Comfrey: Why we Grow it - How we Use it
Comfrey is a versatile herb.
The roots and leaves of the comfrey plant contain chemical substances called allantoin and rosmarinic acid. Allantoin boosts the growth of new skin cells, while rosmarinic acid helps relieve pain and inflammation. Also known as “knitbone” it is used to treat:
- muscle sprains
- joint inflammation
At Whidbey Island Natural (WIN), we use confrey in all of our salves; Head-to-Toe Salve, Arthritis Salve, Gardener's Balm and Sore Muscle Rub.
We grow our own here at WIN Mini Farm where we can ensure that the soil is optimal for producing the highest quality plants. Wild bumblebees and the honeybees from our own top bar hives feast on the nectar and pollen.
We harvest the leaves throughout the growing season and the roots in the fall. These we wash, dry and chop before adding to our products.
We frequently pull off leaves and toss them into the compost pile where they add nutrients and foster rapid decomposition.
Northwest salmon fertilizing WIN garden bed
Topped off with lime and comfrey leaves to aid decomposition
Be aware of two things:
- Don't eat it! Comfrey contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids that can cause severe liver damage, and even death. Though historically oral tonics of comfrey were used to treat ulcers, colitis, and diarrhea, such oral preparations are now banned by the Food and Drug Administration.
- Comfrey grows rapidly and spreads willingly. Once established it can be difficult to irradicate - but then, why would you?
Do you grow comfrey? How do you use it?