‘Arise from the soil, oh ancient plant of healing, a harbinger of the warmth coming with spring.’
I think of the countless generations of Comfrey plants that have sprung up this time of year throughout millennia and how many other herbalists have shared the same joy as I; to see the beauty of the first leaves pop up after a long winter sleep in the bed of mother earth. When I see Comfrey sticking its head up out of the soil, it makes my heart sore like a hawk to see the beautiful gift of healing shared with us once again.
Comfrey (Symphytum Officinale) is perhaps one of the most outstanding gifts of healing that Mother Nature can supply us with. Her leaves and roots are full of active ingredients such as Allantoin, and can contain as much as 0.5%. Comfrey also contains Rosmarinic acid which is anti inflammatory, a demulcent mucilage to sooth irritated conditions, and tannins to act as an astringent, all priceless compounds. The root and leaves can be used fresh or dried and powdered as well. Comfrey is from the plant genus Symphytum and is derived from the Greek symphyo, which means to “unite or knit together”. Hence some common names as Knitbone and Bruisewort.
Allantoin has been studied and written about for over a hundred years. The high content of Allantoin makes Comfrey stand out above all other herbs. This cell proliferant makes cells grow faster, bones heal faster, wounds mend quickly and burns heal with little or no scarring. This substance is known to speed the cells ability to regenerate over three times the normal. Even the British Medical Journal carried extensive articles on the research done back in 1912 by a Dr. Macalister. It has been proven that when Comfrey is applied to broken bones that the process of repair begins with the reduction of inflammation and the creation of Callus. Amazingly, when bones heal an unorganized network of woven bone is formed about the ends of a break. This callus is absorbed as repair is completed and ultimately replaced by true bone structure.
What love nature has for us humans to supply us with all the ingredients contained in plants to heal our every need. I simply marvel at the idea of a leaf containing a substance which can increase the cells metabolism and promote their duplication three or more times their normal rate. What this means is if we are broken in some way, we can with the assistance of this ‘humble weed’ regenerate three times faster than normal. Comfreys powerful energy will assist the body’s own magical processes of healing. The body has innate abilities to heal, and one of these is an internal blueprint of its own perfect healthy state and body structure. When the body is damaged, this is the invisible roadmap of repair the body uses to bring back the state of a healthful body or individual part. Here is where the real magic comes in.
The electrical healing energies inside a plant work symbiotically with our body to try to regain that perfect form. All nutrients and active ingredients carry a specific electric charge and the ones in Comfrey work synergistically with our body to recreate that perfection. The invisible electrical charge or vibration held within a plant, and its constituent’s then work together to bring the desired state of healing, along with our body’s own perfect blueprint. Our body is the physical manifestation of our consciousness and also what we put in it, or apply on it. It stands to reason that what we think or eat we shall become.
As many would agree over the last 2000 years of documented Comfrey use, we owe so much to this single plant. I want to hold my arms to the sky and praise its healing magic. My knees, shoulders, ankles and back are all deeply indebted to this plant. Without the countless warm poultices and applications of People Putty over the years when injured, I would probably be living with crutches today.
As I look around the neighborhood and peer into yards and alleys and vacant lots, I see Comfrey plants growing as if time did not exist. They pop up year after year to refresh the world with their beauty and pretty white and purple flowers. Picking a flower in mid-summer and tasting the honey nectar at the base is a very sweet treat. These plants are a remnant from the past in most cases and planted many years ago by eclectic people who knew a pill was not always the answer. This was a time when people still went to the green pharmacy of their backyard for health and healing. I miss the past days when we all had time to go to the yard and pick those green leaves so full of life, and we could feel the healing warmth of a poultice applied to an injury.
How can we recreate this in today’s world? Well the first step is to plant some Comfrey in your yard or learn to identify the plant elsewhere. Be sure not to confuse with Foxglove or other look-a-likes. Many seed companies sell root cuttings and seeds.
Making a Comfrey Poultice is very easy. Start by picking a few leaves around the bottom of the plant where they are more mature and this allows the plant to keep growing from the center quickly. Gently rinse the leaves under cool water and place on a clean wood cutting board. Next, you can either chop them up with a large knife or crush them by pounding with a mallet. The idea here is to release all the healing juices from the leaf structure. A blender may work also, just be careful not to make it too soupy as usually, extra water will be needed. If this happens, the addition of Comfrey root powder or Slippery Elm bark powder will thicken it up. A pinch of Psyllium husk can work as well. It is a good idea to create enough poultice material for a couple applications, if possible.
Next, heat a little water to boiling and after placing the mash in a small bowl, add a tablespoon or two of hot water. The heat will assist the release of all the active constituents from the leaf fiber. It is also good to do this because the heat will soften the prickles on the leaves, for those who have skin that is more sensitive. Mix together with a wooden spoon to create a bright green pulpy paste. Apply this to a natural fabric like cheesecloth or gauze spreading it out evenly.
Now the moment of bliss, carefully place the warm pack onto the injury and immerse yourself at how soothing and healing it feels. Cover with a piece of plastic baggie or wrap, so that the moisture will go to the skin and not soak through the outer side. An Ace type bandage works well to hold this entire poultice in place. This should be left on for at least an hour or two, and applied twice a day. Leaving a poultice on all night accelerates the speed of regeneration as well, and is recommended. The process to make a poultice may take time in a busy day, but that’s all there is to it, besides marveling at the speed of improvement to the injury.
In this modern day of work and technology 24/7, we are often so busy that there simply is not enough time to prepare our own medicines, yet the distrust of pharmaceuticals and iatrogenic diseases has led us all away from modern medicine. An iatrogenic disease is a condition that’s directly caused by a medical professional’s mistake or negligence in surgery or drug prescriptions. In the United States an estimated 225,000 deaths per year have iatrogenic causes, with only heart disease and cancer causing more deaths, according to research gathered on Wikipedia. This is enough to make us choose to ‘return to nature’ and this is why Herbalists and Naturopaths are becoming so much more popular for their knowledge and skills of herbal preparation. Rarely are there any side effects from natural medicine except for improved health and regeneration.
If you have do not have time to do a simple poultice, then look to a product that in many ways is even more effective and easier to use as part of your daily routine. White Crow Botanicals makes People Putty, an external injury liniment. People Putty contains both Comfrey Leaf and Root for maximum benefit. Included also, in this proprietary formula, are nine other herbs synergistically combined to enhance the healing and repair of bone, muscle, tendon, nerve tissue and to ease swelling and bruising. There are hundreds of testimonials to back up the healing power of People Putty and its ability to ease life’s sore spots. The important fact is that weather you use a homemade poultice or People Putty spray, be sure to take advantage of truly one of Mother Nature’s best gifts of healing, Comfrey.
GROW COMFREY IN THE SUMMER WARMTH!
ABSORB THE NUTRIENTS AND FULVIC ACIDS IN THE SOIL AND WITH THE ELECTROMAGNETIC ENERGY OF THE SUN TRANSFORM YOURSELF TO THE ‘QUEEN LADY’ OF HEALING.