plantpotty
Newly Registered
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Nov 02, 2009 8:43 pm
Location: Beverley

Comfrey the wonder plant

Is comfrey a wonder plant? I've been reading that comfrey can been used to made a liquid organic fertilizer and as medication for many physical ailments! Anyone been using comfrey for any reasons and why has this so called wonder plant been forgotten in recent times?!?

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

I use it as an ingredient for herbal teas (very good for coughs and colds) and I throw the excess in my compost pile, where it is reputed to be helpful for stimulating the composting process and adding nitrogen.

User avatar
soil
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1855
Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2009 1:40 am
Location: N. California

i grow it...and love it. easy to propagate, easy to grow, full of benefits. perennial, the list goes on. make sure to search for the bocking 14 variety so you don't get overwhelmed. it can happen.

oh and plant it where you want it. because that is where it will stay. even if you don't anymore.
For all things come from earth, and all things end by becoming earth.

User avatar
Sage Hermit
Green Thumb
Posts: 532
Joined: Fri Mar 13, 2009 8:20 pm
Location: Finlaysen, MN Coniferous Forest

chicken food
You can solve all your problems in a garden/laboratory.

GardenGeek
Cool Member
Posts: 79
Joined: Tue Feb 02, 2010 6:03 pm

Comfrey is a plant that is much loved by organic gardeners and permaculturalists because of its ability to provide fertility. Comfrey is a dynamic accumulator - it sends down deep roots and extracts mineral nutrients from the depths. These nutrients are stored in the leaves, which can then be used to feed other plants (and animals).

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

I need add nothing. Nice job, team... :D

HG
Scott Reil

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Comfrey makes a nice tea which is good against coughs and colds, especially if combined with sage and other herbs.

But read the posts above-- it's great for your compost pile and improving soil fertility.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

Toil
Greener Thumb
Posts: 803
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 9:18 pm
Location: drifting, unmoored

Awesome thread!

Especially the hint about the less aggressive variety


Thanks guys!
There's something new growing in the Helpful Gardener Forum! Become a part of it here!

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27896
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

I'm trying to grow some from seed this year. We'll see. :wink: If these don't grow, then I know my favorite herb lady has the Russian Comfrey. She gave me her own writeup about applying crushed leaves (maybe chewed up, but I don't remember -- that might have been plantain leaves for bee stings and mosquito bites) for bumps and bruises because she says she's constantly running into things in the garden and have found them very effective.

Rainbowgardener, again, I'm a bit vague, but I thought I read that comfrey is not recommended for internal use?

Toil
Greener Thumb
Posts: 803
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 9:18 pm
Location: drifting, unmoored

Yeah but topically it makes you run into things constantly...
There's something new growing in the Helpful Gardener Forum! Become a part of it here!

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

From the HSA' s Encyclopedia of Herbs and Their Uses
The alkaloids have been shown to cause liver damage and tumors in laboratory animals. As a result. S. officianale is now banned in the form of tablets or capsules (made from roots or leaves) in several countries.
No mentions of which ones, but good enough reason not to...

Supposed to contain high levels of allantoin, which speeds cell formation, so topical uses abound, but it also mentions there is a possible skin irritant as well...

Considering they are also saying it is a common herbal remedy for hemmorhoids, that's quite a roll of the dice... :shock:

HG
Scott Reil

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Any herb with the officinalis in the scientific name (as in symphytum officinalis = comfrey) was part of the "official" pharmacopeia of recognized medicinal herbs sold at apothecaries. This would date back to the 17 - 1800's when plants were being named in the Linnean system.

Comfrey has been a traditionally recognized healing herb internally and externally for centuries. Might there be side effects to it? sure Would I recommend taking it or any other medication long term or in big quantities without checking with some kind of expert? of course not. Have you ever listened to the list of possible negative effects up to and including death, they give in the voice over on all the pharmaceutical commercials on TV? Makes you not want to take anything again, ever!

But a cup of soothing comfrey root tea here and there is the least of my worries and I've had plenty of them (cups of the tea, not worries! :) )

https://www.targetwoman.com/articles/comfrey-root-benefits.html
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

Understood RBG, but it would hardly be the first herb to be regulated as we find out the scientific background; wormwoods were also a very integral part of the old herbal lexicon, but we now know they cause nerve damage and should be used sparingly, if at all (I notice abisinthe has been making a comeback, nonetheless).

We tend to assume that herbal or plant extracts are safer than chemically synthesized poroducts; as a general statement I support that, but at the same time we need to be cognizant that these compounds are chemicals as well and as such can be harmful. The most prevalent poisoning in the US over the past few years has been pythethrin, a daisy extract. They ain't ALL safe... (still I will take my chances with daisies versus test tubes).

Forewarned is forearmed; I have given you the most official pronouncement from the leading authorities on herbs in these US's of A. Your link recommends it for natal mothers for fetus development; I run across issues for fetal develpment including infant mrtality from liver damage. Depends on what you are looking for I guess. As always, feel free to use or disbuse the info, but my recommendation remains [url=https://www.itmonline.org/arts/pas.htm]not to use it internally[/url]...

So if a cup of tea "here or there" is every other evening, you could be killing your liver and increasing your chances of cancer. Once a month is likely okay, but still undertested. Depends on other intakes of PA's as well as what you get from comfrey. Use at your own risk...

HG
Last edited by The Helpful Gardener on Thu Mar 18, 2010 3:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Scott Reil

cynthia_h
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7501
Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 11:02 pm
Location: El Cerrito, CA

The Helpful Gardener wrote:So if a cup of tea "here or there" is every other evening, you could be killing your liver and increasing your chances of cancer. Once a month is likely okay, but still undertested. Depends on other intakes of PA's as well as what you get from comfrey. Use at your own risk...
OK, I'll bite: PA's? Don't recognize this one right off, not before having...uh...a cup of tea in the morning!

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

Sorry maam; it was covered extensively in the link so I didn't bother to spell out pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs), the causal agent in all this fuss...

HG
Scott Reil

User avatar
soil
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1855
Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2009 1:40 am
Location: N. California

i have been using comfrey for 4-5 years now. and imo really you should only be taking it when you need it, and most of the time its as a poultice. too much of anything can kill you or do damage. the only thing someone should be drinking daily is water.



and it makes a far better fertilizer plant than food.
For all things come from earth, and all things end by becoming earth.

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

New spring avatar, soil?

Nice!

HG
Scott Reil

Return to “Organic Gardening Forum”