Comfrey seedlings

This plant is very valuable in a food forest and organic garden system. The roots and leaves have many medicinal uses. It contains high levels of allantoin, making it a powerful cell proliferant internally and externally. It is used to knit wounds and damaged tissue.

Available until end August and shipped while the roots are still dormant.


INFO

  • Brand: KoruKai Herb Farm
  • Availability: In stock

$ 15.00

AVAILABLE OPTIONS

Order is for 3 plants. It will be either crown cuttings with a growing tip, seedlings or a mix of both. Simply plant into your garden over winter and watch them emerge in spring. Growing tips are below.

These plants have been grown organically at KoruKai Herb Farm, Banks Peninsula.


Comfrey (Symphytum officinale)

Growing Conditions: Comfrey will grow well in many conditions. It thrives in moist, well-drained soil with high fertility and will grow in full sun and partial shade. It grows easily and vigorously. Be careful where you plant it as it’s almost impossible to get rid of it once it is established. It does not produce viable seeds so can be grown close to the vegetable garden without spreading via seeds. Even after the root is dug, small pieces of root will regenerate. Rather than move the beds every 3-4 years, we add compost and manures to the area we are harvesting, in order to feed the plants.

 

Planting: Comfrey grows easily and is a great medicinal plant that can also be used as animal fodder and to enrich compost piles. The plant is full of vitamins and minerals and is extremely nutritious. Our chickens and dairy cow LOVE the leaves. Consider planting it near the chicken coop or close to the compost pile to add extra fertility for animals and compost. Space plants 20-30 cm apart.

 

Medicinal uses: The roots and leaves have many medicinal uses. It contains high levels of allantoin, making it a powerful cell proliferant internally and externally. It is used to knit wounds and damaged tissue. Comfrey root and leaves are a common ingredient in salves, poultices, oils and ointments.

 

Harvesting: This generous plant will give multiple leaf harvests within one season and abundant root harvest in winter after 2 growing seasons. To harvest leaves, simply cut the whole plant down to 10 cm above the crown and let it regenerate. Roots should be dug in winter when there is no aerial growth. Dig with a trenching spade or fork. Prior to lifting the roots it is helpful to remove aerial tops and loosen the soil around the whole plant.

 

Processing and Drying: Leaves have a high water content and can easily bruise and turn brown. Browning is often caused by rough handling and by drying too rapidly in high heat. It needs to be processed quickly after harvest to prevent it from breaking down. Lay out leaves in a single layer on a drying rack with minimal overlap. Good airflow is very important. Begin drying at low temperatures with fans at 26 degrees celcius. We use the lower trays in our drying shed which have about 25 degrees on a hot summer’s day. After the leaves begin to loose their moisture, finish them at 37 degrees Celsius and pack them into paper bags when they are crunchy and crumble into small pieces when pressed.

Hose the roots after harvest taking care to do this in an area where you do not loose roots as they might regrow in that outdoor washing area. Soil often gets compacted in the central crown of comfrey where the roots begin to branch off. It is therefore helpful to quarter the roots before washing. The roots are relatively soft and can be chopped easily. Wash thoroughly before chopping in small slices for drying and processing. They dry in 3-4 days at 37 – 40 degrees Celsius. Mill the roots when they are thoroughly dry. Comfrey roots are full of mucilage and will get gummy if chipped when partly wet. We only mill what we need for the herbal preparation and store the roots in whole pieces in a paper bag in a dry storage area.

 

Herbal Preparation: External use mainly. Comfrey root and leaves are a common ingredient in salves, poultices, oils and ointments. We make a poultice with fresh leaves for sprains and internal tissue damage. A salve can also be used on wounds and open tissue.

Ingredients life plant material to plant into your garden

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