It’ always so wonderful to see growth coming back on the plants this time of year.
These are Comfrey (Symphytum off.) shoots re-emerging after the winter. We always grow big patches of Comfrey as it’s definitely one of the most versatile and useful plants to have to hand for a herbalist and for any gardener.
As a medicine we can only use Comfrey externally in Ireland. We use the leaves and roots in EXTERNAL herbal preparations. We like to make hot oil extractions of the leaves and roots, use the leaves and roots grated fresh and also dry the leaves to a powder. It’s renowned for its ability to accelerate skin regeneration and heal musculoskeletal conditions.
My top uses for Comfrey in clinic are:
* In creams or lotions for; eczema, psoriasis, rashes, inflammation, cuts and wounds,
* In oils or ointments for any type of muscular strains/ pains, connective tissue injuries, bursitis, torn ligaments and joint inflammation.
* Grated fresh to use as a poultice for cuts, wounds and muscle aches and pains, torn ligaments and broken bones!
* Used fresh infused or decocted to use as a soak for sprains, muscle tears, broken bones ie: metatarsals in the feet.
* Tinctured to dilute and use in compresses for any of the above.
* Dried to a powder for use in herbal skincare cosmetics.
There are a numerous other herbs we use alongside Comfrey in creams, lotions, oils, ointments; Yarrow, Calendula, Arnica, Plantain, Cayene, Dandilion and many more depending on the condition being treated.
We’ll be waiting till our Comfrey’s leaves are fully grown by midsummer before harvesting. It can be harvested continually over the summer and autumn. If cut back completely over the growing season it will regenerate itself 2-3 times! We tend to wait till autumn or new year to harvest the roots but if needs be you can dig up a section of root any time of year to use. As we create more herb gardens here at Ivywood we’ll be propagation more Comfrey plants through root division.
This is just a snippet of the clinical uses for this amazing plant. It’s certainly a favourite in any Herbalists garden.