Gillian's Fieldwork Notes: On Healing Fractured Bones
(photo: the arnica montana plant)
Following any injury:
One should immediately take steps to ensure that their daily diet is complete with vital nutrients that will not only speed healing, but also improve the chances of a full recovery. The following recommendations include nutritional supplements, foods and herbs that are well known for their healing properties. These notes are not meant to take the place of your physician or their advice; they are meant to be complementary guidelines only, and should be adjusted to suit your individual needs, with the help of your qualified health practitioner.
Recommended in addition to a well balanced diet especially during the acute phase, take immediately following injury for 1-6 months.
- Bromelain: an enzyme mixture extracted from Pineapple, well researched for its ability to reduce inflammation in cases of arthritis, injury or trauma and prevention of swelling after trauma or surgery. Take according to instructions on bottle (usually 125-450 mg 0f 1800-2000 mcu., 3 times/day) on an empty stomach.
- Zinc: critical mineral involved in the production of new cells and in the formation of bones; take 25-30 mg/day, or up to 50 mg/day for acute situations, preferably apart from calcium/magnesium (see below)
- Calcium/Magnesium: both critical components of bone health as well as important in the transmission of nerve impulses; take one that is 2 parts Calcium and 1 part Magnesium: eg.: 1000 mg. Calcium/day, 500 mg. Magnesium/day taken before bed is best.
- Vitamin C: critical for the formation of collagen, the fibrous connective tissue involved in the repair and healing of wounds; also well known to improve immunity and fighting infection; take 500 mg. several times a day up to bowel tolerance.
- Vitamin A: important in prevention of bacterial and fungal infection; take 20 000 iu/day ***toxic in larger quantities***
- Water: Proper hydration (before and after an injury) can make all of the difference for optimal tissue health. 2 litres/day is recommended for regular maintenance, while 3 litres/day is best for the acute phase of healing. Remember, juice, coffee and tea do not count as water!
Medicinal Tinctures, Teas and Bulk Herbs:
- Arnica: take immediately after injury, INTERNALLY in homeopathic form only, as often as every two hours following injury for several days, and EXTERNALLY using tincture as a compress or combined with comfrey poultice; ointment and salves containing arnica are more helpful following the acute stage.
Comfrey: Well known for its ability to "knit" bones back together, but currently under scrutiny due the presence of ‘pyrrolizidine alkaloids' which in excessive amounts have been linked to severe liver toxicity. Comfrey has been used successively for hundreds of years for its anti-inflammatory and wound healing ability. Therefore, it is commonly recommended to use for acute situations for a short (max 6 weeks) period of time. If pregnant or nursing, or in the case of pre-existing liver problems, use externally only.
External use: Chop and mash comfrey leaves and/or root. Add a tsp. of apple cider vinegar (increases blood circulation, decreasing stagnation), and apply as a paste over wound, with a warm towel or bandage to cover. An antiseptic such as echinacea or calendula tincture (diluted) should be applied first in the case of broken skin. Replace with fresh leaves or leaves soaked in vinegar as often as possible - 6 times/day preferably. Comfrey leaf and root tincture can be used in the same way if fresh herb is not available.
Internal use : for short term use only; take 30-45 drops of tincture 3-6 times/day.
- Oatstraw, Red Raspberry, Burdock, Alfalfa, Horsetail, Dandelion leaf, Chickweed, Nettle. Should all be taken daily or as often as possible. Combine as a mineral rich tea with mint added for taste to sip while sitting with the poultice on. Can also be taken as a tincture.
- Turmeric has a long history of being used in healing wounds by purifying the blood, preventing scar tissue and inflammation and stretching ligaments; take in capsules several times a day or roll the powder into small balls with a little water. Can also be used externally as an anti-inflammatory and pain reliever.
- Green Tea is said to be high in anti-oxidants, which help speed healing, and prevent permanent damage.
- Avoid the usual no-no's: sugar, refined foods, chocolate, caffeine (except in Green tea), large amounts of animal fats, all which can delay and impede healing, also inhibit absorption of minerals, especially calcium and iron. Even honey, rice syrup and most fruits can act as calcium inhibitors.
- Eat foods high in minerals and vitamins, fresh and organic wherever possible: Kale, Collards, Broccoli, Chard, (all dark green leafy vegetables), Lettuce, Parsley, Nettle, etc. Consume daily, two to three times if possible.
- Seaweeds (kelp, alaria, hijiki, dulse) are excellent sources of trace minerals, essential in healing, as well as being rejuvenative and extremely nourishing. Eat daily, either as a dried snack, or in soups and hot drinks.
(photo: a healthy shallow water kelp bed)