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Saturday, August 10, 2013

Herbs for an Injured Wrist

As promised some time ago, I will go into detail about how I used herbs to heal a badly sprained wrist.

I am not suggesting that you do the same. Always consult your medical practitioner if you have an illness or injury. 

If you are interested in using herbs for your own medical needs, please educate yourself first!
Herbs do not work the same way that drugs do. There's no easy replace drug A with Herb B chart. Nor should there be.

These are resources that I use and trust:
Read this first! 
- a free site. If you like what you see here, the monthly subscription site is well worth the price! It's at - 

I like the list of herbal books found on the Methow
Valley Herbs site, and any listed here will be a book that can be trusted. My personal favorite for the beginning herbalist is "Rosemary Gladstar's Recipes for Vibrant Health." There's nothing in here that can hurt you, and it's easy to get started with her

I've been studying herbs for 6 or 7 years now, and have become something of a kitchen table herbalist. I've  created a home health kit with a number of salves, tinctures and teas that I have made myself using recipes found in the good herbal references and the websites noted above. 

There are herbs that I use every day (ginkgo, hawthorn, and olive leaf) and those that I use as needed for coping with stress (skullcap, passion flower, or catnip - it depends on what's keeping me from relaxing.) 

I also have a few emergency herbs on hand for use in extreme, but not go-see-a-doctor situations (comfrey leaf, not root for injuries,  and Oregon Grape for infections.) I was quite proud of having purchased a bottle of California poppy tincture just in case I needed something for pain. OTC pain relievers are hard on the liver. 

My mistake was in storing the emergency supplies on the bottom of the stack of's hard to move boxes with one hand. And, I found that I could not open the sealed bottle of poppy tincture, so I did have to resort to the bottle of Advil that I had purchased on sale and with a coupon...just in case.

Along with frequent visits to my chiropractor the first 3 days to asses the damage and reassure both of us that no bones were broken, I did use ice to reduce the swelling. And I attempted to make a poultice with the comfrey leaves. That was messy, since my arm was bruised and swollen from fingertips to elbow. 

I finally just poured a cup of leaves and a kettle of hot water into a basin that was large enough to stick my entire lower arm into. After adding cold water to fill the basin I left it on the edge of the sink, and every time I passed by it, I stuck my arm in. I soon found that the cool water and comfrey slurry  was more comforting than ice packs. It worked wonderfully well to reduce the bruising and the swelling. 

Between soaks, I used a commercial arnica ointment that reduces pain. Over the course of the first week, I used a tube of the ointment, and a bottle of 24 Advil. 

Every day I went to work for 4 hours - a bookkeeper can't just take January off until W2s, 1099s and quarterly taxes are done. My chiropractor suggested using the fingers as much as possible. My typing speed and accuracy suffered, but the daily exercise kept them flexible. 

On the third week the bruising was gone, and the swelling  confined to the wrist and thumb joints. I added 2 products from a California herbalist, which I purchased here:

The Busted Joint Ointment and Elixir contain herbs that repair ligaments and tendons. They are amazing products and I will never be without a spare tin of ointment and bottle of elixir if I can help it. Yes, I could make my own version, but these are so nice, and work so well. I continue to use both as my wrist regains the range of motion that I thought I'd never see again. 

It's a slow process, but I am content that, at least for me, it has been the right choice. I am certain that had I gone to the fire station the morning I fell, I'd have wound up in ER and likely been sent to surgery. 

Many people think that's what I sh0uld have done. I'm content to take the slower, non-invasive and so much less expensive route.  

Healing should take time. I believe that one of the worst things about modern medicine is that we think it's normal to rush a recovery...have the surgery, take the "magic" pills, rush back into our daily lives. Our bodies know better. Give a hurt a chance to repair itself...follow the desire to just go to bed and let nature make the the healing process with sleep, nourishing food and healing herbs.

Don't force the body to heal. Allow it to happen. 


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My Favorite Fiction Authors and Books

  • Suzanne Arruda- the Jade del Cameron mysteries: "The Mark of the Lion" "Stalking Ivory", "The Serpent's Daughter", "The Leopard's Prey" and "The Golden Cheetah"
  • Ken Goddard - "Balefire" and others
  • Stephen White - the Dr. Alan Gregory books are all great. "Kill Me" is my favorite.
  • Harlan Coben - anything he writes is great
  • Elizabeth Peters - Amelia Peabody mysteries

My Favorite Nonfiction Authors and Books

  • "Coyote's Guide to Connecting With Nature" by Jon Young, Ellen Haas and Evan McGown- 2nd edition coming soon!
  • Gavin De Becker - "The Gift of Fear"
  • "Deep Survival" by Laurence Gonzales- the best survival book I've ever read! Not a how-to, its more of a who does,and why.
  • Candice Millard - "The River of Doubt -Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey"
  • Anything that starts with "Peterson's Field Guide To..."
  • Tom Brown, Jr. - "The Tracker" and others
  • Mark Elbroch - "Mammal Tracks and Sign" and "Animal Skulls"