My arthritic complaints are predominantly in my knee and are the result of an old injury. Most have war injuries, sports injuries, but mine is a haunted house injury. My treatment for the injury itself, and the later arthritic pains that came about were actually one in the same.
About four years ago, I was working my usual haunt, in the swamp as the voodoo lady, which was my role for about 5 years. As you are probably aware, swamps can be wet gloomy places (which I happen to like), and it often necessitated the wearing of rubber boots during the colder, wetter parts of the Halloween season.
Across my swamp ran a wooden bridge, and one night while chasing, um, I mean accompanying customers across it, of course, I slid. It would seem after three or four years of wear, my rubber boots had become a bit slick. My left leg went straight up into the air, only to crash back down, knee first, right onto the wooden bridge. Needless to say, I limped home that night, with the assistance of my trusty voodoo staff.
I healed it to some degree, through the use of herbal compresses. Comfrey root and Arnica were instrumental in this. Comfrey root is also called “knitbone”, as it can reputedly do just that, and Arnica is great as a sore muscle rub. The combination of the two did wonders to heal the damage, and I honestly had no real trouble to speak of out of the old injury until the past year, when arthritic pains set in.
It started as soreness when it rained, and eventually, my knee began to make a very audible “creaking” sound when I bent or unbent it. My yoga exercises helped a bit, but I soon knew I would have to do more for it. My answer now, is to return to my Comfrey and Arnica compresses, which I do beforehand when I feel the rain coming on, and try to do once a week anyway, whether my knee is hurting or not.
The combination seems to work just as well for the arthritic pains as it did for the initial healing process. It also comes in handy when my left wrist and fingers start to feel the strain of playing bass (quite probably also arthritic, from years of playing). As long as I do this once a week, in conjunction with my yoga exercises, I have very little trouble with either condition.
There is one precaution I would mention with regard to both of these herbs. I do not suggest taking either of these internally, but then you should not need to for arthritic care. Dr. Weil mentions in the Arnica link above that Arnica shouldn’t be used on broken skin either, because it can get into your blood stream. Arnica is, of course, also known as wolf’s bane, and can be toxic if it gets into your bloodstream.
Comfrey root has also been linked with toxicity when taken internally. There is even an old wives tell I read once in an ancient herbal that says Comfrey heals so quickly, that it can actually heal organs together, and cause obstructions. Although I do not see the truth in this, and in fact have used it myself internally in very small doses for other maladies, I do not recommend taking Comfrey internally at all. As long as there is no broken skin, you should be fine with a simple compress of either, or both of these herbs, however.
Additional source: Over 20 years of personal study and experimentation with alternative medicines, treatments, and therapies.