Comfrey – What does this herbal remedy do?
One essential ingredient for the holistic, medicinal herb chest is Comfrey or Comfrey Root. The most commonly used part of this beautiful herbal plant is the root. As a poultice, the large leaves are good for making compresses.
Comfrey is easy to grow, and can become invasive under the right soil conditions. Overall, this valuable herbal remedy helps with any kind of inflammation, be it external or internal. After drying, the roots are coarsely chopped and resemble of the texture of cork. Manufactured comfrey is ground into a powder, and dispensed in capsules.
Comfrey, used as an herbal tea, helps with physical injuries, sprains, and inflammatory conditions like bronchitis, chest colds, sinusitis, menstrual difficulties, and joint problems. Roots must be boiled as opposed to steeped.
Preparing Comfrey herbal tea.
The processing time should be about 15 minutes at a good rolling boil. Use a few tablespoons of the ground up root per one cup of water. After boiling in a saucepan, strain it into the teapot, and let the herbal tea steep for a few more minutes.
For extra flavor, a few drops of lemon or lime add interest to this herbal tea. The blend of woodsy undertones and a slight hint of maple come as a surprise to the palate of one who is expecting the flavor of conventional tea. More flavor variations include using nutmeg, almond extract, or cardamom. Half and half adds to the presentation and rounds out the flavors. With a little bit of imagination added to the mix, you can make a really tasty herbal brew.
Making a Poultice
When using leaves as an herbal compress, they need to be heated with a small amount of water and then bruised. It only takes about five minutes, a wooden spoon, and a piece of throw away cotton fabric. Using the wooden spoon for bruising, tap the whole leaf, stir and turn while heating.
Drain excess liquid when removing from the pan. Lay the comfrey leaf on top of the piece of cotton fabric. Make sure the fabric absorbs most of the moisture so as to avoid drips that may cause a stain. Lay the bruised leaf onto the affected area with the fabric on top.
Growing and Harvesting Comfrey
A surprising number of nursery catalogs offer comfrey seeds. Since comfrey is known for being invasive, the catalogs usually send no more than a half a dozen seeds in an order.
The best practice for herbal planting is to start the comfrey seeds in the same location with other spring plantings. Be prepared to move the comfrey starts as soon as they show the first three or four leaves. Comfrey holds its own anywhere it’s planted.
The big fuzzy looking leaves grow twelve to fourteen inches long. Comfrey blooms late in the summer yielding soft lavender flowers that dangle beneath the huge frond like leaves. From a distance, the gray-green leaf looks soft, but to the touch, it’s actually bristly and coarse.
When harvested, clean the comfrey herb roots with a stiff bristled brush and wash. Blot dry and set inside of a loosely woven basket. Set on top of the refrigerator toward the back where it can get some airflow. Check from time to time and turn. Once it feels dry, chop it in a blender with a sharp blade. Store the processed herbal roots in an airtight jar.
Before modern medicine, pharmaceutical companies paid brokers to harvest herbs from the woods and fields. Now, a return to natural herbal remedies is on the rise. For those who want to get away from chemicals, and go herbal instead – comfrey root is an essential herb to keep on hand.
By: carol gibson
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