Many of you know all too well that broken or fractured bones and stress fractures can put you out of the game (and in an awkward and unattractive boot, cast or sling, too) for weeks or even months.
Fortunately, there are herbs like Boneset that help bones heal more quickly.
Eupatorium perfoliatum is also called Boneset for the prompt manner in which it relieves pain in limbs and muscles that accompanies some forms of febrile disease, like malaria and influenza and in all conditions where there is a great deal of bone pain. Eupatorium acts principally upon the gastrohepatic organs and bronchial mucous membrane. It is in the same family as Joe-Pye weed, is native to much of the United States.
Boneset contains a substance called allantoin, which is used to support cell growth. The roots have the most allantoin. Other nutrients found in boneset are: Calcium, Potassium, Phosphorus, Vitamin A, Vitamin C.
The root is also taken as an astringent and is known for its cooling and anti-irritant properties.
Indications that this herb would be useful for your broken or fractured bones are:
- You are experiencing a deep pain, or have been beaten, and
- It worsens when there is motion as well as during the morning.
Dawn Combs, a botanist and herbalist from Mockingbird Meadows, who is also an avid runner used Boneset to help heal her multiple stress fractures.
"Boneset has a long history of being used for fever relief and for its antibiotic/antiviral qualities. The folklore behind its name is often called into question. Many in the academic circles of herbalism have struggled to isolate the common compounds we would expect to see in a plant that assists with bone health. Still, anecdotal evidence brings us story after story of people who have successfully used its leaves for broken bones. Matthew Wood, a well known herbalist and author, reconciles this by finding evidence that it appears to increase blood flow to the periosteum, which is the fibrous membrane covering the surface of our bones."
In 1978, a United States patent was filed for work done with Eupatorium perfoliatum on dogs with arthritic conditions. According to the patent record, Eupatorium perfoliatum along with a special mixture of plants, including nettle and broom tops, was shown to treat the ailment (Spies 1978). However, no studies were found about human trials of this combination therapy. (See Spies, J.A. 1978. United States Patent: method and compound for treatment of arthritic conditions in dogs. Application #964332.)
Whether Boneset is toxic when taken internally is somewhat controversial. Some types of Boneset can have alkaloids that damage the liver. Many herbalists advise against taking boneset internally. However, Boneset is very beneficial when used externally. Though it might not knit bones together as efficiently as some ancient physicians believed, powdered Boneset has been seen to have a beneficial effect on burns, ulcers, boils, hemorrhoids, sprains and strains, cuts and fractures, and would be a great addition to Dit Da Jow formulas designed to heal bone fractures.
The allantoin in Boneset is said to be so potent that it should be applied very carefully. Anecedotal stories claim that it can cause the skin to heal so rapidly over a cut that it can heal over an infection before it’s had a chance to be removed!
One suggestion (made in the book Tips From the Old Gardeners, compiled by Duncan Crosbie) if you have a bone in need of healing is to try making a Boneset and/or Comfrey "cast" as shown above.
- Use finely ground, moistened root pulp like an herbal plaster applied to a bone fracture or bone bruise/injury.
- Let it dry thoroughly until it is it set like plaster (takes about an hour).
- Once it is dry, it should be firm, not allowing the appendage to move easily.
- If needed, shave the hair off the area first, to prevent the dried herb from pulling the hair and causing pain.
Of course, these are just added suggestions for using herbs to supplement the treatment advice of your doctor or other licensed medical professional and should not be construed in any way as medical advice.
For some more research on Boneset and its medicinal uses, go to Medical Attributes of Eupatorium perfoliatum - Boneset by Georgina Robinson, George Agurkis, Anthony Scerbo, Wilkes University, Wilkes-Barre, PA.