Symphytum

protection, healing & letting go
Divination, purification & faithfulness
Saturn, water & Aquarius

Comfrey is one of those amazing plants that humanity has been using for centuries to heal. Comfrey’s other names include knitbone, bruisewort, and boneset — a testament to the plant’s long use as a medicinal. It contains allantoin, which is a protein that stimulates cell reproduction and actually lessens the time for wounds to heal if used correctly. 

The plant has associations with Saturn and the element of water. It’s used for spells that involve faithfulness, protection, divination, letting go, or healing.

In the same family as borage, comfrey also likes a lot of water & full sun, but not excessive heat. It’s better to plant it in shade in hotter climates. It’s also a great cold hardy plant (to negative 40). Be careful though, this guy can reach up to 5ft & needs room to grow! 

Comfrey’s flowers range from blue to pink to purple or even yellow. 

The best time to harvest leaves for medicinal purposes is before blooming. Leaves are less potent when dry and get brittle. They also take a while to dry. They are better put to use in a salve to store after harvest. 

Cut back the plant after flowering & mulch with its own leaves. The leaves are a fantastic compost for other plants as well and help build the soil. Harvest leaves for use in the summer. 

In the fall and winter, harvest the roots, but not all of it of course! Comfrey will return each year if the roots are intact. And comfrey has infamously deep roots!

The seeds need a cold season to germinate properly and it can be difficult. It’s much easier to grow from leaf or root cuttings.

Comfrey can be burned with sage and mugwort for divination purposes. Or all three herbs can be used with salt to cast a protection circle around the home. 

Comfrey root can be boiled to make a sticky glue-like paste, which I suppose could be used for something. A charm made from comfrey root provides protection while traveling.

Cosmetically, comfrey helps to smooth skin and is handy in non medicinal salves and lotions as well. Infuse a salve with a spell for beauty. Or add comfrey to a bath, but prepare only with cold water, as heat will break down the healing parts of the plant. Leave overnight in ice water to prepare an infusion and then add to warmer water. 

Comfrey, with chickweed or calendula, makes a great topical skin salve for skin irritations, cuts, burns, and abrasions of all sorts. And herbal salves are simple to make, it's basically infusing the herb into oil and adding beeswax to the oil!

Here’s how to do it:

Infuse herbs into oil by putting approximately 2 cups of fresh, chopped herbs in a saucepan, then cover herbs completely with oil; sunflower, coconut, or olive oil all work equally well. My preference is for sunflower oil. Stovetop should be maintained around 100 degrees F for about 4-5 hours to allow plant compounds to bond to the oil. The longer it sits, the more potent it will be. I’ve let herbs infuse for up to 8 hours before.

Anything hotter than that 100 degree will cook the plants rather than release the oils, so be mindful. A candy thermometer helps immensely, but it can be done without. 

When finished, strain plant material out using cheesecloth. I tend to keep a small amount of the plant material in mine purely for aesthetic. Store extra oil in a cool dry place in an airtight container. 

 Using the same saucepan, heat beeswax and add to oil. For 1 ounce of oil, you’ll need around ⅛ ounce of beeswax. But start small and test the consistency until it is to your liking! 

You can test by letting a small amount cool in the fridge for a couple minutes. Add more wax if runny, add oil if too hard. 

This is also when you can add essential oils or other ingredients, like shea butter or vitamin E oil, if you so choose. 

Take off heat once consistency is agreeable. Pour salve into containers and let cool. 

 

In a pinch, mashed comfrey leaves work well for this as well (dress wound in cloth afterward). Fresh leaves can be gently bruised and applied directly to shallow skin abrasions. The leaves of comfrey are covered in stiff, almost needle-like hairs, so you’ll want to give them a good crumple to break them and get the plant’s healing juices to the surface. You won't want those prickly hairs on any sensitive wounds. 

Of course, always properly clean your wounds first. And never, ever use comfrey for deep wounds or puncture wounds as it can cause the surface to heal faster than the rest of the wound. This can cause an abscess!

A comfrey poultice is also calming to bruises and sprains.

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