Get to Know Comfrey
June 12, 2017
The healing properties that comfrey embodies date back to when the plant first received its name. In Greek, Latin, French, and German, comfrey translates to “I grow together” or “the one who makes firm”. Comfrey is still often referred to as “knit-bone” or “bruise-wort” for its prevalent use in herbal medicine.
Indigenous to England, comfrey is now grown in most regions throughout the world. The plant thrives in shady environments, reaching three feet tall and producing thick prickly leaves with purple blossoms. Don’t be deceived by what’s growing above the soil though! Most of comfrey’s action is happening underground, with roots that stretch up to two meters deep utilizing nutrients that are found deep in the subsoil that are unreachable by other plants. When harvesting the leaf mass in spring or fall, the minerals and nutrients from the plant are then returned to the surface of the soil, becoming accessible to shallow-rooted plants.
As you may have picked up from its nickname, comfrey has long been utilized for medicinal purposes. Ancient Greek and Roman physicians applied the leaves to skin to stop bleeding, heal wounds, and to treat bronchitis; also finding that the recovery time and scars from injuries decreased significantly with its use. As herbal medicine was the most widely accepted form of care during the Middle Ages, comfrey was a renowned plant—cultivated in large quantities and cited in medical practices for its ability to treat injuries and diseases. In the 16th and 17th centuries, its roots were used as a paste on broken bones or as a poultice on rough skin or bruises. In the 1800s during the Irish potato famine, it was believed that comfrey had the ability to save the country from hunger and suffering, which prompted Irish medical professionals to found organizations that specifically studied its curative properties.These organizations remain today, continuing to publish literature on the many uses of this healing plant.
In modern day, comfrey is still used on wounds and is wrapped on broken bones once the skin has healed after surgery. Soaking in a bath of comfrey leaves can relieve sore muscles, aches, and pains, while soothing the body. Drinking a tea blend with comfrey leaves can promote bone strength, and help arthritis or osteoporosis. Infusing a carrier oil with dried comfrey leaf can be used topically on bruises or aching muscles.
This incredible “knit-bone” plant can be found in Motherlove’s Green Salve, a multi-purpose skincare product that we recommend for use on bites, bruises, and skin irritations. Green Salve is a staple in any home and is available on our website, https://www.motherlove.com/product/green-salve.