A friend of mine just called me the other day and asked, “Do you have anything that can help my wife with a sprained ankle?”
“Why, yes! I have the best thing for it. Comfrey!”
I promptly met him at the place where I pick up my kids from school and he unloaded the large plant from out of my car. I sent him directions and he himself relieved his wife’s pain with God’s beautiful provided medicine. I love it!
When I think of Comfrey, I think of “stitches.” Sometimes, when I mention it to people they get this hex look on their face, like I have just personally ok’d a poison. It really has been way too hyped up. Yes, it can close a deep wound before it’s proper time and cause infection… it is that powerful of a plant. But that is why you don’t use it like that!
Later, while doing my research on this plant, I heard that the folk medicinal name for it was “knitbone.” Makes sense.
Instead of teaching you anything about plants, I would just rather list why I love them;) Here is my list on Comfrey that I love and why I feel it is one of the best aids we have been given:
- It helps the bones, skin, tendons, ligaments, and memory
- It’s oil heals bruises, sprains and headaches
- It strengthens the respitory system, digestive system and reproductive system
The high levels of alkaloids is what makes it so scary to some folks. We could talk about that, or I could just provide you with a link for those numbers. I feel no need, since I believe that Comfrey has been victim to scare tactics to it’s customers.
I agree with Susun Weed on this one… If you don’t like it, then don’t use it. The hype on all that info is truly ‘Comfrey Madness.’ (little joke there;) She also elaborates on how there are two particular varieties that cause the confusion and how it is uplandica x that we should have no fear of. I trust her and the fact that she has been using Comfrey infusions for over 10 years. She is a ray of light as far as I can see; very healthy.
In the “First Aid” department, it rocks! I think of it like stitches because of how it can bring the skin together as well with it’s astringent properties. It works this way for wrinkles too and it is the main ingredient (the root) in my wrinkle moisturizer that I make. Why not tap into it’s skin magic?! It is amazing! But it is great for just repairing the skin of scrapes or putting the oil on the skin for aches, pains, headaches or under skin injuries. We cannot forget that our skin is a living organ and it soaks in all that we put on it. Comfrey works quickly as well.
It is the Allantoins that we want from it. I just got done harvesting the tops to dry for winter infusions for myself. All the first aid or beauty products that I use it for are with it’s powerful root. I harvested not enough either. I will go back for more this week, once it has a good two days of sun on it and then get more stalks and leaves. The alatoin is much stronger when those are there. The root can be harvested whenever, I guess. It works the same for me no matter what time of year I harvest it. I will be digging up my year’s supply of roots here soon too. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allantoin)
I have two species. I do not have the purple, rough or prickly one and that is fine by me. As you can see, you can try to get rid of Comfrey, but it will just inevitably survive and pop up elsewhere. I found only one account, online, of anyone eradicating it; They build a hot manure pile on top. I am thankful to have the uplandica x. The flowers are kind of purply, hot pink. The other variety that I have is just the common or true species with the creamy pink flowers. I like that one more for looking at in the gardens, although it is the variety that I just gave to my friend for his sprain poultices. I asked him to please not ingest it. I thought this was a good site that properly explained the three species of Comfrey. There is lots of confusing information out there regarding this plant and just nailing down proper pictures of the individual plants was hard. (http://www.nantahala-farm.com/comfrey-root-s.shtml)
You know, Comfrey is also great for animal feed! It is super high in protein and my chickens would eat it. They did not love it, but when bored and nothing but the hot sun drying up their grass to eat, they would peck a plant down throughout the day. Since it never ends in invading and taking over fields, you could easily leave livestock or chickens around it to keep it in check. It is a wonderful plant!
One of my mentors once told me to consider this about not just Comfrey, but every plant…
“The most powerful part is in it’s root, then the leaves are less in it’s strength and then the flower… it is the most delicate part of the plant and therefore also the most delicate amount of medicine.”
I loved that.
This is a plant that you should just have in a container on the patio if at all possible. I would think twice of where to put it in the yard. It gets wild and will not go away easily, but how fortunate we are to have such an abundant and beautiful tool at our disposal!