Comfrey Leaf – Symphytum officinale L.
Comfrey is one of the most important herbs in organic gardening. It is used as a fertilizer and as an herbal medicine. A perennial herb of the family Boraginaceae with a black, turnip-like root and large, hairy broad leaves that bears small bell-shaped flowers of various colours, typically cream or purplish, which may be striped. It is native to Europe, growing in damp, grassy places, and is locally frequent throughout Ireland and Britain on river banks and ditches.
Contemporary herbalists have a mixed view of comfrey, despite widespread historical use. Its traditional names of knitbone, boneset and the derivation of its Latin name Symphytum (from the Greek symphis, meaning growing together of bones, and phyton, a plant), speak to its longstanding reputation as a therapeutic herb. Comfrey was historically used to treat a wide variety of ailments.
The plant contains the small organic molecule allantoin. Constituents of comfrey also include mucilage, steroidal saponins, tannins, pyrrolizidine alkaloids, inulin, and proteins. In modern herbalism, comfrey is most commonly used topically.
Safety: Do not use on open wounds.
Country of origin: Europe