People: “How did you get into herbal medicine?“
Me: “I cut my achilles tendon open.“
Yeah, it was horrible. I hate that it happened. But it did. I should say, actually, “someone’s bicycle cut my achilles tendon open.“…
So I had this cut into the back of my foot, parallel with the bottom of my foot, making a 1″ flap of my heel, cut straight through, that could open up like a mouth. I was at a Renaissance Fair at the time, would you believe! I had to drive 45 minutes home (on manual transmission no less) with dog and goats in the car. Thankfully when I got home I had a few sets of helping hands to put the goats up and help me inside for some medical attention. I was bordering on shock by the time I got indoors and sat down. I made it, phew!
At the time I’d never really used herbs with any competence for healing. I was skeptical because I was ignorant. A willing pair of hands helped me keep the wound clean, flushed, and bandaged. She had to flush it every day to work the bicycle gear grease out of the wound. I refused to look at it, knowing how much worse it was going to hurt if I did.
After a week of sleeping with my foot elevated, hopping around the barnyard with crutches and bucket handles clenched between my teeth, and keeping bandages changed, it was still as raw and bloody as the day it happened. Thankfully no sign of infection or complication had set in.
A friend of mine, who is a seasoned herbalist, looked at me one day and said “This is totally ridiculous. Sit down.”
She brought me a tub of hot water steeped heavily with comfrey leaf and well salted with epsom salt. I had to put my foot in the hot concoction and grit my teeth for 2 hours. I asked more than once if I could be done soaking my foot. “No.” was her answer. By the end of the soak my toes were curled tightly and my foot was tightly clenched. Everything felt… stuck in that position, like I couldn’t move anything in my foot. But it didn’t really hurt. I didn’t fight the sensation, I just bandaged up and went home.
The next day the wound was sealed shut, no more bleeding. 2 days later I was walking on it with confidence. I was dumbstruck- after a full week my body had made 0% progress on healing. And in a single night of comfrey soaking the wound had healed almost fully.
Thus my interest in learning more about the medicinal properties of herbs was born in earnest. And a good thing, too! Because a few months later I put a nail through that same foot and treated it confidently, comfortably, and successfully on my own with herbs. But that’s another story…
Someone: “Why didn’t you go to a hospital?“
Me: “What would they have done? I didn’t sever the tendon, nothing can be stapled, it’s clean and not infected. And I don’t want stitches. There’s nothing else a doctor can do for this wound other than charge me money looking at it.“