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Comfrey
shopping: all 5 varieties
Symphytum officinale

comfrey

plant overview
comforting comfrey

Comfrey, also called bruisewort, knitbone and slippery root, is a member of the borage family that is native to Asia and Europe. Although this herb has a long history of use internally, it is no longer permitted in products sold in the U.S. or Europe that are intended to be ingested. The herb is still used to make salves, ointments and poultices for topical use because of the high degree of mucilage present in the leaf.

Clicking "learn more" next to each variety will take you to individual product pages for details.
Comfrey
01.
Where in the World
habitat and range for comfrey

Comfrey is native to Europe and it is known elsewhere, including North America, as an introduced species and sometimes a weed.

02.
A Bit of Botany
a little botanical information about comfrey

description
Symphytum officinale is a perennial flowering plant of the family Boraginaceae. The leafy stem, 2 to 3 feet high, is stout, angular and hollow, broadly winged at the top and covered with bristly hairs. The lower, radical leaves are very large, up to 10 inches long, ovate in shape and covered with rough hairs which promote itching when touched. The stem-leaves are decurrent, i.e. a portion of them runs down the stem, the body of the leaf being continued beyond its base and point of attachment with the stem. They decrease in size the higher they grow up the stem, which is much branched above and terminated by one-sided clusters of drooping flowers, either creamy yellow, or purple, growing on short stalks.

These racemes of flowers are given off in pairs, and are what is known as scorpoid in form, the curve they always assume suggesting, as the word implies, the curve of a scorpion's tail, the flowers being all placed on one side of the stem, gradually tapering from the fully-expanded blossom to the final and almost imperceptible bud at the extremity of the curve, as in the Forget-Me-Not. The corollas are bell-shaped, the calyx deeply five-cleft, narrow to lance-shaped, spreading, downier in the purple flowered type.

The fruit consists of four shining nutlets, perforated at the base, and adhering to the receptacle by their base. Comfrey is in bloom throughout the greater part of the summer, the first flowers opening at the end of April or early May.

common names & nomenclature
The name comfrey is from Anglo-Norman French cumfirie, based on Latin conferva, from confervere "heal", literally "boil together".

Also known as:
knitbone, knitback, slippery root, bruisewort, wallwort, boneset, common comfrey, quaker comfrey, cultivated comfrey, consound, slippery root, blackwort, yalluc, gum plant, consolida, ass ear

03.
Cultivation & Harvesting
considerations for growing and harvesting comfrey

climate
Comfrey grows in damp, grassy places on river banks and ditches.

soil
Prefers a well-drained, rich fertile soil.

growing
Comfrey is easily grown by root divisions. Each piece can be replanted with the growing points just below the soil surface, and will quickly grow into new plants. When choosing plants to divide, ensure that they are strong healthy specimens with no signs of rust or mildew. When dividing comfrey plants, take care not to spread root fragments around, or dispose of on the compost heap, as each can re-root, and comfrey can be a very difficult plant to eradicate.

harvesting
Comfrey should not be harvested in its first season as it needs to become established. Comfrey should be harvested by using shears, a sickle, or a scythe to cut the plant about 2 inches above the ground, taking care handling due to potential skin irritation caused by fine hairs on leaves and stems.

preserving
Dry the leaves and root thoroughly, cut into smaller pieces or grind the root into powder. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

caution!
Take care when handling comfrey because the leaves and stems are covered in hairs that can irritate the skin. It is advisable to wear gloves when handling comfrey.

for educational purposes only

This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

please be advised: 
you should always consult with your doctor
before making any changes to your diet!!
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