Sunday, March 16, 2008

Blood blisters and cottonwood buds

This morning I was a little careless and gave myself a blood blister with a pair of scissors. If you've ever had a blood blister then you will know how painful these tiny little things will be. I am making a bunch of cottonwood salve today so there were a a lot of buds on the counter. Moments after I pinched myself, thus creating the blister, I picked one up and applied the bud and resins directly to the darkening area. Instantly the pain was gone and has remained so. And although blood had been forming under the surface of my skin, it's completely gone 30 minutes later. Gotta love cottonwood for first aid.


K_Nash said...

Worth a note: To make bruises go away faster, apply a crushed fresh comfrey leaf. It will help break up the bruise and encourages the old blood under the skin to dissipate. It also reduces swelling. Note that comfrey leaf should always be used externally, as the alkaloids it contains are toxic to the liver when taken internally over a period of time.

Rosalee de la Foret said...

Comfrey has indeed gained some negative attention lately in regards to its pyrrolizidine alkaloids. While the root assuredly contains strong toxins not meant for heavy internal use, the leaf has been internally used for centuries. The studies which condemned comfrey to its current notoriety involved feeding rats a diet that was 33% comfrey. To date there are two possible reported poisonings from ingesting comfrey leaf, in both of which comfrey was consumed in very high quantities. Botanist James Duke, Ph.D., reports that one cup of wine is 144 times more cancer promoting that an equal amount of comfrey leaf infusion. If harvesting this herb yourself for internal use be sure to triple check that you are harvesting Symphytum uplandica (according to Weed, many of the varieties of comfrey are misnamed symphytum, but are indeed uplandica. The uplandica species will have purple flowers). Symphytum uplandica has the lowest amount of pyrrolizidine alkaloids.

I regularly drink comfrey leaf infusions and love 'em. :)

K_Nash said...

I hope that there is more study on internal use. I remember that Kava Kava used to be considered liver-toxic, and that was proven false. I also agree that the different varieties of comfrey have higher and lower levels of the alkaloids. In other words, know what you are taking, and err on the side of caution.

I know of several people (including myself) who used infusions over a short period of time (2-3 days) to heal ulcers.