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Bones (broken)

General characteristics

General characteristics

Breaks or cracks in a bone are known as fractures. A fracture can occur in any bone of the body and can result from an accident such as a fall or when more pressure is put on the bone than it can cope with. Breaks can present in a wide variety of ways such as a clean break, chips breaking off or a hairline fracture across or along the length of a bone. They can also occur as a result of diseases like osteoporosis.
Clean fractures where the surrounding tissues are not ruptured or injured is called a simple or closed fracture. These tend to be uncomplicated and healing is relatively straight forward.
When the soft tissues or skin surrounding the bone is also damaged it is called an open or compound fracture. These are more serious as blood spills into the tissues, complicating healing and allowing the possibility of infection into the fracture site.
Bones are normally excellent healers as they have their own built in repair mechanisms so need little help in many cases. Sometimes things do go wrong and extra help is needed. For example, the bones of the elderly often take longer to heal, sometimes the ends of broken bones are not 'set' (do not meet) properly or blood supply to the bone is damaged delaying or disrupting healing.
Bone cells called osteoclasts eat away and reabsorb any damaged bits of bone then bone building cells called osteoblasts lay down new healthy bone tissue to replace what is needed. The bone forming cells tend to make slightly more bone than is needed so the area where the bone has newly healed has a slight bump around it (callus) which slowly fades away over time.
Herbs and natural healing aim to ensure a proper blood supply to and from the area, assist the natural defences in fighting any infection and help ensure the smooth process of the bone healing process.

Diet and lifestyle

Diet and lifestyle

Smoking, processed sugar, table salt and alcohol have all been shown to slow down and hinder the bone healing process.

Eat nutrient rich soups containing vegetables like carrots, sweetcorn, potatoes, cabbage etc and include some barley grain to ensure efficient healing. Use foods that are rich in calcium, magnesium and potassium. See also 'minerals' in the 'natural healing section' of the site for more foods containing these vital bone minerals.

Have a juice every day that contains carrot, apple and a few dark leafy greens.

Avoid canned and fizzy drinks and processed foods as they contain excess phosphorous which inhibits the bone repair process.


Useful herbs

Useful herbs

Most fractured bones will be put in a cast to immobilise them so cannot have a poultice applied but for the bones that can't be put in a cast (collar bones, cheeks, nose etc) you can apply a poultice of grated fresh comfrey root to greatly enhance the healing process. Use a tablespoon or so of grated (fresh) or powdered comfrey root and simmer it for 15 minutes in some water. Strain off the water and liquidise or pulverise the root into a slimy paste. Apply this liberally to the area of the fracture and secure gently in place. Leave on for a couple of hours. Replace every day with a fresh poultice. You will actually be able to feel the increased healing activity in the bone whilst the comfrey is in place! Do not use comfrey root if the skin is broken around the break.
If your bone is in a cast then drink a tea daily of equal parts comfrey leaf, horsetail, ribwort plantain, oatstraw, boneset and nettle. Use a heaped teaspoon of herb per cup and stand for 10 minutes to infuse. This tea will provide many beneficial nutrients and greatly speed up the bone healing process.
 
Mullein leaf, alone or in combination with some of the herbs above is a promoter of bone healing and will encourage tissues to heal into their natural place.
 
Solomons seal root is also a useful ally in bone healing.

Natural healing

Natural healing

Get out in the sunshine if possible every day for at least 20 minutes without applying suncream. Vitamin D, produced in the body on exposure to sunlight, will not only help the bone to heal but will significantly reduce the risks of future breaks in those more susceptible.
Avoid taking aspirin and other anti-inflammatory medicines as these block the body chemicals released during a fracture that are crucial to bone healing.

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