[NAFEX] comfrey, wandering farther afield

Rick Valley bamboogrove at cmug.com
Wed Sep 3 03:24:14 EDT 2003

Wandering afield? Well, I usually do have comfrey in my fields and
Ginda said:
> i found sites promoting
>> its use as a digestive aid and for wound healing, and sites warning
>> about how very toxic the plant is, and how you shouldn't ingest it or
>> expose broken skin to it.  I gather substances in it are toxic to the
>> liver and promote cancers.  (Of course, promoting cell growth might
>> both promote cancer and also promote wound healing, I suppose.)

One friend said bacterial culture tests show comfrey to be a potent mutagen.
I often have my finger tips crack and bleed during the winter when I'm doing
nursery work. I mash a comfrey leaf (from my nursery) anytime my hands are
clean and put the pulp on the cracks; it heals them. Really fast- days, not
weeks. So I agree that cell division is perhaps a two-edged sword!
I eat the flowers- and sometimes use young leaves in tea or smoothies, green
drinks, etc. I'd use it in a case of stomach ulcer (knock on wood) although
I've also heard herbalist friends warn about comfrey closing up deep wounds
so fast that infection gets closed up inside. Something of that sort
happened to me with a 1-2-3 yellowjacket sting-old blackberry thorn-cat
clawing(she ran up my leg in my orchard) on one (1) spot on my calf once. I
tried comfrey poultices on a friend's advice but they did not draw the
infection out. I lost a bit of my calf before it finally healed (with help
from a strong antibiotic and several months) I do not think the comfrey
poultices really did much harm in that case though.

I use comfrey manure tea on container plants that are a bit yellow and need
to be primped up prior to sale. Greens them right up

Anytime the flower stalks are up, I cut it. There's never enough! Everything
does better with cut comfrey mulch it seems. I often get big loads from
gardens where someone planted one and then a few years later the whole
garden got tilled.....


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