By Lynda Parker
Comfrey plants are considered as important herbs for organic gardening. Comfrey is grown in parts of Europe, Asia, and North America and produces clusters of blue, purple, and white flowers. You can recognize it for its slender, long, leaves and black-skinned roots.
People have been using its leaves as traditional medicine for many years in areas around the world. Japanese people harvested for more than 2,000 years to help ease joint inflammation and heal burns, bruises, and muscle sprains. Europeans, on the other hand, used it to treat inflammation including arthritis and gout. It is very effective because it contains chemical compounds like allantoin (helps boost the growth of new cells) and rosmarinic acid (helps in soothing pain and reducing inflammation).
When it comes to the garden, comfrey is very easy to be grown. This is because the foliage is at its best if cut before it blooms, so you don’t even have to wait for the flowers to harvest it. It can reach height of over 2 feet and spreads to more than a yard across but it is remarkably non-invasive.
Here are 10 reasons why you should grow comfrey:
1. Activate a compost heap
Comfrey leaves can help activate compost heap because they’re high in nitrogen. If you have a large amount of fall leaves or other dried brown material, you can do a layering it with comfrey leaves and balance the carbon-to-nitrogen ratio.
To do this, gather your comfrey leaves and crush them. Add some water and crush them again for a minute or two until you get a paste. Add more water and pour this mix to your compost pile. You will get a compost with a higher nutrient content.
2. Boost seedlings
Comfrey can boost an extra nutritions to young perennials like berry bushes, fruit trees, asparagus, herbs, etc., and fruiting vegetable seedlings like squash, cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers. Just bury a few leaves of comfrey in each planting spot.
3. Support the health of your established plants
You can make a compost tea to provide an instant nutrient boost to your established plants too.
To make it, fill a container of any size about halfway with fresh comfrey leaves. Add water to fill to the top, cover and allow it to steep for 3 to 6 weeks. Note: The smell is not pleasant! Strain off the liquid and then dilute it by half.
4. Make comfrey oil
You can make comfrey oil at home, as it is kind of pricey in the markets. Use freshly dried herbs, and use both the roots and leaves.To harvest and dry the leaves, pick them, gently wipe the dirt off with a towel and allow them to dry whole overnight. Dig the comfrey root out when the weather is dry. Chop it up finely and then lay it out on a paper bag overnight.
Follow this recipe to make your comfrey oil.
- 8 oz comfrey leaf
- 4 oz comfrey root
- About 16 oz extra-virgin olive oil, enough to cover the roots and leaves.
Once you chopped up your roots, place everything into a 16-ounce glass jar and cover it with olive oil. Place the lid on the jar and shake well. Allow it to steep for 28 days. After this period strain out the oil by using a clean old shirt lined in a strainer and pour the mix in a bowl. Squeeze the shirt with the herbs in it. This liquid will be your comfrey oil, you can store it and use it whenever you want.
5. Treat poison ivy blisters
You can either rub the raw comfrey leaves onto poison ivy blisters, or use the oil in the same way.
6. Prevent scar tissue and speed wound healing
If you have a wound, once it’s begun to heal and is no longer open, you can use comfrey to prevent scar tissue from forming around it. Crush up the leaves and rub them onto the area.
7. Heal skin rashes
Comfrey can help you heal skin rashes, which is why comfrey creams, balms and salves have been around for centuries. However, have in mind that this remedy should only be used when the skin is not broken.
8. Make a poultice to soothe pain and inflammation
Comfrey can help with soothing pain and inflammation. Just mix 4 cups of chopped comfrey leaves and stems with a quarter cup of carrier oil like olive oil or almond oil. Now, wrap the comfrey oil paste using a cotton cloth. Freeze it and then apply to affected areas for 30 minutes.
9. Relieve sore feet
Here’s how to create a herbal bath using comfrey to relieve sore feet:
In a large pot heat a gallon of water and bring it to a boil. Add 1 cup of fresh dried comfrey leaves and simmer for 5 minutes. Then, turn of heat and allow it to stand for 10 minutes, or longer. Strain the leaves into a 1 quart container and discard the used leaves. Add 3 quarts of water to your cooking pot. Bring it to a bathwater (140 degrees) temperature and pour the herbal liquid and the warm water into a foot basin or tub.Make sure it’s not too hot before you go in and then enjoy as long as you like. If you like, add a calming essential oil like lavender.
10. Torn muscles and fractures
Promote faster healing by applying comfrey oil or leaves on the affected area or fracture or torn muscle.