Comfrey seeds and oil are a major ingredients in most bone straightening herbal mixtures. But that’s not all about the boneset plant, the leaves as well as the roots are also used, topically for the same purpose.
Comfrey is a drought tolerant plant that does well in a well drained soil. It loves full direct sunlight, and can manage a minimum of 4hrs direct sunlight and light shade. The plant is a member of the Boraginaceae family just like Starflower. Comfrey is a clumping herb with multiple stalks. The fresh leaves and roots are also traditionally harvested and used in the making of topical medical preparations
Comfrey roots grows deep into the soil
One good thing about comfrey is that the roots can grow so deep into the soil that even after harvest, they still sprout up a d produce new plants. This can however constitute a nuisance in a farm where the farmer is no longer interested in comfrey farming, and would like to grow another plant on the same soil.
Comfrey is a perennial plant
Although comfrey is grown in early spring, the plant is a perennial shrub and can stand frost and extreme cold. At this time, it will remain dormant and start blooming once spring sets in.
Unlike starflower, comfrey can be grown from the stem cuttings and seeds. Whichever method you desire can go so long as the environmental conditions is met.
Comfrey seeds and oil
Although comfrey leaves and roots are used for herbal healing, the seeds have also shown to be of immense usage. The plant is a good source of allantoin and rosmarinic. Both compounds are required in bone setting and fracture treatment.
Allontoin is involved in the simulation of cell growth while rosmarinic acid is an anti-inflammatory compounds that suppresses pains.
How to grow and care for comfrey
Comfrey is a high adaptive plan. As a result, you do not need to do much for it to grow and bloom. Comfrey can adapt to different growing conditions of weather, soil, and even, temperature conditions. Because of this, You would need to only do the needful and allow it to fend for itself. Remember that Comfrey grows its roots systems deep into the soil, including deep taproot system. From those deep roots, comfrey draws water rom the underground and supplies it to its branches and leaves.
Comfrey is hard to clear from the farm after planting it
It is important you take note of this. If you do not want to set the farmland aside for the purpose of growing comfrey, it is in your best interest to consider the aftermath of the growing season. As you should know, comfrey propagates and spread through its roots. So, even after harvest and clearing of the land, once there is a small root remaining in the soil, it will surely propagate and grow into a flowering comfrey. Therefore, it is either you grow your plant in a pot, or raise the garden bed instead of the ground.
It is easier to grow your comfrey from the root cuttings than from the seeds
It is usually difficult to grow comfrey from the seeds. One of the reasons why this is so is because a comfrey seed requires the chilling weather of winter period to germinate. Again, in most cases, it is not uncommon to sow the seeds and not see any of them germinate for over two years. Because of this disappointing scenario, it is more advisable to grow your comfrey through the root cuttings.
Having considered the demerits of growing your comfrey from the seeds, it is important you also take note that the best time to grow your comfrey is during the early spring. After clearing your farm and making the beds, you can now space your comfrey plant by giving space before burying each root cuttings on the soil. The reason why you should space the shrubs is because comfrey grows from the roots. So as the plant roots spread, they usually sprout and shoot out young shrubs.
Comfrey requires full direct sunlight
One factor you must not joke with while making plans to grow comfrey is the location of the garden or farmland. Comfrey requires direct sunlight throughout the day. But if by chance there are light shades in the locality, then you should ensure it receives at least 4hrs of direct sunlight. If you are growing comfrey in a warmer regions of the growing zones, then it is important you plant it where it will be protected from the harsh sunlight by light shades.
Comfrey can tolerate different soil types, including clay and sandy soil. However, it prefers being grown in an organic compost rich loamy soil that is well drained. The pH of the soil should range from slight acidic to neutral level. Comfrey however, can tolerate slight alkaline soil.
Water is needed at the early stage of growth
Although comfrey has a high drought tolerance once they are establish, it still requires a moderate level of water and an evenly distributed soil moisture for its propagation and early growth. So at the early stage, you would be required to keep the soil moist by watering it at an even distributions round the farmland. You may do this once or twice a week, depending on how quick the water is drained and the soil becomes dry. This does not mean you should make your farmland become soggy.
Once the shrub becomes mature, you may only water your farmland or garden when the top inch or two of the soil become dry. by this time however, the shrubs might have develop strong roots and deep taproots that can draw water from the soil and take it up the stems and leaves.
Temperature and humidity
Comfrey is a highly tolerant plant when extreme temperature spectrums are concerned. It can survive both extreme cold temperature as well as extreme hot weather condition. Comfrey plants may die off during the Fall, once the temperature has become freezing and frost has arrived. But that doesn’t mean all the plant has died away, maybe we could say it went to sleep. The aerial parts may wilder and die off during the Fall, due to frost, the roots remain alive and vibrant.
Once it is spring, these sleeping roots will spring up and start shooting out new leaves and branches, thereby growing again into full bloom and flowering. This however why it is very difficult to eradicate comfrey from a farmland after it has been grown on it once.
Pests and disease control
Comfrey is an excellent weed competitor due to its fast and dense growth habit. You would actually need to weed it once. It generally doesn’t have serious issues with pests. In some scenarios, snails and slugs might cause a serious damage to the plant leaves and young branches. Other pests like deer does not attack the plant.
Some of the diseases associated with comfrey include rust fungus, alfalfa mosaic virus, and Foliar nematodes. Rust fungus is associated with the rotting of the roots, which affects the yield of the plant. Alfalfa mosaic virus causes yellow spots, rings and chlorotic line patterns on the leaves, while Foliar nematodes are associated with low crop yield.
To control this, make sure your shrubs are adequately spaced, that the soil is well drained, and apply appropriate antifungal chemicals that will not have side effects on the shrubs.
Harvest of comfrey
comfrey can be harvested up to four times in a year. The leaves and flowers are usually harvested, and sell at local markets or used for culinary or medicinal purposes. This harvests may also serve as pruning, which delay the time of seeding of the shrub. The harvesting of the leaves may help the shrub develop extensive branches that will later increase the seed yield.
When is comfrey suitable for harvest?
The suitable time to harvest your comfrey is usually during mid-spring, when the crop reaches a height of about 24 inches. By this time, they are ready for harvesting.
The optimum period to cut the crop is just before flowering as it is the most effective in terms of the nutrient that it produces. You may stop harvesting the leaves when you are ready for the seeds to start coming out. This will allow the plant to bloom once again and produce flowers.
Store comfrey seeds in a cool dry place
After harvesting comfrey seeds, the next thing is to preserve and store in a cool dry place for the next season. This does not require much work. Just get a cellophane bag and store your comfrey seeds in it till the next growing season. Alternatively, you may want to produce oil from the seeds. Comfrey seed oil has high market value, and is used in cosmetic and medicinal mixtures.
Health benefits of comfrey seeds
Aside the allantoin and rosmarinic acid present in the seeds of comfrey, there are also vitamins and minerals that are embedded in the oil, which contribute to its medicinal and nutritional efficacies.
Comfrey oil for bone fractures
Comfrey oil is also used for healing and setting fractured bones and sprains. The oil is applied topically on the affected area of the skin. This works just like comfrey leaves and roots. You remember that comfrey is noted for allantoin and rosmarinic acid content. Allantoin stimulates the growth of fresh tissues and is involved in the development of bones. Rosmarinic acid on the other hand, is an anti-inflammatory compound which is involved in alleviating pains and sprains.
Comfrey oil promotes hair growth
Comfrey oil may be compared to perilla seed oil when it comes to increasing hair growth and preventing hair fall and dandruff. Apply the oil on scalp and massage the follicles thoroughly. The allantoin in the oil may play a major role in hair growth and new hair follicular development, which is seed in the dense hair growth.
Comfrey seeds for skin
Allantoin is a moisturiser. Which means it leaves your body moist and soft. The oil removes dead cells while promoting fresh cell growth. It is also used in treating skin diseases such as eczema, skin rashes, and ringworm.
In fact, due to its antioxidant components, comfrey oil has been incorporated in many skin care cosmetic products.
Allantoin prevents wrinkles and aging
As one begins to age, one’s skin will start to form wrinkles. This is mostly because of the oxidative stress and harmful effects of free radicals.
The use of comfrey oil will delay the aging process of your skin and also stimulate the production of fluids at your joints, thereby preventing the onset of arthritis.
Read also: Taro milk tea: 11 benefits, and recipes
May prevent hyperpigmentation
Another wonderful work of comfrey oil is in the prevention of hyper pigmentation of your skin. Hyperpigmentation is a situation in which your skin develops deferent colours.
May cause skin lightening
Comfrey oil is added to organic cream to suppress the production of melanin and thus, improve your skin tone, while softening it and improving hair growth.
Comfrey tea is the herbal tea that is made from the leaves of the plant, Symphytum officinale. Like the roots and seeds, comfrey tea has been shown to be effective for the treatment of various illnesses, especially sprains and bone fractures. In ancient Greeks and Romans, comfrey tea was reported to have been used to heal injuries after a bad fall or accident. Unfortunately, due to some certain safety concerns, the herbal tea became unpopular, as most consumers resorted to using the plant leaves for external purposes. Thankfully, there has been growing interests on the herbal tea in most recent times, Which is why this article is been brought your way so you could know the benefits, side effects and how you can prepare comfrey tea. This article will also do its best to present to you the possible way to avoid being intoxicated by the toxic substance present in the leaves.
How to prepare comfrey tea (Recipe)
The best way to enjoy comfrey tea is to prepare it with other herbs that has protective effects on the liver and kidney, among other organs of the body. Some of this herbs include, ginger, turmeric, garlic powder, avocado seed powder, and so many others, which we may not mention here. For this recipe, we shall make use of ginger powder.
- Dried comfrey leaf powder
- Ginger powder
- Honey (Optional)
- Boil two cups of water in a kettle or pot.
- Add two spoonful of comfrey powder and reduce the heat.
- Add a spoonful of ginger powder to it, and allow to simmer for five minutes more.
- Strain your tea into a clean tea cup
- Add two spoons of naturally honey
- Stir and enjoy your herbal tea.
What are the health benefits of Comfrey leaves and roots?
Because of their efficacies in diseases treatments, both the leaves and roots of comfrey have received wide promotion. e shall discus some of the health benefits of comfrey tea below. Most of the benefits of comfrey have been discussed under the comfrey seeds, and seed oil benefits. You may do well to read up again. However, some of the benefits of comfrey not mentioned earlier include:
- wound healing
- relief from excessive menstrual flow
- scar reduction
- burn relief
- treatment of bronchitis
- treatment for rheumatoid arthritis
- treatment for rashes or insect bites
- relief from general aches and pains
- improved dental health (stronger teeth)
- better blood circulation
- smoother skin
- acne treatment
- cancer prevention
Side effects of comfrey tea
Several studies have suggested that comfrey may be safe for most people when applied topically to unbroken skin, and in small amounts for less than 10 days. When taken as tea or applied on wounded areas of the skin, comfrey is likely unsafe.
In America, the FDA has issued warnings to supplement manufacturers to remove products containing comfrey from the market, stating that a regular use of comfrey as part of the diet or for medicinal purposes may be a potential health risk as a result of the presence of pyrrolizidine alkaloids.
Who should not make use of comfrey?
- If you are pregnant woman, or nursing mother, it will be in your best interest to avoid any herbal supplements that contain comfrey products.
- Comfrey is toxic to the liver, as such may hamper the effort of antioxidants in your body.
This article is for academic consumption, and as a result should not replace your doctors prescriptions. Before making use of comfrey products, it is absolutely important you seek your doctor’s attention and permit.
Remember, we cannot be held liable for any misuse of the information found here. Therefore, treat this article as an academic exercise.