Many years ago when I first started studying to be a medical herbalist my husband badly injured his little finger at our shop; it was almost cut right through and only had a small amount of flesh still holding it together. He phoned me at home and told me he'd hurt his finger. Not realizing how bad it was I told him to go across the road to the ambulance and I'd drive straight to our shop, which was only a minute or so away.
Back then the ambulance used to dress wounds and attend to minor injuries but they haven't done that for quite some time now. When I got there the ambulance officer on duty had told my husband it was too bad an injury for him to do anything with it and to go to the hospital. When I realized that it wasn't just a deep cut but a severed finger I felt terrible; I should have told him to go to the hospital not the ambulance!
I had to mind the shop so my husband drove himself to the hospital where he was admitted straight away and taken into surgery as soon as the surgeon could get there. Refusing to follow my husband's wishes and amputate the finger, the surgeon pinned the severed half back on to the remaining stump.
Two weeks later my husband had to go for a check-up and have the pin removed. When the surgeon pulled the pin out the finger came apart! So he pushed it back together and sent my husband away telling him to give it another two weeks to heal.
When I was told what happened I suggested we rub the comfrey ointment I had made in to the finger. We did this for the two weeks and when the surgeon pulled the pin out the finger remained intact. He was totally amazed so my husband told him that we had applied comfrey ointment to the finger. At that stage comfrey had been banned for internal and external use in Australia. There was such an uproar over this that the 'powers-that-be' eventually allowed us to use the herb externally. Anyway, getting back to the surgeon, he couldn't get over how well the comfrey ointment had healed the finger and said to my husband, "How were you able to get it?" To which my husband laughingly replied, "Can't tell you that." "Well anyway," said the surgeon," just keep using it - it's a great healer."
One of comfrey's common names is knit bone and this story certainly adds credence to such a name. If any of you have stories about using comfrey we'd love you to share them with us.
Proprietor, author, and tutor of The Home Herbalist Online Course.