Habitat & Cultivation:
The Boraginaceae family is known for it’s astringent properties and wound-healing properties They are bisexual, have five separate sepals, and 5 united petals. These plants are typically hairy and rough and have alternating leaves. Plants from this family may also contain pyrolizidine alkaloids which can potentially be toxic to humans when ingested. Comfrey grows in damp grassland, wasteland, and near riverbanks and marshes. This would indicate that it has somewhat of an affinity for water and due to its ability to grow in wastelands an affinity for deep lying nutrients. Comfrey is a plant that can grow in a wide range of environments, and will grow in most soils. It is often used for land improvement on permaculture farms because it can tolerate growth in soils that nothing else will grow in, and over a few seasons will greatly improve the quality of the soil.
Roots and Leaves
Comfrey is often used in permaculture for regeneration of compacted or deficient soils because 1.) it has a tremendously strong taproot and can break up hard soils, 2.) it creates a great deal of biomass that will help build healthy topsoil. This suggests that it is a very regenerative and helpful plant for deep as well as superficial damage (though because of the PA issue we are only recommending this topically).
Comfrey Roots: the roots should be used with caution since they contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids. A preparation with roots could be indicated for situations where there is a big bruise, a pulled ligament or muscle, and sprains.
Vulnerary, Demulcent, Anti-inflammatory, Astringent, Expectorant
Stabilizing, repairing, and regenerating our bodies. The root may be used for bruising, pulled muscles and ligaments, sprains and the Herb & Leaf may be used for bruises, sprains
No contraindications or drug interactions known for comfrey
Moistening, cooling, heavy, dull, smooth, stable, soft
Comfrey Leaves: The leaves of comfrey are usually safe to use topically to intact skin. It can provide great relief for bruises and sprains. Should not be used in an open wound.
Safety category 2A: external use
Safety category 2B: do not use while pregnant
Safety category 2C: do not use while breastfeeding
I prepared this as an oil infusion and applied it to my skin. It had a nice healing effect on my dry skin but it didn't seem to heal my cut cuticles very well. Overall the smell was light and pleasant, I probably would add some essential oil to it or another aesthetic herb for scent next time.
American Botanical Council. (1990). Comfrey Root Monograph. Accessed from https://elearning.bastyr.edu/pluginfile.php/567028/mod_folder/content/0/American%20Botanical%20Council%20Commission%20E%20Comfrey%20Herb%20and%20Leaf.pdf?forcedownload=1
Grieve, M. (2017) Comfrey. Retrieved online from http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/c/comfre92.html
Comfrey (Symphytum officinale)