How To Grow Comfrey and Use It Safely // A Must in Everyone’s Garden

ELASTIC

Growing comfrey in your garden can offer a wide variety of uses and benefits and it’s an herb that I think everyone needs to have growing in their garden. This herb is not only medicinal and will add so much to your herbal remedy tool belt, but it’s also a very attractive plant.

What is Comfrey?

Comfrey is a perennial herb (that comes back every year). The genus name for comfrey is Symphytum, and means to “heal together”.  It is well known to assist healing in any part of the body that is torn or broken. Otherwise known as knitbone or slippery root, comfrey plants have been used medicinally since 400 B.C. to stop heavy bleeding and to treat bronchial issues.

 

COMFREY IN GARDEN

Growing Comfrey Plants

Growing this herb is super easy. Propagation can be done with seed, division, or separation. Sow comfrey seeds in fall or early spring directly in the garden or in a cold frame and pot seedlings to be over-wintered inside.

Division of comfrey herb plants may occur at any time, however, spring is suggested. Divide by cutting off 3 inches (8 cm.) of root below the soil level and then plant directly into a pot or another area of the garden.

Propagating Comfrey

I find the easiest way is to find a start. You may need to get a start from someone who already has it growing, as I have not seen it in any nurseries or garden centers.

All you need is a piece of the root and you’re good to go. As comfrey can be an aggressive spreader, you may want to plant within a physical barrier and deadhead flowers to rein in its spreading habit. MAKE SURE WHEN YOU PLANT THIS HERB, THAT YOU PLANT IT SOMEWHERE THAT YOU’LL WANT IT TO REMAIN. Because the roots go down so far, if you ever want to move it, most likely after you dig it up, it will come back.

We made a BIG mistake once in our garden and rototilled a few plants up and we had bits of the root all over and then we had comfrey everywhere. We finally got it under control and have this herb growing where we want it. I find it doesn’t spread if the root it left alone. In fact, I find that weeds do not grow around it either. (Very interesting).

This herb requires very little maintenance once established. It is generally frost and drought-hardy and primarily disease and pest-resistant.

We have grown this herb in our garden for years and use it frequently.

Comfrey Benefits and Uses

As mentioned above, the comfrey herb plant has a long history of medicinal use. Useful not only for staunching blood flow and arresting some bronchial ailments, but comfrey has also been used to heal broken bones. Comfrey tea is often ingested for internal illness and poultices are applied to external ailments. Comfrey contains high amounts of allantioin (also found in nursing mother’s milk) and is said to increase the rate of cell growth, which in turn increases the number of white blood cells. The application of allantoin has been shown to heal wounds and burns more quickly and promotes healthy skin with high mucilage content. I have personally seen it heal chemical burns, and sunburns, and assist rapid healing in deep wounds with no scaring.

COMFREY PESTAL

A Personal Experience with Comfrey

When my son was in his teens he hit his face pretty hard on a rail while skiing and his lip was pretty messed up (not the first time this has happened), he asked if we had any comfrey to put on it. Even my kids know the many benefits of this plant.

Typically, we would just go out and pick a leaf from the garden, but at the time the comfrey plants were under 2 feet of snow. Luckily I had some already blended up in the freezer.

In the fall I took a bunch of comfrey leaves and washed them and blended them up to make a thick paste. I then spooned it out into ice cube trays and froze it. Then I just popped them out into zip bags and put it in the freezer for times just like this. Then all we have to do is take a cube out, thaw it and apply where needed.

My son just took a blob of green goop and placed it all over his top lip, and sat there while he did his homework. He did this a few times and by the third day, you could hardly tell he even had an injury.

I could go on and on about this amazing plant and give you several more personal experiences on how it has helped us.

COMFREY POULTICE

In a nutshell, comfrey leaves and roots are used externally as a poultice or ointment for:

  • bruises
  • broken bones
  • wounds
  • pulled muscles and ligaments
  • reducing inflammation
  • sprains
  • sunburn
  • burns

I use comfrey to make a wonderful healing salve, which is very easy to make. You can find the tutorial and recipe for the salve HERE.

Having this herb growing where you have easy access to it is a good step in being a little more self-reliant. I feel much more at peace with my comfrey plant just outside my door!

LEARN MORE ABOUT OTHER HERBAL REMEDIES HERE IN MY ALTERNATIVE REMEDIES BOOKLET

Benefits of Comfrey in the Garden

Comfrey is not only good for our bodies, comfrey can be helpful to our garden soil and other plants as well. Comfrey can be made into a “compost tea” which is beneficial for fertilizing your garden. Some of your livestock will happily munch away on this plant, particularly chickens and pigs as well.

This herb is an excellent mulch and fertilizer. It is well balanced with a good combination of potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorus. When you use comfrey as mulch, it will mine those nutrients from deep under the soil, and then return them to the soil where other plants can access them.

It is very easy to mulch with comfrey. Simply chop it down, and if possible, chop it into smaller pieces. Lay the pieces around the plants you want to mulch and the comfrey will quickly decompose, allowing the nutrients to go back into the soil.

How to Make Comfrey Tea Fertilizer

If you don’t want to use comfrey as a mulch, you can make comfrey tea to use as a FERTILIZER FOR YOUR PLANTS, NOT FOR YOU. Do not ingest this tea, rather, it is a liquid plant feed.

  1. Place your plant matter – the leaves, stems, etc – into a container and cover it with water. Put a lid on it to contain the odor. You’ll want to let this mixture brew for four to six weeks.
  2. To use it, mix it with 1/3 ‘tea’ and 2/3 water and use it as you would any other liquid fertilizer when you water your plants.

Spring is here and this is a great time to get your hands in the dirt. So be thinking of a place in your garden where you can plant this baby. If you live in Utah, I would love for you to stop by and I can give you a start. Just send me a note if you are interested.

jan3

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Jan Howell

Jan Howell

Whether it’s a new recipe, a fun craft, or some handy tips for your garden and home, I hope to empower and inspire you with skills that you can use to create joy, improved health, and to do it in a simple way.

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26 Day Detox: My REAL Experience

I am embarking on a 26 day detox and I thought I would take you along for the ride. Instead of just giving you the technical details of what I will be eating and NOT eating for 21 days, I am going to be a little vulnerable here and share some REAL stuff.  I am not doing this cleanse just to rid my body of toxins and some weight, I am READY to clean house emotionally as well. Now I have tried several cleanses and elimination diets in the past, and with the things that I experience with my body, I have had to stop or not do them full out. Quite discouraging.

Just a little background, I was diagnosed with ITP (an autoimmune disease where your own immune system kills your platelets), 20 years ago and diagnosed two years ago with Lupus. I have gone the alternative route as much as possible, but am still required to be on medication to back off the immune system and now to lower blood pressure. I have been taking hydrocortisone in high doses for over 18 years, which keeps my platelet count stable but no where near normal. I I still have my spleen, thank goodness, as splenectomy is pretty much a standard procedure for those with the disease. I never felt right about it. Anyway, I have spent many years searching and trying all kinds of alternative modalities and have learned a ton. I still experience low platelets and a several other symptoms that I would LOVE to be free of.

Recently my blood pressure has been quite elevated to the point that I need to be on medication again. DANG! I know a majority of all this is due to emotional stuff, so I continue to process and release emotional stuff. You can read a little bit more about my journey with that here. After trying so many things like herbs, supplements, diet, even medications, I did not start to get well until I started doing emotional and energy work. So doing this detox is not only to rid my body of toxins, which I am sure I am loaded with after taking steroids for so long, I am excited to, hopefully, let go of some emotional issues as well. I am sure it is going to push some buttons, but I am so done with feeling like crap and READY to do something about it.

The detox I am doing is a 26 day detox through the GREEN SMOOTHIE GIRL. She has offered cleanses like this before where you sign up, opt in for on-line support if you want, and do it. I have never felt compelled to do it before, but I am now.  Her name is Robyn Openshaw and she is quite amazing and so full of knowledge. She hasn’t steered me wrong so far. I found her many years ago when I was searching the web on how to sprout seeds. I became fascinated with the smoothie thing, bought a blender and the rest is history.

So here I am, signed up and ready to roll. I am quite nervous about it and have some fears as to how my body will respond, but feel confident and trust that good things will come of it. I even have the o.k. from my nurse practitioner and had some blood work done the day before I started to make sure all is well and to give me a base line of where I am at. I am going to list the symptoms I am experiencing now to give you a little glimpse of where I am at and to help me remember how I USED TO FEEL. So many times when we get better and heal, we forget how we used to feel. There have been many times over the years when I start feeling discouraged and overwhelmed with not feeling good, and my husband will kindly bring to my attention how much worse I USED TO BE. It helps bring things into perspective and gives me hope. 

So, here is the list.

  • low platelets – hover around 30,000 (normal is 150,000-250,000)
  • acid reflux
  • stiff and achy feet in the morning
  • joint stiffness and aches
  • sacroiliac joint pain
  • low back pain
  • mildly swollen hands, face & feet
  • brain fog and sick head feeling
  • depression
  • easily angered
  • belly fat and 15-20 lbs overweight (bigger than I have ever been, except while pregnant)
  • abdominal fullness
  • bruising
  • hypertension (lately averaging around 145/98-160/110) I know crazy Hugh even with medication. It just all of a sudden will get elevated and then go down for a time. Sometimes after doing emotional release work or meditations, it will go down to normal. But the next day will be elevated again. Another strange thing is that when I roll on my right side, it goes down to normal. Strange stuff.
  • sinus congestion
  • fatigue
  • liver spots on face and arms
  • neck and shoulder tension
  • sore stomach in the mornings

It is going to be fun to see how many of these symptoms DISAPPEAR. Hopefully a lot of them.

Two of my kids and even my husband are on board and are going to do it with me. How cool is that? I am excited because we can help support each other. This is not going to be a walk in the park.

I love on one of Robyn’s support emails she quoted,

“Success is on the other side of your comfort zone” –Orrin Woodward

This will definitely be out of my comfort zone, but I am ready for change and SUCCESS!

My hope in sharing this 26 day journey, is to hopefully help someone else out who may be dealing with similar things, and to add a little more commitment on my part. So for 26 days I will be sharing with you this experience. If you have opted in to follow me and are not interested in the journey, I totally understand, and hope you will join me again. I still hope to squeeze in some other interesting posts that may suit you more.

If you have questions or want to chat, comment below or send a more personal note to jannihowell@youmakeitsimple.com

Here we go,

 

jan1

 

 

 

 

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