Comfrey (Symphytum officinale)
Comfrey is a herb which originated from Asia and Europe that is used as a fertilizer in organic gardening and also for its medicinal qualities.
There is an ongoing debate as to whether or not comfrey can be consumed and therefore it is not recommended for oral consumption.
Comfrey does not seed and therefore new plants are best started from root cuttings. The more the leaves are pruned, the more the plant will grow. It grows best in sun or partial shade.
Comfrey is widely used by organic gardeners as a fertiliser in compost or mulch or as a companion plant as it mines a host of nutrients from the soil.
Comfrey since ancient times has been known for healing. The name comfrey is believed to come from Latin ‘confera’ meaning ‘knitting together’.
The most common usage of comfrey extract is skin treatments for wounds, bed sores and other dermatological conditions. In a poultice or ointment it can be used for soothing pulled muscles, arthritis, sprains and bruises.
In a recent placebo-controlled study, comfrey was found to decrease back pain when used topically. However, it is not clear if these results reached statistical significance.
Facts About Comfrey
Gardeners have also been known to plant comfrey around gardens to form a week barrier and to stop grasshoppers and other insects devouring their plants (as the insects fill up on the comfrey first!).