Archive for July 26th, 2011

Comfrey – Symphytum officinale

Comfrey flowers
Comfrey flowers

How many shades of blue have summer skies?
As many as the comfrey by the river
Whose drooping heads turn purple to the eye –


By Mervyn Linford

Read the rest of the poem 

Dioscorides, Galen, Herodotus and Nicander (all noted Greek physicians) knew of comfreys healing properties. This plant is native to North America, Europe and western Siberia where it has been in cultivation since 400 BC. Even with the centuries of evidence in the effectiveness of comfrey, several countries have banned its use. Comfrey has been banned from therapeutic use in Australia, Germany, and Canada. And in the USA the FDA banned its internal use, because it not only damages the liver, it can cause liver cancer.


Now wait a minute…from what I have read a baby rat was tested, giving him enormous amounts of comfrey to eat everyday…yes he did develop these issues from the presence of Hepatotoxic  pyrrolizidine alkaloids in the leaves. But most people will never consume comfrey in these quantities…so do your research, make your own judgments…it is your health!


Over the centuries Comfrey has proven its value as a wound healer and a bone knitter, it strengthens the skeletal system, and the pituitary gland as well. Comfrey is anodyne (relieves pain), astringent, demulcent (soothing and softening), diuretic, emollient, expectorant, hemostatic (stops bleeding), refrigerant (cooling or reducing fever), and vulnerary (treating wounds and abrasions). It has been used with success in treating bleeding of the stomach, lungs, bowels, kidneys, and piles.


Everyone knows about the use of dandelion and chicory for a coffee substitute, but did you know that the root of Comfrey can be roasted and used with them to make a more robust flavor? A tea can be made from the dried leaves and roots; and the peeled roots can be added to soups.


It can also be used as compost for things like potatoes and tomatoes, providing the potassium they need. The plant also produces an olive green dyestuff from the leaves for use on wool.


Comfrey is sacred to Hecate, and can be burned with mugwort to aid in divination and concentration. It can also be used for protection of the traveler and their possessions, to aid in gambling luck, and in love spells!


Comfrey Salve:


Make a comfrey infused oil

Take 2 ounces of the infused oil and warm it over a double boiler    

Add 2 Tablespoons of grated beeswax 

Stir until the wax melts.

Pour into small jars.