Why Comfrey is Essential for First-aid Medicine and Permaculture

Comfrey

Comfrey is a very beautiful beneficial addition to any garden, and an important herb for medicine and permaculture. Other common names for Comfrey are knit-bone and boneset, because of its amazing ability to regenerate and stimulate the growth of bone. Comfrey is a must have for the first aid herbal kit, because it has demulcent, astringent and vulnerary herbal properties that make it ideal to treat any type of injury, whether it be sinew, bone, tissue or flesh.

Its powerful cell regeneration is mainly due to its allantoin content, which has a calcium type of effect that stimulates cell production that repairs collagen, connective tissue and bone.

Comfrey has tannins that produce so much astriction, which means tightening together of the skin, that stitches might be avoided.

It’s mucilage content is demulcent, sweet and moist, which relieves dryness, acute inflammation as well as swelling, and provides good treatment for burns. It provides a protective coating that soothes, moistens and cools, making it a good choice to treat any type of ulcers, internal or external, inside or out. It is also good to use for arthritis.

It is also a nutritious restorative having many vitamins and minerals in it, along with other healing phytonutrient properties.

COMFREY USES:

PERMACULTURE – Works with the biodynamic forces of nature

There are countless uses for Comfrey in the garden, it adds much-needed nutrients and enriches the soil. Comfrey does not compete for nutrients with trees, so it is ideal to plant around fruit trees.
It attracts beneficial insects and earthworms, while it breaks up compacted soil and draws up nutrients.

The many uses in the garden include:

Compost- add to compost
Mulch- chop and drop mulch
Fertilizer- green manure
liquid fertilizer provides nutrients like potassium

FIRST AID MEDICINE:
Powerful cell and bone regenerator.
Stimulates the growth and healing of bone, flesh, connective tissues, collagen.

*Note that for broken bones, it is important they are set in the right place first before using comfrey to knit the bone together. If in any doubt about your injury please see a doctor for proper diagnosis first, before applying comfrey.

Use Comfrey leaves and root  externally in the form of poultice, compresses, ointments, tea infusions or tincture. The fresh tincture is the best choice for serious injuries with pain, or mix it with clay.

There are other species of comfrey. Russian comfrey and prickly comfrey are all used in the same way, but the officinale species is the one herbalists use the most.

It is from the Borage family, and like borage it has pyrrolizidine  alkaloids that have some cautions attached to it. Do not use internally, but caution comes from animal testing using isolated alkaloid constituents in high doses for long periods. There have been no human fatality cases reported.

Do not use internally when pregnant, lactating, liver disease, small children, frail elderly and caution with external use in these cases. Contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids, avoid long-term internal high dosage use due to potential liver damage. For external use only. Internal use see a qualified practitioner.

The alkaloids are least concentrated in the mature herb. The young spring leaves contains 8-10 times the amount found in the mature herb. The root has the most which is 4-5 times the alkaloid level in the mature herb. The alkaloid content is higher in the Russian variety than the prickly comfrey.

Common Name  Comfrey herb/ root
Latin Name  Symphytum   officinale
Family Boraginaceae
Parts Used Perennial-   flowers mid June to July pick from before flowering to mid flowering/ root rhizome- Fall/ Spring
Target Organs skin, mucus   membranes, skeletal-muscular, connective tissue, collagen, bones, respiratory, digestive, stomach,
Common Uses External use only: broken bones, fractures, scars, ulcers, wounds, abrasions, burns, sunburn, bites, stings, bruises, dislocation, varicose veins, sprains, strains, any injury, periodontitis, pharyngitis, eye infections,
Internal use with supervision for inflammation and ulcers of the digestive tract, colitis,
Properties astringent,   demulcent, vulnerary, anodyne, emollient, tonic, pectoral
Constituents Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids, mucilage, gum,   tannin, allantoin, Essential Oil, triterpenes, resin, inulin, choline,   protein, steroidal saponins, mucopolysaccharide 29%, phenolic acids, vitamins   A, B12, C, E, mineral iron, calcium, phosphorus, trace minerals
Cautions Medium strength: Mainly external use only. Do not use internally   when pregnant, lactating, liver disease, small children, frail elderly and caution with external use in these cases. Contains pyrolizidine alkaloids, avoid long-term high dosage use due to potential liver damage. There have been no human fatality cases reported, all research backing this toxicity claim were conducted on animals using isolated alkaloid constituents and not the whole plant. The alkaloids are least  concentrated in the mature herb. The young spring leaves contains 8-10 times the amount found in the mature herb. The root has the most which is 4-5   times the alkaloid level in the mature herb. The alkaloid content is higher in the Russian variety than the prickly comfrey.
Dosage the average dose is 10 g or 2-4mls of tincture
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