Comfrey

So begins what will (hopefully) be a weekly addition to the Aftermath blog. Each week I will post an article about one plant or tree that is used for medicinal and/or food purposes.

Comfrey is the first.
You may recall that I wrote briefly about this plant in Medicinal Plant Walk, but I am here to let you know more about Comfrey.

For starters, comfrey is indiginous to Europe and grows in temperate regions of the world, such as North America and Australia. It grows best in moist areas, particularly in marsh lands. It is a perennial that grows up to 3 feet with thick leaves and white to pink flowers.

Comfrey has been used in the past to treat bronchitis, stomach ulcers, broken bones or sprains, acne, fungal skin infections, aching joints, and rashes. It’s key properties are demulcent, astringent, anti-inflammatory, and it is also transdermal (able to go through the skin). It has the ability to heal bruises, sprains, fractures, and broken bones very quickly. If you were to apply a comfrey compress (cloth soaked in a diluted tincture wrapped around the injury) immediately to a sprain or a broken bone, the healing time, as well as the severity of your injury, would be reduced significantly.

If you wish to plant comfrey, the best times of the year would be in the spring or early autumn. Plant in a sunny and warm site with moistened soil. Use the leaves of the plant, gathered in the spring, for ointments, or crush them them up and apply directly to the skin. You may use the root of plant internally, especially if you are gathering in the fall or winter, though generally it is recommended to use the leaves externally instead.

Well, that’s all for now! Come back soon for more herbs as well as our accounts of recent primitive events we have taken part in. As always, feel free to e-mail us or respond with any questions or suggestions you might have.

– Miranda Vivian

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7 Comments

  1. Duir said,

    November 20, 2006 at 1:18 am

    hello, your article is verry informative and I greatly look forword to feather additions. Howerver, there was no mintion of the risks of Comfery’s use. I have found in some of my research that Comfery contains hepatotoxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs). These toxins have been shown to couse various problems with the liver and posobly in over dose or exestive use can lead to liver failer, interal use should be advised aggenst . Also, the group of toxins found in Comfery have been linked with developing cancer in the testiong of rats.
    In closing, I thank you for publishing this article and look forword to reading more of your work. I only sugest that to every essay on medicinal and edibal plant be given information on the risks and potintual side efects and/or links to sites that contain more extinsave infromation.
    Thank you for shairing your time and knowlage- Duir

  2. Duir said,

    November 20, 2006 at 1:26 am

    Forgive me, in my haset I niglected to state that Comfery is an extreamly usefle herb for medical perpusses, and all the uses mintioned are vallid, and true. To any other reader, mainly the novis, I suggest that one should most defintly, exstinsafly, reaserch any herb priore to use. Again, thank you – Duir

  3. Aftermath said,

    November 20, 2006 at 2:09 am

    I thank you for your suggestions and will make sure to include more information in articles from now on.
    I’d like to make a note about comfrey in relation to cancer. It has been given a bad reputation by some groups, mostly those that would consider herbal medicines to be a joke, not useful, and hardly scientific. Some would say that because of the increased rate of cell growth that comfrey causes, that it would increase the spread of cancer in a body. Comfrey will increase cell growth…in normal cells. Cancer cells are abnormal and if a body had cancer, those cells would not increase and more than they would otherwise. I personally recommend using Comfrey topically and not internally, which also helps to reduce any risk of toxins due to overdose, misuse, or drug interactions. Comfrey is a drug and should be used as such. Any herbal remedy should be used with caution.
    My purpose here is to share the knowledge that I have learned from research, classes, and painstaking effort. My only hope is to perhaps create a spark of interest to lead someone to research more into a particular herb and herbal medicines altogether. I certainly wouldn’t recommend reading an article about an herb, walking away from the computer, picking said herb, and then adminstering it medicinally without researching further. To do so would be, well, not the most intelligent thing to do.
    Next article, blue cohosh. That’s a fun one!

    – Miranda Vivian

  4. raku said,

    June 8, 2007 at 12:34 am

    Comfrey is also a nitrogen fixer and the leaves make an excellent fertilizer to improve the quality of soil for other plants. As comfrey’s taproot is extremely long, it tends to draw nutrients from deep in the soil up to the surface. Mulch the leaves or make a tea and use for waterings to increase soil health.

  5. joan Bodunde said,

    February 22, 2010 at 6:28 am

    can comfery heal a delay bone union?

  6. April 20, 2010 at 7:27 am

    I have never heard of Comfrey before. From what you say, it should be at least as famous as Asprin.

  7. Dave J said,

    May 26, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    I raised rabbits for quite some time, and have used comfrey to treat diarrhea in rabbits. Diarrhea can be deadly in short order to rabbits, and we required a readily available remedy for its treatment. Comfrey fit the bill. And the rabbits loved it; ate it like candy, in fact.


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