Comfrey
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I can’t believe that it is already June, this spring just flew by!

Today I want to get your input.  We have lots of comfrey growing on Briarmoor and I know that it is a great herb to have around, Polyface feeds it to their rabbits, etc.  But are there easy ways to dry and store this lovely herb and or helpful uses for human consumption that you have found?!?  Thanks in advance!

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What helpful suggestions do you have for using comfrey?

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About Erin Phelan

Born and raised in western Michigan, Erin came to Polyface first as an intern in the summer of 2009. While here she met and got to know Grady Phelan, an apprentice at the time. The next spring they were married and after a couple years in Oklahoma they are back, working as sub-contractors for Polyface. Erin keeps herself busy with the jobs of a wife and mother, as well as helping with the animals, gardening, sewing, cooking, baking, knitting and reading.
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20 Responses to Comfrey

  1. The dried leaves soaked in oil make a wonderful salve for stiff joints, bruises, sprains, etc. one of my all-time favorite herbs!!!

  2. Ricki says:

    Makes a great tomato fertilizer, just make sun tea with crushed leaves and pour on tomato plants. Put it in creams, especially babies bottom cream for healing (Rosemary Gladstar recipe).

  3. Lacie says:

    It is great for wounds. You can infuse it in a carrier oil and use it to make a salve.

  4. Leilani says:

    I would love to have enough to feed to our rabbits. Comfrey is not easy to grow here in hot and humid Florida but I am working on perfecting growing it in the shade and building up how much we have. No great recipes here because I haven’t had enough yet.

  5. Kate says:

    From my limited herbal experience through self study and a course in midwifery school comfrey has been cautioned in use with human consumption due to possible liver toxicity from pyrrolizidine alkaloids. But it is quite beneficial to use in healing salves, it works wonders binding skin back together. I love to include it in my oil infusion along with calendula, yarrow, plantain that I turn into a salve and use on any skin ailments. It can also be made into a poultice and put directly onto a cut/wound. Another nickname for comfrey is “bone knit” because it has traditionally been used for healing broken bones, in this case internal and external, which from my perspective a short internal use for a acute situation is safe, but do your own research. As a midwife I also like to encourage the use of comfrey for the perineum/vagina after childbirth to help heal any tears, but if the tear is deep and into the muscle, I wait at least 24 hours to start using comfrey (as a poultice, salve, tea, sitz bath, etc) because comfrey heals the superficial and the tissues need some time to heal deep first other wise you could potentially get an abscess. Also I have heard of comfrey use in biodynamic farming, I believe they use it a lot in there compost mix and herbal plant teas, because it helps to increase cell proliferation.

  6. Meredith/GreenCircleGrove says:

    Years ago, farmers grew it for cattle feed. I don’t have cattle, but I do occasionally tie a big bunch in the chicken coop and let the hens jump for it. I’ve read the cautions for internal usage, so I don’t make infusions or teas with it, but I have used it as a poultice for bruises.

  7. Ang says:

    I remember the West Ladies saying that they grow it. I will try and see if I can find out more. That salve sounds great, do you have a recipe?

  8. Jenny says:

    My infant just had a nasty fall and scraped up her head at a nearby farm we’re friends with and a comfrey salve was immediately brought and applied and it worked wonders! I am definitely going to grow some next year!!

  9. Susan says:

    Years ago, I had a very painful stye, and my TCM doc gave me a tiny little bag of comfrey root with instructions to put a little bit in a hankie, moisten it, and apply to they painful area. Totally healed and pain free in just two days.

    From a permaculture perspective, comfrey is a dynamic accumulator, meaning it sends roots down deep and brings up all manner of nutrients, evidently in very usable form. This is why it’s good for composts and fodder — trace minerals and who knows what other good stuff.

    In homeopathy, comfrey is an important polychrest, i.e., useful remedy for many different ailments including flu (the kind when your bones hurt) and speeding the healing of fractures. HTH

  10. Often used in poultices, with the Latin name meaning “knit together”. Used as an external poultice over broken bones, but also as a muscle, skin/flesh wound poultice or salve. The downside is that it works so well, that if there is any bacteria deeper in the wound, it should not be applied because it heals the external layers so quickly that the deeper bacteria will fester and cause infection. If the skin is unbroken, great! If the wound is shallow, great! But if it’s a deep flesh/tissue wound, then it’s not recommended. Here’s some helpful info on use and storage… http://www.bulkherbstore.com/Comfrey-Leaf-Cut_Organic

  11. Comfreya says:

    We use comfrey for internal use all the time. We add it to all our savoury dishes like spag bol, fritters, soups etc. The young tender leaves can be picked and coated in batter and then fried, delicious. The pyrrolizidine alkaloids are stored mainly in the root, and the root has traditionally been used medicinally and topically. Also no actual studies of comfrey have been done which shows it to cause liver toxicity. Only studies on the isolated pyrrolizidine alkaloids. The science is dodgy, and the comfrey excellent superfood. We use it as others use kale. Also we dehydrate the leaves and found that it dries a lot quicker if you cut out the stem. The stem is quite thick and takes ages to dry.

  12. Roger says:

    Plant comfrey under apple trees. Apple trees have shallow root systems and don’t benefit from nutrients down deep. Comfrey roots go deep and bring those nutrients back the the surface. When they die back each winter those nutrients are made available to the apple tree.

  13. Joann says:

    My pie cherry tree loves having comfrey growing under it.

  14. Erin Phelan says:

    Wow, thanks everyone! So many great suggestions, looking forward to trying them out.

  15. lp Johnson says:

    Hey! I really need some comfrey, but i haven’t found any plants or seeds to buy here in Mid-Michigan. Any resources?

    • Regina says:

      I bought comfrey plants through Berlin Seeds in Millersburg, OH (877-464-0892). They are not online, but you can request a catalog and order through the mail or over the phone.

  16. When my son fractured his wrist falling out of a tree, a missionary from Mexico was visiting next door. She is a registered nurse who works a lot with herbs in the mountains of Mexico. She brought some dried comfrey over, made it into a poultice with warm water, and wrapped it on my son’s arm. She made a makeshift splint with the flap of a cardboard box carefully folded in four, and fastened that on to keep his wrist straight. The next day, she said she could already tell a huge difference, and after a week, my son’s wrist was back to normal, though she cautioned him not to get back to playing hard right away. Within two weeks, you would never have known anything had happened.

    Contrast years later when my daughter fractured her wrist, and I had no comfrey available. She spent 4 weeks in a hard cast.

  17. Last year, Paul Wheaton made a youtube “why permaculture folks love comfrey” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yEHc_UzeT9w

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