Comfrey

Comfrey

Symphytum officinale

Comfrey is used as a topical agent, it is used to heal wounds, bruises, sprains, strains, skin ulcers, and thrombophlebitis.

  • Plant type: Perennial
  • Other names: Common Comfrey, Knitbone
  • Medicinal: Yes
  • Culinary: No
  • Ceremonial: No
  • Parts Used: Leaves and Roots
  • Side Effects:
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About Comfrey

Comfrey is a flowering perennial that is native to Britain with its extending indigeneity throughout most parts of Europe, Central Asia, and Western Siberia. For the first time as a medicinal plant, it was mentioned in Pliny the Elder for the cure of bruises and sprains.  It can grow up to a height of 1 to 3 feet, with a black root that is all white and slimy on the inside. It has hairy leaves on branched hairy stems, adorned with bell-shaped flowers only from May to June.

Comfrey comes with vast applications when it comes to treating human anomalies. cc Anciently, its roots and leaves were used in poultices to treat broken bones and inflammation due to sprains. It can also be used orally for addressing gastrointestinal tract issues, such as ulcers, colitis, and diarrhea. The anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and astringent properties have made comfrey a stellar herb in the world of herbalism. 

Its star active ingredient is allantoin which is responsible for most of the pharmacological properties of comfrey. It helps reduce inflammation, promotes the growth of new cells, and enhances skin health.

 

Growing

Comfrey can be started in spring or fall. The fall-grown may not be able to grow robustly or might not even show up, so spring is hailed as the best time for starting comfrey. They can also be grown indoors if they are settled in big pots and have considerable exposure to the sun. It needs at least 3 hours of direct sunlight for proper growth so choose a place that receives full sun to partial shade. 

Sow comfrey seeds in well-drained, moist soil and water them accordingly as it performs well as they prefer moderate levels of water. 

Comfrey is an extremely resilient plant that can tolerate drought and other minor calamities of nature. It takes about two to three weeks to germinate. Surprisingly, comfrey grows with the aid of seeds but it spreads remarkably with its black, turnip-like root.

From May to June, comfrey flowers begin to appear. Due to their peculiar long-tubular structure, they can only be reached by long-tongued bumblebees for pollination. After fertilization, four oval nutlets form that are known as comfrey fruit.

 

Harvesting

Comfrey leaves harvest begins by the mid-spring and can be done four times a year at any given time. Its roots can be harvested anytime between winter and spring.

Harvest the comfrey stems with a sickle, around 2 inches above the ground for the leaves. As for the root, loosen the soil around the plant and dig up the plant to expose the roots. Cut the required amount and re-pack the plant to keep it growing.

Tie a thread around the base of the stems and hang them upside down to dry the leaves to a crumbling state. The roots, on the other hand, should be washed thoroughly, chopped into smaller pieces, and dried in a dehydrator.

Usage

Comfrey is used in a variety of ways to treat a good load of human anomalies.

  • Tincture - Dried and chopped comfrey roots are topped with alcohol for 4 to 6 weeks to produce comfrey tincture. The plant material is strained away and the tincture is bottled in an airtight glass container.
  • Tea - Dried comfrey leaves are soaked in hot boiling water for 5 to 6 minutes to make comfrey tea.
  • Decoction - Dried comfrey leaves and roots are boiled in water for not more than two hours to make a comfrey decoction.
  • Salve - Comfrey root-infused oil is stirred with melted beeswax pellets to form a comfrey salve 
  • Infused oil - Dried comfrey root or leaves are infused in olive oil for a week on a sunny windowsill in a glass container to fashion a comfrey-infused oil.