Comfrey Leaf has been known for centuries as a healing plant. Its various aliases include boneset, nipbone, knitbone, and healing herb. It is especially known for its ability to knit bones together.
The leafy stem of comfrey is 2 to 3 feet high, stout, and covered with bristly hairs. The lower, leaves are as long as10 inches long and are also covered with rough itch producing hairs. Comfrey leaves look a lot like Foxglove leaves. However, they have smaller veins that don’t extend into the wings of the leaf-stalk. The flowers appear in April or early May and grow on short stalks. They are creamy yellow or purple.
Comfrey is a contact tissue healer. Until the early 1800’s, it was only used on the skin to treat burns, cuts, bronchitis, skin ulcers, varicose veins, and rheumatism. Then the leaf was made into a tea and used as a mouthwash or gargled to treat hoarseness, throat infections, and bleeding gums. It is rich in vitamin C and calcium and contains B12, carotene (vitamin A), and chlorophyll.
Comfrey is used for a variety of ailments including rheumatism, colitis, diarrhea, varicose veins, assorted pulmonary complaints (pleurisy, bronchitis, bronchopneumonia), metritis, and periostitis. It is also used as a laxative and a sedative.
Comfrey contains Allantoin which is its effective healing agent. This has been shown to help grow new flesh and bone cells and to hasten healing. Comfrey also decreases the inflammation from pulled tendons. A tincture is often used to treat athletes foot and acne. Comfrey tea and extract have been used by women as a douche to treat yeast infections. Sore and caked breasts are treated with a poultice of comfrey. This helps relieve tenderness quickly.
Comfrey leaves and shoots are treated by some as a vegetable. The leaves are either ground up or juiced and mixed with other greens to make a healthy drink. Health conscious people are increasingly drinking these “green drinks.”
Comfrey tea is made by mixing an ounce of leaves with a pint of boiling water. A tincture usually consists of 10 drops from the extract of the root mixed with water and applied wherever needed. Internally, the leaves are taken in the form of an infusion, 1 oz. of the leaves to 1 pint of boiling water.
Comfrey is safe for anyone anytime, according to most herbalists. But its effective healing power may cause a wound to heal on the surface before it is healed deep, leading to abscesses. Of course, be sure the wounds are protected from infection by thorough cleaning.