Comfrey the Power Plant
For herbalists and organic gardeners Comfrey is considered a power plant for its healing properties.
Wild Comfrey, Cynoglossum Virginian is a short plant that populates wooded areas from Texas to New York. The name Cynoglossum is Greek for hound’s tongue, referring to the shape of the 14-inch long leaves.
The sun-to part-shade comfrey in our garden, Cynoglossum officinale, is also called Symphytum officinale and Hound’s Tongue in the plant trade. It grows into a fairly large plant and forms colonies. The dangling clusters of blue flowers make it recognizable as a relative of the culinary herb Borage.
Comfrey is cold hardy in zones 3 to 9, disease and insect resistant. It can grow 3 to 5 feet tall with large, fuzzy leaves. It is not suited to formal or small gardens.
Biointensive gardeners cultivate comfrey as a compost crop since the leaves provide a highly desirable, nutrient-rich biomass. Called a wonder plant by permaculture growers, comfrey draws minerals from 10-feet deep, is made into liquid manure, attracts beneficial insects, can be used as a mulch and as a weed suppressant on garden paths (seewww.tenthacrefarm.com).
Comfrey’s medicinal uses come from its function of increasing cell production, enhancing the body’s ability to heal and knit injuries. The plants’ healing properties have earned it names of knitroot and boneset. On the internet dozens of homeopathic products called Symphytum are available.
The plant in the photo came from Moonshadow Herb Farm at the Muskogee Farmers’ Market. Horizon Herbs is an online source http://www.horizonherbs.com/ that is reputable. If you would like to grow comfrey and prefer a variety that does not spread, look for Bocking 14 or Russian Comfrey, Symphytum x uplandicum.
Seeds are also available. They take a few weeks to come up and prefer 45 degrees for germination.