Comfrey is the best herb. The permaculture world loves this plant and I concur! It’s really helping me fix my digestive system. It’s a very old medicinal herb. Just this morning I harvested a bunch of leaves. This year is the second year for my two plus plants. I purchased only two last year, and have at least 6 plants. I dug up and replanted the two from last year and because of the tap root, I have many more plants growing from the old location.
The variety I have is a hybrid which is sterile. It only spreads by disturbing the roots. It’s apparently hard to get rid, but I wouldn’t know. It confuses me when I run into anyone who doesn’t like this plant. There are so many uses, I’m sure there are more than 8 ways to use this plant. I’m focusing on garden uses and a few medicinal uses. I haven’t tried all of the ways, but show good resources at the end of the post.
1-COMPOST TEA: I just started my first batch of this a few weeks ago and should be ready this weekend. I trimmed one of my large plants pretty good and put it all in a five gallon bucket. I filled it up with non chlorinated water and a few weeks later I’ll have liquid fertilizer. I heard it’s the worst smelling stuff but worth it. I will use the rotted plant in the compost or under a tree and put the liquid in a sprayer to feed my plants. I can’t wait for the results.
2-FODER: I’d give this one a go if I had a chickens or cows… or goats. Folks with livestock say comfrey is a great addition to their animals’ diet in small amounts.
3-KNIT BONE: Comfrey’s nick name is KNIT BONE. Luckily, I haven’t needed to do use it this yet. Leaves soaked in boiling for a couple hours on bruises and fractures are a powerful healer. It’s not advised for cuts because the healing powers of the plant can seal up an infection.
I wouldn’t do this to replace anything a doctor would need to give attention to, but for a broken toe or something a doctor can’t do much about is where this would be a perfect solution.
4-OIL: It takes about six weeks to make the oil. I’m almost 6 weeks into my oil process and I’v already used it on me and my pup for bug bites. The redness and the itching went away for about 24 hours and itched a whole lot less than when I was first bitten.
From what I understand, the oil is also good for putting on other bug bites, bruises and burns. I don’t think oil is good in the garden or compost, so unfortunately, I’ll have to throw away the leaves.
: I’ve been experimenting
with it for over a month now. All you pretty much need is a pair of scissors, boiling water and about 4 hours. It’s a pretty tasty drink when you add mint.
“Stop drinking water and start drinking herbal infusions!” -Susan Weed
It’s not recommended by some to ingest comfrey, so I’m not recommending. Doctors have been trying to heal me since 2007 and all it took start the healing process was drinking a tea from leaves in my backyard twice a day?! I kinda like this plant.
this is where the smelly leaves from the drinking tea and compost tea come into play. Instead of throwing them away, I add these to the compost pile and watch the magic over the coming days. I’ve been really impressed with the results
. I’ve struggled with making compost until I started adding it.
7-CHOP & DROP
: (Chop and drop
isn’t limited to just comfrey) The parts of the plant I don’t use in the teas and oils, I throw down by my fruit trees. My fruit trees are much happier after I started doing this last season. Comfrey can take a pretty good chopping, so I’d heard this being done about twice a year.
8-TREE COMPANION: Every fruit tree I have, I planted a comfrey plant at the base. Since comfrey has a deep tap root and the trees roots are more spreading, the roots work well together. The deep tap root pulls minerals from the ground and is present in the leaves. The leaves give the minerals to the tree without having to do it myself.
If you made it this far and want to know more about comfrey, my resources are a great place for more information.
I think it’s safe to say that comfrey is my favorite plant. If something else reaches number one or comes close, I’ll be sure to let you. Please tell me what else you can do with it.
credits & resources: photos by Jamie Reed from FOREST MARKET GARDEN
Paul Wheaton’s comfrey video: youtube.com/watch?v=yEHc_UzeT9w
Susan Weed Comfrey Oil: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRenHn7Krz0
Rob Bob’s Comfrey Tea: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Phx88V4rvUE
Jack Spirko’s video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1epRxWTdZYE