Wednesday, March 3, 2010


It's time for another educational post and I haven't done an herb in ages-so today I will be talking about one of my absolute most favorite herbs ever. Comfrey. As you can see from the pictures I have 2 varieties of Comfrey in my garden. On the right is russian comfrey. The russian variety is the easiest to find and is marketed as true comfrey but it's actually a sterile hybrid. It is good medecine. To the right is the true species of comfrey. It is much larger than the russian, and it produces tons of flowers and seeds. You have to be careful with the seeds. I pull up all the little seedlings I find because once comfrey gets established in a spot it's permanent. It has a very deep root system and if you try to kill it by chopping up the roots, well-lets say you'll have an ugly surprise because all the pieces of chopped up root will make a new plant. It's best to choose your spot very carefully if you put in comfrey. If you don't want the seeds to spread you can just remove the flowers as they appear.

Comfrey is one of my "miracle" herbs. I say that because the healing powers of this plant are just hard to believe. It will completely close wounds overnight. I always recommend caution with comfrey on an open wound because it will seal in infection or debris. It contains a substance called allantoin (also present in plantain). which is a cell proliferant. This explains the healing power. Comfrey will strengthen any body tissue it's used on. It has been used to treat broken bones and I have had miraculous results using comfrey on tendonitis. It's also wonder ful for sore muscles, sprains, bruises, to strengthen the skin, and to alleviate eczema and psoriasis. There is a great controvesy over the internal use of comfrey because of the (potential) presents of dangerous alkaloids that have been alleged to have caused liver damage. This is based on about 5 cases (in hundreds of years of use) and at least 2 of the people involved were taking enormous amounts of powdered comfrey in capsules. My opinion is that you should do your research and decide for your self. If I had a broken bone I would drink comfrey tea every day. But with people who have comprimised livers, I wouldn't risk it.

Another cool thing about comfrey is that makes great food for other plants. If you can't decide what to do with your comfrey, try making a tea with it and use it to water your other plants.

On a later post I will teach you how to make an herbal oil.

I do read comments so if you have questions you can just post it as a comment.


crystal said...

Great Comfrey Post,I am sad too that it can't be used internally any more. I like to read about all of it's Miracle uses and stories though.

Anonymous said...

I use it internally when needed. I have read the roots are more concentrated and should not be eaten. The leaves are up to you but I have found over 50+ years that comfrey is a wonderful healer. I use a combination of good old fashioned poultice and drinking the infusion when I have any bad muscle, tendon, or bone problem. For example, years ago I had very painful planter fastiitis. The podiatrist said to start codeine shots. Instead I went home and used a comfrey poultice made from a bunch of dried leaves steeped for >4 hours. Made a fresh batch each night and put it on the foot for about 2 hours the next evening, every evening for a week. I drank the liquid the leaves had been steeped in (an herbal infusion) as well. After the week the pain was gone and it has never come back. Amazing.

Jackie said...

I have had the same experience with comfrey on my tendonitis. I was told I would have it for life but after using comfrey on it I rarely have any problems.

Woody Miller said...

My son, Bode Miller, the skier and I have used Comfrey for many years with sometimes dramatic results. Following a car accident and surgery on my knee in 1994, months after surgery my knee remained so swollen that my range of motion was very limited and my MD said whatever range I was able to achieve in the next month would be all I would ever have. I was taking Motrin and trying to force it to bend when a friend came by with some fresh comfrey root that he told me to chop up and put on my knee overnight. The next morning after months of no change I was amazed to see wrinkles in my knee and could bend it far more than I had. I never got full range of motion but I'm thankful for comfrey for what I have!
I have been using a food processor to chop up the comfrey and adding Tiger balm but end up with a ball that is hard to form a poultice, a little too rubbery. That's with fresh root. with frozen root it doesn't hold together well. Thanks for any suggestions for anything to add to the root for consistency or efficacy. Thanks, Woody