Hi my beauties. Welcome to this weeks Plant Walk Tuesday with LMH! Today I will be introducing you to one of my all time favourite herbs, Comfrey (Symphytum officinale). Comfrey is native to Europe & Asia, but can be found throughout North America. Keep your eyes peeled for it along creeks, ponds, and lakes because comfrey has an affinity for bodies of water. However, it can thrive in just about any soil, showing its’ tenacious spirit!
Out of Comfrey’s large branching roots sprout thick leaves that are covered in prickly hairs.There are about 35 different species of this herb, but Symphytum officinale is distinguished by its bell-shaped purple flowers that appear in the summertime. Varying species of Comfrey will bear flowers in different colours such as white or blue.
Although gardeners may try and weed this vigorous plant out of their gardens, comfrey has been used as a healing herb for 2,000 + years. Comfrey was first used in Greece to stop bleeding, assist chest complaints, and heal wounds. In Traditional Chinese Medicine comfrey clears heat in the body and builds healthy blood.
Comfrey’s name Symphytum means “to unite” which pays tribute to its’ most notable ability: to heal broken bones, torn ligaments, sprains, and any damage to aching joints. For this reason it has also gained the nickname “knitbone” as it fuses bones back together! Although this significant quality is astounding, Comfrey’s other medicinal actions showcase its diverse range of healing benefits which include:
Digestive demulcent meaning it soothes and reduces irritation in the GI tract
Due to its astringent (drying) qualities it is a great remedy for coughs and other lung related issues
Mucilage, or the gel like property of comfrey helps to soothe and protect irritated tissues making it an excellent herb to use externally to moisturize & rejuvenate skin cells
Contains proteins for short term memory cells. Add to your salads for brain health :)
Allotin, a compound in comfrey stimulates the healing of torn tissues. Allotin makes it beneficial to use in sitz baths after giving birth - I would highly recommend this for all the new & future mamma’s out there!
Used externally to calm aches making it a great ally for those suffering from arthritis pains.
Comfrey is also known for its energetic properties, it heals wounds so deep that it has a profound effect on the soul’s journey. Comfrey can be an ally to those working through old traumas, bringing comfort through difficult times. It is believed that bathing in comfrey can bring deep spiritual cleansing, in ancient times woman bathed in it - believing their virginities would be restored. Comfrey is used magically to protect travellers! On your next journey place it in your luggage & shoes while traveling. Overall this grounding herb provides a sense of structure for those that work closely with it.
One of my favourite ways to incorporate comfrey in my medicine cabinet is as a poultice. A poultice is the use of moist or mashed herbs externally to draw out impurities, soothe rashes or insect bites, and increase circulation. A Comfrey poultice can be used to heal wounds.
2 TBS comfrey leaves
Mash the leaves in hot water, and place in the cheese cloth tying the ends together with the rubber band. Gently place the poultice against your wound. Use for 10 minutes and then repeat again in an hour.
I also LOVE applying it on my face and making a mask out of it to support healthy skin cells.
Comfrey has become quite controversial due to its theorized internal toxicity. The alkaloids (antioxidants) present in Comfrey can be toxic to the liver when used as isolates (extracted, concentrated, and lacking the synergistic harmony of other constituents balancing it out. Sounds like another type of familiar medicine right?). However, the plant has been used for its’ beneficial qualities for centuries. When used properly, Comfrey is a powerhouse that should not be ignored. Due to its effectiveness to mend broken bones, comfrey should not be applied to a broken or fractured bone until the bone is set by a professional, as it can cause the injury to heal improperly.
Thank you for taking this journey with me. It is an honour to share my love & knowledge of herbal medicine with you all. Comfrey has many beneficial properties beyond what I could incorporate in one blog post. I encourage you to have fun with what I have shared and dig deeper into what has sparked your interest. This is not meant to diagnose or prescribe. It is my intention to inspire you along your path of discovering the dynamic ways herbal medicine can be incorporated into your daily life. Next time you catch comfrey in your garden I hope you see beyond its reputations for being a pesky weed :)
Sending Love and Light
Lisa Marie Holmes