#22- Comfrey, Symphytum officinale

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Comfrey is a perennial plant that has a 2,500 year history of external use. It is abundant in mucilage, which makes it an excellent vulnerary, or skin healer. It makes a wonderful poultice, compress, wash or salve ingredient for nearly every skin aliment. The leaves and flower stalks are high in allantoin, a cell regenerator that can stimulate growth of cartilage, ligament and connective tissue. Comfrey works wonders on broken bones, sprains, strains, bruises, and joint inflammation. I have several friends who have broken bones, and have used comfrey leaves in daily smoothies while recovering from the break. Their orthopedic docs have been astonished at their speedy recovery. I have friends that have used it post surgery and have had great results. I keep powdered comfrey root in our home’s first aid kit, in case I need it immediately to treat an injury. I add some water to the powdered root and smear onto the injured site. Comfrey’s salicylic acid and tannins can really help reduce swelling.

As mentioned in the video, the leaf is high in protein but it is also high in iron. We cut the comfrey down to the ground after collecting the flowers. The plant will give us several rounds of leaves & flowers throughout the growing season. When harvesting the leaves to dry, pick at the base of the stem and gently lay the leaves flat on drying screen or basket. The high protein and mucilage in the leaves will make them blacken if they are handled too much or the leaves are touching when drying . 

You can infuse the fresh or wilted leaves in olive oil. Comfrey can be included in pain salve formulas. It is common to see Comfrey in cough syrups or lung formulas. In expectorant formulas it is often combined with Mullein, Elecampane or Pleurisy root. Some use Comfrey as a mouthwash to treat bleeding gums. It is also used to sooth GI issues and diarrhea or IBS symptoms.

The Pyrollizidine alkaloids are highest in the plant when it is young and the leaves are just emerging in the spring. I do not harvest the leaves until they at least 10” tall. 

The flowers are excellent in salads. They remind me of not so sweet raisins. You can use the flowers as you would any recipe that uses raisins or you can preserve the flowers in vinegars or honey.

Comfrey can help you get comfortable. It can help reduce swelling but it’s not treating the Lyme infection. It’s a “bandaid” to help the symptoms and inflammation. However, Comfrey may play an important role in helping to repair damage done from the infection.

Here’s a more detailed video on Comfrey poultices and a bit of a rant….


Comfrey: A Clinical Overview

Stockwell Farm presents several comfrey studies

and many many more on the web…. 

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