Comfrey

by Regan Schwartz

comfrey plant growing in ground

Symphytum officinale

Energetics: cool, moist, tonifying

Actions: vulnerary, demulcent, astringent, anodyne, anti-spasmodic, anti-rheumatic, refrigerant

Comfrey was the first medicinal plant I grew.  No, that’s not quite right….comfrey was the first medicinal I grew for the purpose of making medicine.  I love this plant on so many levels.

Comfrey is a healer, leaping into action to knit together what has been torn apart.  This is largely due to its silicic acid content - silica is essential for bone and connective tissue health and comfrey is full of it.  In fact, comfrey is so effective at knitting together that it can sometimes heal a wound on the surface before it’s ready, leading to abscess.  Make sure that any deep wounds have healed from the inside out before letting comfrey help heal up the skin’s surface. Comfrey’s affinity for the integumentary system makes it a great ally for overworked tendons and ligaments.

How do I work with comfrey? Comfrey shows up in my Soothing Salve, helping to support the skin as it heals from minor wounds and irritations, and in my Healing Body Oil, working to support the integumentary and musculoskeletal systems as they recuperate from strain.  Comfrey also feeds my garden and attracts so many pollinators to our little magical meadow.  Comfrey should not be used internally, however - it contains liver damaging pyrrolizidine alkaloids.

Magically, comfrey’s prickly nature protects us helps us to create a safe space for emotional healing.  You can find her in my Emotional Cleansing Ritual Bath for just this reason.  She also reminds us to work carefully and slowly - not to rush the process!

If you have a garden, I recommend getting a comfrey plant into the ground.  Offer comfrey space in your garden and she will quickly become your trusted gardening companion. Her taproots are fantastic at aeration and improving soil quality and their leaves make a wonderful compost tea and nutritive top dressing. Comfrey’s cool and astringent nature is a balm for burns and bites, as well!  Comfrey thrives in my unshaded central Texas garden and is hardy in zones 3-10!