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Characteristics: A vigorous self-seeder, Comfrey can grow up to 36" high and is perennial in zones 4-9.
Light: Comfrey prefers full sun.
Water: Comfrey needs an average amount of water and prefers to stay consistently moist but not waterlogged. Do not allow it to dry out between waterings.
Soil: Needs moist soil that drains well so that the roots do not stay wet and begin to rot. Can grow in a soil pH range of 6.1 (mildly acidic) to 7.8 (mildly alkaline).
Use: Known for its terrific medicinal purposes, Comfrey also makes a great compost additive and fertilizer.
Extras: Comfrey plants can sometimes become invasive due to its excessive self seeding. To control its spread, deadhead spent blooms before they go to seed. You can also divide the plant's root ball once it is established for transplanting or propagating. Comfrey is a highly useful herb for the organic gardener! The plants grow quickly and produce four to five pounds of cut foliage per plant, which is very rich in mineral content. This foliage decomposes quickly and makes a highly effective, all natural liquid fertilizer. You can also add the leaves themselves to your compost pile to aide in breaking down other organic matter, which will give you a much richer compost mix. Comfrey is very high in Potassium and contains two to three times more than livestock manure which is commonly used as fertilizer. Go green and try adding Comfrey rather than manure to your garden, which will also reduce the risk of polluted runoff.
The Magic of Comfrey: How to Make a Healing Poultice.
The term, poultice, brings to mind some ancient, medieval practice; a wrinkled old crone in the forest, gathering herbs to create some magical healing substance. A poultice. What, in fact, is a poultice? A quick Wiki search produces the following:
"a soft, moist mass, often heated and medicated, that is spread on cloth over the skin to treat an aching, inflamed or painful part of the body".
Our Comfrey Poultice is magic! The Latin name for Comfrey,conferta, literally means "to grow together" because of its ability to mend broken bones and heal burns and wounds. Comfrey contains allantoin, a substance that actually speeds the production of new cells and encourages healing. Comfrey, also known as 'knitbone' is used to treat all sorts of skin conditions as well. However, our poultice should be used EXTERNALLY to treat swelling and pain. Never use internally!
You will need:
Cut up leaves into 2" sections and place into a food processor. Add water and pulse until the mixture resembles a green paste. Fold in a binding agent (cornmeal) using a ratio or 1 part herb paste to 2 parts cornmeal. Spread the mixture on a cloth, fold over to enclose the entire paste and place on affected area. Cover with a heating pad set on LOW, leave on for 20 minute intervals.