Sometimes used on the skin to treat wounds and reduce inflammation from sprains and broken bones, the roots and leaves contain allantoin, a substance that helps new skin cells grow, along with other substances that reduce inflammation and keep skin healthy. An ointment or poultice can be used to heal bruises as well as pulled muscles and ligaments, fractures, sprains and strains.
It is sometimes referred to as “bone knitting herb” (but not boneset).
About the plant: a perennial shrub that is native to Europe. Fond of moist soils (but grows quite happily in our escarpment/limestone/dry garden), it has a thick, hairy stem, and grows quite tall. In fact, I miscalculated when I planted last spring. I shall have to divide it after seeding to give room to its neighbours. Its flowers are pale blue or white, and arranged in clusters.
If you look closely, the leaves are elongated, and when dug up, the root has a black outside and fleshy whitish inside filled with juice.
If you make a preparation, the common part used is leaves. Some preparations can also be made from the roots, but roots contain up to 16 times the amount of the poisonous pyrrolizidine alkaloids and can be more harmful than helpful.
When making and using ointments, creams, and poultices avoid application to broken skin and do not use for more than 7 consecutive days, and no more than 4 – 6 weeks in a year.
So, can you name this medicinal herb? Bonus points for latin name!