by Trisha Shirey
Perennial herb in the borage family
Native to Europe, grows in ditches and damp grassy areas
Grows from turnip-shaped root
Large hairy leaves 2 to 3 feet tall
Bell-shaped flowers, white, pale pink or lavender
Grows in full sun to part shade
Deer love it!
Plant it where you want it, since it has deep roots
These deep roots allow it to accumulate high levels of minerals and nutrients
Grows rapidly and can be cut to the ground every month in growing season
Plant next to compost bin for a ready nitrogen source and moisture to speed up your compost.
But don’t add too many leaves to the compost bin at one time
Cut leaves and use as nutrient-rich mulch around your plants
Best mineral content is right before flowering
Leaves are high in calcium, phosphorus, potassium, trace minerals, and Vitamins A, B-12, C
Use gloves when shearing back, since it has fine hairs that can irritate sensitive skin
Comfrey cocktail for your plants
Give your plants a nutrient-rich boost with this cocktail.
Put 2 cups of coarsely chopped comfrey leaves and stems into a blender.
Cover with hot water and blend.
Allow to cool. Pour the mixture around the base of your plants.
You can also use the large or unattractive leaves from your Swiss chard in the same way.
Aged comfrey liquid fertilizer
Add several pounds of leaves to rainwater in a 5-gallon bucket and screen for mosquitoes. Let age for several weeks. Beware: it’s thick, black and very smelly! Dilute before using.
Comfrey as a natural healer
Comfrey has been called knitbone. Poultices made from comfrey have been used to help heal broken bones and sprains for years.
It contains allantoin, which speeds up natural cell replacement. It helps wounds heal faster, and is good for burns, mild cuts and abrasions, and poison ivy irritation.
Bruise fresh leaves and apply as a poultice to swollen or inflamed skin.
Comfrey as a natural hair rinse
Dried comfrey leaves may be brewed into a tea to use as a hair rinse. Allantoin makes it effective for softening skin and hair.
CAUTION: The leaves contain an alkaloid that may be toxic to the liver, so it is not recommended for internal use