Comfrey:
/A Comfrey plant is a must have for any herbalist of true grit./ /~B/

Comfrey (/Symphytum officinale/ )
*Parts Used:* Leaves, Roots, entire plant.

*Historic Uses:*
Comfrey is the best thing the old timers knew of for the treating of 
wounds and reducing the inflammation associated with sprains and broken 
bones. The roots and leaves contain allantoin, a substance that helps 
new skin cells grow, along with other substances that reduce 
inflammation and keep skin healthy. Comfrey ointments were often 
applied to the surface of the skin to heal bruises as well as pulled 
muscles and ligaments, fractures, sprains and strains. Comfrey can be 
dried or powdered and used as a poultice. This plant was also widely 
used for broken bones because it knits bones back together in a jiffy. 
In many countries they still use Comfrey in food and as an internal 
medicine but this is considered dangerous by the FDA. Modern 
herbalistsuse it internally as a tea to heal stomach ulcers, to purify 
the blood, for healing and soothing every organ of the body.

*Garden uses:*
The plant's deep roots accumulate potassium from subsoil. It's leaves 
are high in nitrogen and can be juiced. The juice is then diluted with 
15 or more parts of water for an amazing fertilizer.

*Restrictions:*
Comfrey products for internal use have been banned in the U.S. and many 
European countries, but topical preparations are still available.

*Comments:*
I can't imagine why this plant would be outlawed except for the
Pharmaceutical companies trying to complete their monopoly, so only they 
can use it. In present time, Comfrey is only restricted so you can
still legally grow it. You are not permitted to sell it for internal 
use and you are not allowed to fix anyone's bone with it but your own. 
Healers have used Comfrey for centuries and it would be sad to see it 
fall on the list of illegal medicines but we fear it soon will.

*Growing Conditions:*
Comfrey produces the highest yields in full sunlight and under cooler 
conditions. Unlike annual crops, the leaves do not readily wilt during 
extended periods of drought due to its deep root system. This crop is 
also very frost resistant. In colder climates, it dies back for the 
winter and reappears in the Spring. Comfrey is adaptable to many soils, 
but prefers moist, fertile soils. Thin soils over rock will give a poor 
crop, but on light sands and loams, this crop will be productive if 
adequate nutrients are present.

*How to start a plant from a root cutting: *
Take a cutting from the roots of a Comfrey plant and plant it with the 
roots down in the ground and the cut toward the light. Firm the soil 
around the cutting and leave a bit of the root up out of the soil and in 
the light. Water at least once a week. Soon leaves will start to 
appear. Its best to do several because not all of them will take but 
many will. Because of Comfrey's deep roots, it is best to plant in the 
garden as soon as possible. It doesn't do well in pots once it starts 
to mature so plant it ASAP.

*History:*
The use of Comfrey dates back to 400 BC when the early Greeks used the 
juicy Comfrey root to stop heavy bleeding and externally treat wounds, 
as it is known to grow back torn flesh. This was discovered by the 
Roman naturalist 'Pliny' who observed that boiling Comfrey in water 
produced a sticky paste capable of binding chunks of meat together. If 
I ever lost a large piece of meat out of, let's say, my shoulder, I 
would uses Comfrey to stick it back on. Invaluable herb to have around.

*Homemade cast:*
The ability of Comfrey paste to harden like plastic led to its use on 
the battlefield where cloths were soaked in Comfrey paste and used to 
wrap around broken bones. The paste would dry to form a primitive type 
of a cast, leading Comfrey to be known as 'knit-bone' and 'Boneset'. In 
fact, the word Comfrey is derived from the Latin conferta, which means 
'grow together'.

*The Datil Dog:*
I've told this story before but I thought I would share it with the
readers of the Herb of the Week column as it involves the healing powers 
of Comfrey. This took place around eight years ago. It was a quite 
morning in mid July when our neighbor a few canyons over brought us a 
dog who had been torn to pieces by a pack of over a dozen coyotes. The 
dog's name was 'LittleBit' (for, when she was a pup, she was just a 
little bit) and 'LittleBit' was a full sized Black Labrador. The way it 
started, we will never know but LittleBit's owner (RD was his name) 
heard a ruckus and came running over the hill to see his Dog fighting 
off an entire pack of coyotes. The pack had their teeth sunk in deep 
all over LittleBit's body but one coyote, stronger of jaw than the
others, was griping onto LittleBit's shoulder and not letting go. Our 
neighbor fired a shot into the air and the pack vanished leaving a very 
wounded dog whimpering on the ground. Let me pause a second and tell 
you that we live in a dry desolate location that is hours away from the 
nearest vet. People out here love their livestock and like most folk 
get rather attached to their pets but if an animal ends up in a 
condition where death is nigh, it is considered compassionate toward 
your friend to fetch a gun and end right then and there what would be a 
painful passing. Littlebit's time had come. She had lived a wonderful 
life running free and defending the calves from predators but even 
though the gun was in his hand and the dog was clearly in pain and 
dying, our neighbor did not pull the trigger. Instead, he took his best 
friend down the road to the only healer he knew within a hundred miles 
(Doc Shillington). His truck pulled into the driveway and I ran out to 
see what ol' RD was up to. I had skinned an Oyrx with him about a month 
before and we don't tend to see neighbors so often around here so I was 
surprised to see him. He looked real sad and pointed to the dog in the 
back and said "coyotes got LittleBit". I ran into the house and told 
Dad who came running with his bag and got right to work. He mixed up 
some 'Total Healing Poultice Powder' (contains lots of Comfrey) with 
some distilled water and DMSO, and started applying it to LittleBit's 
many wounds. He had me fetch the distilled water and more gauze while 
RD helped. The worst wound was a hole in LittleBit's shoulder the size 
of a man's fist. The meat was gone and down the coyote's throat so 
Comfrey's juice meat gluing technology was not used, but Doc packed the 
entire pocket with the Total Healing Poultice Powder mixture, and 
wrapped it with gauze. "Bring her back in a few days and we'll apply a 
fresh Poultice. Put her in a comfortable corner of the house and just 
let her rest", Doc said to RD and he drove off with LittleBit. I 
remember Doc charging RD around ten bucks.v They returned a week later 
and LittleBit was walking around a little bit. Two weeks later, we 
removed the bandages and the fist sized wound was covered over with 
tender new "meat" / muscle. A month after the dog had been set upon by 
the rascals the skin had completely grown back over the wound and there 
was not even a scar to be seen. LittleBit is still around and running 
free across the fields and when she meets a coyote, she does not play nice.

*My Comfrey:*
We have some very nice Comfrey plants right now and they are very nice. 
The one in the green house is sending out its beautiful purple flowers. 
I really like having it on hand year round. I have seen Comfrey work 
miracles many times and to tell all the stories would possibly make a 
good book but I'll leave you with this. Any herbalist, natural healer, 
veterinarian, doctor or mother with children who like to play hard, 
should have a Comfrey plant or two in their herb garden or flower bed. 
I can't stress enough how amazing this herb really is. If you live in a 
city apartment or some place where you can't grow Comfrey, the Total 
Healing Poultice Powder can still be purchased from Organic Solutions 
(575-772-5888) or you can find someone in your area who grows it.

Brought to you by Herbal Remedies 
/span>http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/Herbal_Remedies/> (a place where 
Organic Herbalists 
/span>http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/Herbal_Remedies/> Share their 
Knowledge /span>http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/Herbal_Remedies/>)
If you enjoy the Herb of the Week please feel free to pass it on to your 
entire address book.

*~*/*B*/
Journeyman Herbalist

* Copyright © by Bryan Shillington. All rights reserved.*

*Disclaimer: *
The above information is the opinions of a 23 year old, uneducated tree 
hugging farmer and is to be regarded as complete and utter BS by any and 
all readers. Nothing here in is acknowledged as being true by licensed 
professionals and nothing stated above is to be taken as advice. The 
writer, as well as the readers who send this on, hold no responsibility 
and can not be charged, tried or held responsible in any way for Organic 
Gardens springing up in rural neighborhoods or anything else that grows 
from the text above. Remember that if you're happy and you know it, clap 
your hands because compost rules. Remember to always obey the laws in 
your area.

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