On one of my first visits to Boulder Colorado, attending Hanna Kroeger’s seminar, I was introduced to a plant that I had never heard of before. That wasn’t strange, as there are some 200,000 medicinal plants and I was just starting to learn about them at that time. The best part was that after the seminar, Hanna’s son went to the garden and dug up a Comfrey plant for me to take home. I was honored.
I brought this plant home and put it in my back yard. It has large hairy, pointed leaves with beautiful blue flowers on the top. It grows about 2 to almost 3 feet high in my yard.Since I planted it, I have learned a lot about it. One thing is that once it is planted, it wants to grow there forever. I have moved it twice. In both instances I have had to talk to the plant to get it to let go of its former place. The last move was to move it deeper into the hedge so that when it gets really tall; its leaves aren’t over the grass area so that it gets mowed all the time.
During the lecture, Hanna mentioned that Comfrey was wonderful for rebuilding cells. She didn’t specify which cells at that time but I have come to take that as all cells. Because it rebuilds cells quickly, it has gotten the nick-name of “People Putty.” What an appropriate name. Perhaps that is why other common names for this plant are Knitbone, Bruisewort, and Knitback.
Dr. John R. Christopher was the founder of The School Of Natural Healing and he quoted a lot from one of his mentors, Dr. Shook. According to what I read Dr. Shook said, “It does not seem to matter much which part of the body is broken, either internally or externally; comfrey will heal it quickly. It is a great cell proliferant and new cell grower, it grows new flesh and bone alike, stops hemorrhage, and is wonderful for coughs, soothing and healing the inflamed tissues in a most remarkable manner.”
Another thing that was mentioned by Dr. Christopher is the respiratory system. The lungs are able to heal well using this plant. It acts as an expectorant with soothing effects it reduces irritation.
Everyone that I researched this plant with reminded me that the root and young leaves contain a toxic alkaloid, which is said to create liver damage if taken in large amounts. But in the same articles it is mentioned that the root and the young leaves would be good for ulcerous wounds.
Most people that work with Comfrey, tend to put it in combinations. Combinations are made by finding herbs that would be most helpful for the area involved, a transporter (Something that has an affinity for the specific area.) and then the herbs that would supply that area with the most nutriments for healing.
It has been stated that certain plants tend to gravitate to specific areas of the body. I have been told that they think they can get out that way. As an example, parsley tends to go for the kidneys while Rosemary might head for the brain. Why they do this is unknown.
Comfrey has a demulcent mucilage presents which is helpful with things like hiatus hernia and ulcerative colitis.
Christopher Products has created a blend of herbs that was called Bone, Flesh and Cartilage (BF&C). I liked that name but it has since been changed to Complete Tissue. It has been made into an ointment and its uses are endless.
I used this ointment on a young boy who fell out of a tree and torn his face. With the help of comfrey that will repair and “guard against scar tissue developing incorrectly”, according to David Hoffmann in his book AN ELDERS’ HERBAL. It did just what he said it would do. This child has little or no scaring.
A nurse who broke her arm, was able to heal it in four weeks instead of the usual six weeks by applying the ointment topically and ingesting this formula in capsule form. Thus she healed from both the inside and the outside of her body.
When sores get to the scab stage, it is time to switch to the Complete Tissue formula to complete the healing.
The nutrition will pass through the scab and speed up the healing process.
So far we have only talked about what Comfrey can do for human bodies but I did say that it was a cell proliferant and I meant it. I dry some of the leaves and when I am repotting my house plants, I mix these leaves into the soil to give my plants a real boost of energy.
Next, I wanted to check in with Dr. James Duke and his wonderful database to see what things this herb is capable of doing. The amazing thing is that in the leaf area, Dr. Duke didn’t have a whole lot to tell me but when it came to the root of Comfrey, what isn’t it able to do? The list went from antiaging to antiviral and everything in-between. I have always talked about how plants achieve a balance, and I even found two components in these roots that were antiproliferant.
After looking at Duke’s list, I went to my Globalherb program to see what they had to say about Comfrey. Their list was just as impressive with; bruises, cough, diarrhea, anemia, fractures, hemorrhage, inflammation, sores, ulcers, boils, bronchitis, cancer, dysentery, leucorrhea, rupture, swelling, acne, arthritis, asthma, burns, catarrh, diabetes, gangrene, gout, hay fever, sore breasts, sprains and another page and a half of things that it would be happy to work on.
One must remember that unlike what most of us think, that more is better; when it comes to herbs a little goes a long way. This is a very safe herb if used correctly and that means not to overdo it.
All herbs have something to give us if we use common sense. We have not been trained to think like this. If we have a headache, we think that if one aspirin is good then two should be twice as good. It is the same way that we think about herbal tea. We like our coffee strong so it will really be good and how can a weak, see-through tea be helpful.
When making a tea out of an herb it is best to make it with distilled water. Distilled water is hungry water and for all practical purposes does not have all the minerals that tap water has. Because it has room for all the constituents contained in the herb, it is ready to pull these into the water that you will be ingesting.
It is for the reason that has just been pointed out that I don’t like to see people doing the same things all the time. One wouldn’t eat peanut butter for every meal so why would one take a comfrey tea or capsule all the time. By doing different herbs, we give the body different constituents to choose from. This is how healing really takes place.
Herbs don’t heal, they give the body the building blocks to rebuild and Comfrey is a great rebuilder.
Writer & Herbalist