Species: Common Comfrey (Symphytum officinale)

Family: Borages (BORAGINACEAE)

Category: Flowering Plants

Location: NW

A. Flowering Plants

More extensive information on flowering plants can be found in a separate blog post.

B. Borages (BORAGINACEAE)

The plants in this family are noted for their being edged with coarse hairs. The flowers often start pink and turn blue, and are usually in one-sided stalked spikes, which at first are tightly coiled.

C. Common Comfrey (Symphytum officinale)

Comfrey has bell-like flowers of many colours, white through pink to purple, from May to August, followed by black, shiny fruits. The whole plant is edible. Young leaves, picked from May to early July, and roots, lifted in Spring, can be steamed and served with melted butter or lemon juice. The young shoots can be blanched and prepared like asparagus.

Additional Information

Recipe for Comfrey Fritters

Comfrey leaves, undamaged 4 oz (100g) flour
1 egg milk
a pinch of salt.
Sieve the flour and salt together, beat in the yolk of the egg and add milk until you have a creamy batter consistency. Whisk the egg white until stiff and fold in. Wash and dry the comfrey leaves, coat in batter and fry in hot oil until brown and crispy. Serve with lemon juice.

Comfrey leaf infusions are drunk to relieve respiratory complaints and discomfort from ulcers. As an ointment or poultice the leaves reduce swellings and bruising, and will assist the healing of wounds, sprains and bone fractures. A former name for Comfrey was Knitbone. Use a wet leaf poultice or soak a cloth in leaf or root tea. For bone setting, grate the roots dug in Spring and pack a sludge of the roots around the fracture.

Comfrey cream preparations are soothing to the skin and are excellent for dry skin, chapped hands and sunburn. Comfrey salves also effectively treat blisters, bruises, burns, cuts, eczema, insect bites and stings, and more serious injuries.

Recipes for Comfrey Sun Cream and Hand Cream

2 oz (50g) comfrey leaves ½ pint (300ml) water
2 tbsp each of sesame oil and lanolin.
Tear up the leaves and boil in water for 20 minutes, pressing to release all juices. Warm the lanolin and sesame oil together until the lanolin dissolves. Strain the comfrey decoction into this solution and stir well. Put into a bottle and shake frequently until it is cool and homogenous. Comfrey hand cream is made in a similar way, except that instead of lanolin and sesame oil you use 7 fl oz (200ml) glycerine and 12 tbsp rose petal water. Stir well.

A decoction of grated comfrey root, used as a poultice, helps the healing of wounds, bruises, sprains, swellings and itchiness. When drunk, it eases sore throats, coughs and helps combat diarrhoea. Comfrey root makes a good 'coffee' with no injurious effects like the real thing.

Images

Common Comfrey

Young leaves of Common Comfrey, picked from May to early July, and roots, lifted in Spring, can be steamed and served with melted butter or lemon juice. The young shoots can be blanched and prepared like asparagus.

Common Comfrey

Common Comfrey has bell-like flowers of many colours, white through pink to purple, from May to August, followed by black, shiny fruits. The whole plant is edible.

Common Comfrey

Common Comfrey in the Cemetery still flowering in mid-October.