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.

Read More

Soothing Thyme Bath Soak – How to relieve chest congestion & cough naturally

Thyme bath

Have you been under the weather with aches, chest congestion, and a lingering cough? Well, it’s THYME to do something about it! This thyme bath is the perfect thing to get you going on to a QUICK recovery.

This past few weeks I was knocked to my knees with the flu bug that is going around EVERYWHERE!  I usually do not get the crud when it’s going around, but since my immune system has been compromised, I got it good. I have experienced so much stress the past month in combination with tapering off the hydrocortisone that I have been taking for years, my immune system didn’t stand a chance at fighting off this wicked bug.

It had been a few days into this illness when I realized I hadn’t even thought of the famous “thyme bath”. What wasn’t I thinking? This natural herbal remedy has been a standby, go-to procedure when anyone in the family caught a cold.

When my kids were small, they would ask for a thyme bath whenever they weren’t feeling well. My youngest son is now 22 and had the flu a few weeks ago. He came home for a thyme bath because the place he lives doesn’t have a bathtub, only a shower. So see how this has been ingrained in their heads as something that WORKS! It has been such a long time since any of us have had to deal with it, I forgot about it, but apparently, he didn’t.

So glad he reminded me about it! I was trying everything else, with not much luck. This would have been really nice to have done when I was in the thick of the aches, better late than never. I still had bad chest congestion and cough, so I got to it.

The thyme bath is not real labor-intensive and most likely you may have everything you need right there in your home. If not, you can get dried thyme at your local health food store.

This is one herb that I would recommend having in your garden!

Soothing Thyme Bath Soak

Benefits of growing THYME

  • A great flavoring for many recipes
  • Beautiful landscaping plant in the garden (cute tight little green leaves)
Soothing Thyme Bath Soak
  • Accessible even during the winter months
Soothing Thyme Bath Soak
  • Preserves easily by drying
Soothing Thyme Bath Soak
  • Easy to grow inside and out
  • Has many medicinal properties

The flowers, leaves, and oil of thyme have been used to treat bedwetting, diarrhea, stomach ache, arthritis, colic, sore throat, cough, including whooping cough, bronchitis, flatulence, and as a diuretic, to increase urination. Thyme is thought to have antifungal, antibacterial, insecticidal, and possibly antifungal properties. Medical News Today

Let’s get to the thyme bath, shall we?

Here is what you will need to gather

  • A couple handfuls of fresh thyme, or ½ – 1 cup of dried herb will work as well. If you don’t have any herb, but have thyme essential oil, just use that (20 drops)
  • Epsom salt (1 cup)
  • 10 drops Thyme essential oil (optional)

What to do

  • If you have thyme growing in your garden, go out and cut a couple of handfuls of the herb. I have gone out in the middle of winter and uncovered the thyme from the snow and clipped off the plant. It winters very well, even under snow cover.

  • If you don’t have fresh herbs, you can use dried herbs.
  • Remove any stray leaves from other plants and rinse off.
  • Fill a big sauce pan or soup pan with water and bring to a boil.
  • Once it is boiling, turn it down and simmer for 20-30 minutes with a lid on it on low heat.
Soothing Thyme Bath Soak
  • Add 10 drops of thyme essential oil to 1 cup Epsom salts.
Soothing Thyme Bath Soak

Why is so great about Epsom Salt?

Because of the high magnesium level, Epsom salt is a natural anti-inflammatory remedy that can be used to treat muscle aches and sore muscles. Many people use it to soak in after a hard work out, because it is so soothing to the muscles.  This feels so good for those aches when you have the flu.

Epsom salt is very easy to find at your local drug store or online here. This is something good to have on hand in your homes!

Soothing Thyme Bath Soak
  • Pour the water into the bath while straining out the herb. Be careful, it is nice to have someone help you strain in it so you don’t burn yourself.  Add enough hot water, as hot as you can stand it, but that will not burn you!

Yes, it will look brown and yucky, but don’t let that keep you from stepping in and enjoying some soothing herbal aromatherapy! Yes, your house is going to smell like an herbal kitchen, but so worth it!

  • Shut the bathroom door and pull the shower curtain closed to trap in the steam.  Soak and breathe in the steam.
  • Stay there as long as the water stays hot, or add more hot water if it cools quickly. I personally do not like to take baths, but this is one exception. It really does feel great!  You will find it help relieve the cough right away. You may need to do this a few times a day or for a few nights until the cough has subdued.

Another herbal remedy that I must remind you of is Yarrow.

This is another one of our families favorite herbs. Yarrow tea is more of a preventative measure, and helps fight many ill.  It seriously rocks at helping you stay well. I was drinking a ton of it before I finally succumbed to the flu, but like I said my immune system was greatly compromised. The others in the family start getting it, and start drinking this stuff.

You can read more about it in this post.

I hope you will keep this in mind and give it a try when you or someone you care about gets the CRUD!

For other alternative remedies that REALLY work, check out my book HERE.

Stay well, my friends!

jan3

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.

Read More