Medicinal Herb - Comfrey

     It is my opinion that every homestead should have a patch of comfrey growing somewhere.  This is an absolute go to for broken bones and nasty bruises, so, I store some up every year.

My patch it still very small at our new homestead.
     I started my "patch" from an itty bitty root I got from someone.  It spent it's first winter in a pot in the house, and then was transplanted to the edge of the lawn.  Comfrey will spread, (I wish mine would spread faster) so make sure it's got some room.  I wouldn't put it in my flower bed.  It will take over. I will be concentrating on increasing my patch so I will have some to feed to animals.  Comfrey is a great source of protein that chickens and ducks love.

     If I drank 6 cups of comfrey tea everyday for a year, then I would heed the warnings out there about it being carcinogenic.  Drinking it occasionally for a cold, or broken bone and using poultices (and supplement feeding it to animals) I believe is perfectly safe.  That's my opinion.  You'll have to make up your own mind.

It is the allantoin in the comfrey that heals fractures, bruises, and burns.
Allantoin easily absorbs through the skin when using a poultice.
         One of my first encounters with comfrey was when my husband broke his foot.  He was hunting and got the ball of his foot stuck under a root.  With the next step he broke a bone high up in his foot.  This is the kind of break the doctors say only heal 50 % of the time, and if they do heal it isn't real fast,  you are on crutches a long time.  Twelve weeks no weight bearing.   Rick was going nuts just sitting around.  He would do almost anything to help it heal faster.  Almost is the key word here.  I could not get him to drink the comfrey tea -- he didn't like the taste, and ditto for horsetail tea  (....and what can I say about that...uhhgg) He would allow a poultice on it 3 times a day.  Since it wasn't in a regular cast we could place the poultice right on the break.  If I remember right he was back at work in a limited way by week 10 --- and yes he was in the 50 % that healed.

     We made the poultices by bringing water to boiling, then adding 2 big handfuls of dried comfrey. (or you can use fresh) As soon as it was limp and very hot, I would use a slotted spoon and place it all in a dish.  I would add just enough oil to help keep it together in a loose ball.  Place it on a dish towel and then herb side down on the break.   It needs to be hot, but not so hot to burn the skin.  We would wrap it on fairly tight with vet tape, and leave it there till it cooled.  A bit of a hassle?  Yes.....but we felt worth it.  Now, if I ever break a bone, I will be drinking horsetail and comfrey tea, and using comfrey poultices.  Hopefully, what I have drying right now ends up being chicken feed and never becomes a poultice  :-).

.....dr momi

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Mama Pea said...

One of our 4' x 8' raised beds is planted out exclusively to comfrey. We've dried it to feed out to the poultry in the winter time. When we had goats they liked it, too, fresh or dried.

Supposedly ingesting comfrey helps internal injuries also. Forty years ago when our daughter was born, I had a rough delivery. My hubby insisted I eat a little cooked comfrey (salt, pepper and butter . . . not bad!) with every meal and I was back to my usual physical chores within a week.

dr momi said...

Mama Pea -- I would definitely use comfrey for internal injuries. Your husband did goood!
When you feed dried comfrey to the chickens do you crush it up fine? I'm still working on the best way to feed it.

Mama Pea said...

I chopped the comfrey before I dehydrated it but it was still in pieces roughly 1" square dried. We use the deep litter method in our chicken house and throw whole grain scratch in on the floor in the morning. That's when we tossed in some of the dried comfrey in the winter.