The genus comfrey (Symphytum) includes more than 50 species, most of which are native to Western Asia and Western Europe. Wild comfrey has large basal leaves that are soft, hairy, and elliptical with long petioles—they look like hounds’ tongues! Comfrey has so many practical uses and benefits, I want everyone to know how to use comfrey! Comfrey, a perennial herb native to the ditches and riverbanks of Europe, has long been used in traditional medicine. The herb along with its medicinal uses was first discovered and put to use in Europe. Uses & Effectiveness? Cynoglossum virginianum L. – wild comfrey Subordinate Taxa. Comfrey is widely known as “one of the greatest medicinal herbs of the nature”. Comfrey contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids some of which can harm the liver so some foragers no longer consider this a safe plant to eat but we still eat comfrey fritters from time to time as have many people with no obvious ill effects. therapeutic actions and uses Comfrey is a plant that no natural healer or herbalist would ever want to be without. However, like common comfrey, wild comfrey contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids which cause toxicity in the liver and can cause skin irritation. Available from The Organic Gardening Catalogue , Garden Organic members get a 10% discount. Studying herbal medicine, it is one thing to read about the healing power of the plants, but another to personally experience it. Medicinal Uses . Garden comfrey has a higher nutrient content than the common wild comfrey, and its leaves can be cut several times in a season. In this article you will learn how to prepare this poultice, how to apply it, and be able to address an emergency of this type should you have no immediate access to urgent medical attention. Comfrey’s deep roots and big leaves means deep mining for—and storage of—minerals and trace nutrients. Therapeutic use of comfrey is limited because of its toxicity. Medical records dating back to the Middle Ages commonly make reference to herbalists prescribing comfrey for a wide range of ailments, and up until the 20th century, it was considered to be “one of nature’s greatest medicinal herbs.” Comfrey leaves and stems can be cut and wilted for a few days and then used as a mulch. The upright flowering stalk has few leaves and looks like a wand. Comfrey tea is often ingested for internal illness and poultices are applied to external ailments. This will slowly release all … Common comfrey is a wild-growing herb that has a long tradition as both an edible and a medicinal species. One of the easiest uses of comfrey is as a thick mulch for other crops. The flowers of True Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) are generally very richly arrayed and colored dark purple. It is used as a tea or vegetables by humans. As mentioned above, the comfrey herb plant has a long history of medicinal usage. It is easily identified by the sparsely flowered, coiling clusters at the tip of the stem, densely hairy stem, upper leaves clasping the stem, and bristly fruits. This herb was then taken to various parts of the world by colonists and can now be commonly found growing wild in Canada, the US, and some parts of Asia. Common Comfrey flowers are usually white/cream. The genus name Cynoglossum is from the Greek "cynos", of a dog, and "glossa", tongue, refers to the rough, tongue-shaped leaf. However, the variety Bocking 14 has been bred to have a higher nutrient content than wild comfrey and produces little seed, so it won’t spread around. But, unlike all the other plants we’ve covered here, comfrey is meant for external use only, rather than f The European Hound's-tongue, a close relative, was believed in ancient times to heal the bite of dogs and to keep dogs from barking. Uses. That being said, some external uses are more useful. Native Introduced Native and Introduced. General uses. Root – Has a black, turnip-like root. Traditional uses. The following information is based on historical uses found in herbal lore and anecdotal writings. Health Benefits of Comfrey. In herbal medicine, it was used for treating tendon damage, broken bones, lung congestion, ulcerations in gastrointestinal tract, joint inflammation, lung congestion and also promotes wound healing. Back pain.Applying a comfrey extract ointment to the affected area for 5 days seems to decrease lower or upper back pain. When you apply comfrey to your skin, it can have some benefits on rashes and irritations. In all western European languages, the name for comfrey is derived from its application. Description. Medicinal Compounds In Comfrey Possibly Effective for. Common comfrey is a hairy plant of damp ground and is found beside rivers, in fens and ditches, and on roadside verges and waste ground. All the different names focus on uniting and firming. It is a nutritious plant, being very high in Vitamin A, riboflavin, potassium, manganese and dietary fibre, and also a source of other vitamins and minerals such as magnesium and selenium needed by our bodies. Comfrey has many medicinal uses but it is important to remember that just like any other alternative herbal medicine that you use, it should always be under the supervision of an herbalist or your medical doctor. Excellent for deep tendon problems eg RSI ( Repetitive Strain Injury) Relief for old sprains and strains and reoccurring muscle soreness. It often grows in clumps and displays clusters of bell-shaped, pinky-purple flowers from May to July. From the luscious leaves to the thick, mucilage-laden roots I find nothing to compare. Click below on a thumbnail map or name for subspecies profiles. Quantity is the key, a little every now and again is not likely to cause any harm. Comfrey is used as an aid for humans. Wild comfrey has reported uses in Native American medicine. The Medicinal Uses of Comfrey. The Plants Database includes the following 2 subspecies of Cynoglossum virginianum . Our native wild comfrey has been used by Native Americans for medicinal purposes. Comfrey Uses Comfrey for Plants – Symphytum x uplandicum The best comfrey for your garden is Russian comfrey, Symphytum x uplandicum.This non-spreading form of comfrey is superfood for your plants, but not for your body. This isn't just for comfrey, it is for any herb that you decide to use to treat a medical condition. The purple and yellowish flowers are not found mixed where the plants grow wild: the difference in colour is permanent in plants raised from seed. Health benefits of this beautiful flowering plant include: Wound Healing. History, Folklore, Growing Information, Habitats and Plant Descriptions and known cautions for use. Comfrey baths were very common during the Middle Ages. Comfrey is a shrub that grows in parts of Europe, Asia, and North America. Wild comfrey (symphytum officianale) is a smaller plant with yellow flowers, produces seeds, and should not be eaten. We harvested comfrey leaves all summer, and found so many uses for comfrey that, at the end of the season, we ordered 150 additional roots and expanded our little patch to a plantation of 200. It is thus directly related to the borage, often referred to as cucumber herb, or the viper’s bugloss commonly found on wild meadows. Wild comfrey was brought to America by English immigrants for medicinal uses. A comfrey poultice will help heal fractured or broken ribs in as little as two weeks, and fractured or broken limbs in as little as three. Mostly Wild Herbs of North America, with Herbal use information and scientific names. Wild comfrey was taken to the US by English emigrants. Uses of Comfrey. Traditional Use References Commonly known as ‘knitbone’, Comfrey ointment has a special affinity with bone and tendon healing. It can grow up to 5 feet tall. Here it is growing around fruit trees. By Steph Zabel Herbalist, Ethnobotanist and Educator September’s herb is a bit different than all of our past monthly plant profiles. COMFREY NATURAL HERBAL OINTMENT. Good for bone pain and bone injuries like shin splints. Comfrey Uses. Russian Comfrey flowers are typically purple, but the two species will cross-pollinate and produce multiple shades of flowers. This month we focus on the great green healer, comfrey. What Is Comfrey? Join Herbalist Yarrow Willard in exploring the multitude of benefits that the Comfrey plant has to offer. A limited number of clinical trials show short-term efficacy of topically applied, alkaloid-free comfrey preparations in skin abrasions and inflammatory conditions. Wild Comfrey is an uncommon forest species in the north central and northeast counties of Minnesota. The plant grows very quickly, producing a lot of bulk. It is often used as a component of a guild, which is a group of plants arranged to mutually benefit each other. The leaves are lance-shaped and not so broad as those of Russian Comfrey. True Comfrey is really the nicest of the Comfrey clan in my opinion. The allantoin content of comfrey, especially in the root, has resulted in its use in folk medicine for healing wounds, sores, burns, swollen tissue, and broken bones. Our research found that the ‘Bocking 14’ variety is the best. It is so useful for all afflictions and breakages of the bones, connective tissues (eg. Although not examined in clinical trials, comfrey may possess antifungal and anticancer activity. Useful not only for staunching blood flow and arresting some bronchial ailments, comfrey has also been used to heal broken bones. There are so many great ways to use comfrey around the garden! The common comfrey (Symphytum officinale) is a species of the borage family (Boraginaceae). The high content of antioxidants, as well as vitamin C, makes comfrey pastes and salves the ideal solution for speeding up the healing of wounds.