp.) roots should be steamed and used as a poultice on the affected area for anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving effects.

Yucca recurvifolia

Yucca recurvifolia

A liniment of aconite (Aconitum columbianum) leaf tincture should be applied to the affected area to reduce pain.

Horstail (Equisetum spp.) roots or the boiled young shoots have a lot of trace minerals such as calcium that will help bone healing. Horsetail is common near fresh water, but be careful to not collect from polluted waters, since this plant readily uptakes pollutants, especially heavy metals.

Balm of Gilead, a tincture made from the resin of young spring buds of cottonwood or poplar (Populus spp.) is an effective, ancient anti-inflammatory and vulnerary that should be applied externally to the affected area.

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