Meet Your Herbs: Comfrey
Season 3 Episode 8 Transcript
Today's is special Meet Your Herbs episode, when I introduce you to another of my favorite plant friends. Since this season's theme is Get Moving, this is an herb that will help you repair your injured bits if you've gotten moving a bit too much. She's blowsy, spiny, voluptuous, a bit of a misunderstood outcast. Meet controversial Comfrey- poor thing, it's not her fault.
If you want to really understand the background of the Comfrey controversy and what pyrolizzidine alkaloids are, the Borage (and Comfrey) episode of Natasha’s Richardson’s archived podcast Listen is *fantastic*. I will link the episode in this show’s transcript. If you want to really understand Comfrey, grow some! She grows just the way you want your tissues that it heals so well to be- strong, vibrant, protective, and beautifully healthy. Comfrey leaves get HUGE and are prickly almost like a velcro, and Comfrey people are in an acute state that need some knitting back together. It's not a long term tonic plant, but rather it's like that gruff grandparent who is always there for you but really likes to be left alone the rest of the time.
Comfrey’s strength lies in putting your cells back together, and in doing so it stimulates cell replication. So when it comes to wounds this can actually be a problem, because Comfrey can get a wound to heal so quickly that it traps debris and dirt inside, that can cause an infection. So you need to be a little careful when you’re working with comfrey and not just slap it on right away. You really need to make sure that any kind of open skin wound is clean.
But any kind of injury, any kind of damage, can be helped with Comfrey. It’s not just necessarily something that will then become a scab. So- broken bones, strains and sprains, bruises, all kinds of injuries and damage can really be helped with Comfrey. It’s typically used topically, but if you listen to the Comfrey and Borage episode that Natasha Richardson put out with Marcos Patchett, you’ll definitely understand why that’s not always been the case and why it might not need to be the case.
Comfrey is one of the few plants where harvesting the roots isn't really a worry, since it grows so prolifically. You can also use the roots and the leaves similarly, most often infused in oils, but tinctures and even whole plant and fresh plant poultices work really well too. So try it and experience the difference in strength and energy of the different plant parts. Make a connection with your plants, learn how they work with you, instead of expecting them to be for your issues.
This season of Holistic Lifestyling is all about getting moving, and Comfrey is one of those friends always waiting to patch you up so you can keep going. Did you rub your skin off a toe in a damp shoe? Scratch yourself picking berries in the park? Did you reduce a mosquito bite to a scab? Fell out of the canoe and strain a rib? The list goes on and on, and Comfrey is waiting to be asked for help.
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Fun Fact: I'm an herbalist and a movement coach. Not a doctor, or a pharmacist, and not pretending to be one on TV.
This is a public space, so my writing reflects my experiences and I try to stay general enough so it might relate to you. This does not constitute medical advice, and I encourage you to discuss concerns with your doctor. Remember, however, that the final say in your wellness decisions are always yours- you have the power to choose, you are the boss of you.
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This website is provided for educational and informational purposes only and is not medical, mental health or healthcare advice. The information presented here is not intended to diagnose, treat, heal, cure or prevent any illness, medical condition or mental or emotional condition. Working with us is not a guarantee of any results. Paula Billig owns all copyrights to the materials presented here unless otherwise noted.