Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Herbal Medicine Part 7: Udderly Healing Emergency

An herbalist friend told the following story...

John and Sue Ellen were friends of Robin's. They raised goats. John had spent years breeding goats trying to breed what he considered the perfect goat — a good mother, a good milker, gentle, healthy... Annabelle was that goat... John loved Annabelle, his perfect mixture of all things goat.

John was a quiet, gentle man... unexcitable, calm, stolid, dependable. Robin says that if John looks at a situation and quietly, almost under his breath, says, "Oh, my" then it's an emergency. John doesn't get upset easily.

Robin was visiting John and Sue Ellen one day... she and Sue Ellen were sitting in the living room drinking tea and catching up on gossip. John went outside to milk the goats. Within a few minutes, surely not long enough to get the milking done, John was back inside, standing quietly in the kitchen doorway, his face ashen... Robin and Sue Ellen imagined the worst... "What's wrong?"

"I need help." John replied.

Robin and Sue Ellen hurriedly followed John to the barn. "It's Annabelle," he said quietly, wringing his hands.

Annabelle had somehow got her udder caught on something and had torn it, badly... there was a long nasty gash down her udder and partly down one teat... so deep that there was milk and blood pouring out of the wound. John looked at Robin desperately, his eyes pleading with her to do something for his beloved Annabelle... she was the herbalist, wasn't she?

Robin rushed from the barn and began searching the ground around the house and barnyard... it was winter, not much was growing... still she searched... for something to help her dear friend's dear goat, Annabelle.

Robin found plantain growing near the barn...

Broad-Leaf Plantain

She knew where Sue Ellen grew comfrey, but it was winter... she was on her hands and knees, quickly brushing away dead leaves and twigs until she found a few green comfrey leaves...

Comfrey plant

She crammed the leaves of both herbs into her mouth and began to chew as she ran back to the barn, and Annabelle.

Plantain is a blood purifier, it cools and soothes as it heals. Mixed with saliva and used as a poultice, it effectively aids in stopping bleeding. Comfrey heals...  and heals quickly.

John was standing in the barn with his beloved Annabelle, still looking helpless. He stepped aside as Robin rushed into the barn, removing the makeshift poultice from her mouth as she ran... She applied the herbal mixture to the wound on Annabelle's udder and held it there... John stood to the side, looking worried, and wringing his hands... Robin decided he needed something to do, so she gave him the occupation of holding the poultice on Annabelle's wound... She gave him directions to keep it on for at least a half hour...

Meanwhile she gathered more of both herbs and mixed up less hurried poultices to leave for John and Sue Ellen to apply to Annabelle a few times a day for the next several days. She gave directions for cleansing the wound and the application of the herbal poultices before leaving for home that evening.

Within three weeks, Annabelle's wound was completely healed... there is now, if you look VERY carefully, a three-inch long hairline scar where the gaping wound once was... and John still has his prized, perfect goat, Annabelle.


  1. Wow what a story! I had tears in my eyes as I read it. I know how it feel to have that special one and then to have something happen to it. I am saving this in my favorites and I need to grow some comfrey. I have plent of plantain. Thank you so much for this one!!!

  2. Awesome story! We planted a mother load of comfrey last spring for our chickens. Not for them to go through them, eating on the plants. When they get mature, we will cut them back as they grow and dry them to feed to our chickens. It's very good protien especially in the winter when all other green is gone. Chickens don't seem to like it green due to it's fuzziness on the leaf, that's the reason for drying it for them, but ducks and geese will eat them right up because they're not omnivores like chickens.

    I'm gonna look up plantains to see how they OR IF they grown in Michigan. Love all the helpful info, thanks Granny.

    Sassy... the MidWest Grammie

  3. What a beautiful story! I've never heard of comfrey. Are there any other uses for it?

    1. Family Spice, comfrey has so so many uses... speeds healing of cuts, ulcerations, bruises, broken bones, pulled muscles and ligaments, and sprains. Shouldn't be used on deep or puncture wounds because it heals so quickly that there is a likelihood the outer skin layers will be stimulated to close up prior to the draining and regeneration of deeper tissues. It's wonderful stuff!!!! Used it on Mr. G's broken toe not so long ago and it healed twice as quickly as it normally would have. LOVE the stuff! ~~Granny

  4. I'm so grateful for you!!! Thank you for these postings! You have inspired me to keep digging and learning!! ♥

  5. Hi, I wish I could read your blog, but I have macular degeneration and the green letters on gold just fade together and it takes a lot of effort.Solid black or bold with more contrast would make it much more accessible.Congratulations on your 1 year anniversary. Thanks, Kate

    1. Kate, It's possible to set up accessibility features for visual impairments. ~~Granny

  6. Great story, thanks for sharing!


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