How to Use Comfrey to Help Heal Broken Bones

Comfrey poultice on broken ankle
Comfrey poultice on broken ankle | Source

Traditionally comfrey was referred to as knit-bone and was used as a poultice—and as a food—to encourage healing of broken bones and wounds. As part of our self-sufficient lifestyle living off the grid, I grow organic comfrey and a range of other medicinal herbs.

As soon as my husband returned from hospital after surgery on his broken ankle, I began including fresh comfrey in his meals.

I waited until the surgical staples were removed from his wounds before applying a comfrey poultice directly to his broken bones, but I didn't wait for long. Here's how I included comfrey in his recovery process.

Making My Fresh Comfrey Poultice

I use a cold-press juicer to crush fresh comfrey leaves when preparing a comfrey poultice.
I use a cold-press juicer to crush fresh comfrey leaves when preparing a comfrey poultice. | Source

Two days after the staples were removed from my husband's broken ankle, I applied the first comfrey poultice.

Because I grow my own organic comfrey, I knew there was no danger of chemical fertilizer or pesticides on the plant.

It was a little disappointing that it was winter and most of my comfrey plants had died back, at the time my husband had the accident that resulted in broken bones, but I had enough plants in sheltered positions (including a couple in large pots) to create the first poultice. Now that it's springtime and my comfrey is more prolific, I am making more.

I pick the leaves, wash them in fresh rainwater (I live off the grid and carefully collect clean rainwater for drinking) and use the leaves immediately.

Comfrey is available in processed form from a variety of outlets. Many people use bottled products, but I always harvest from my own plants and use medicinal herbs fresh.

I use a cold-press juicer to crush fresh comfrey leaves when preparing a comfrey poultice.

The beauty of this type of juicer is that it separates the comfrey juice from the pulp. They can be collected in separate containers if you prefer.

Comfrey Ready to Apply

Juice and pulp.
Juice and pulp. | Source

First I rub some juice into his leg, then I mix the comfrey pulp with the remaining juice and 'plaster' it on thickly. Note the plastic kitchen wrap beneath his ankle ... and the towel beneath that. A comfrey poultice can be messy.

Sit and Relax

I wrap his ankle in kitchen wrap to keep the comfrey in place and collect the drips. This is a good time to read a book, write a letter or play computer games. If you grow comfrey as I do, you can use lots in each poultice.
I wrap his ankle in kitchen wrap to keep the comfrey in place and collect the drips. This is a good time to read a book, write a letter or play computer games. If you grow comfrey as I do, you can use lots in each poultice. | Source

Healing Broken Bones

This is just one in a series of articles I've written about my husband's broken ankle. If you've followed his story you'll know that I effectively reduced his swelling using a natural product, allowing surgeons to operate within 24 hours of the accident.

You'll also be aware he has been eating specific foods to help strengthen broken bones.

You've probably seen the photos after surgery, and the x-rays showing the plates and screws used to hold his broken bones together.

Here are the photos most relevant to his use of comfrey after his surgical staples were removed.

Please note the dramatic difference between his leg looking like 'a piece of meat' when the staples were taken out, and the second photo showing the smaller scar on his ankle, immediately after the comfrey poultice.

We were particularly impressed by the healthy pink area where the staple marks are barely visible. Unfortunately it was winter and I didn't have enough comfrey on hand to wrap it thickly around his entire ankle. I wonder how good the results might have been if I had.

When I only had a limited amount of fresh leaf, I chose to include comfrey in his meals, with only a small amount left to make into a poultice.

With the changing season and more comfrey leaves growing, I now plaster the comfrey on thickly.


Doctor removing the surgical staples from my husband's leg before I applied a comfrey poultice. Look at the smaller ankle scar before you look at the 'after' photo.
Doctor removing the surgical staples from my husband's leg before I applied a comfrey poultice. Look at the smaller ankle scar before you look at the 'after' photo. | Source


This photo was taken two days after the surgical staples were removed. Comfrey poultice was applied to the ankle and left for about six hours before washing it off. Look at the difference between 'before' and 'after' photos.
This photo was taken two days after the surgical staples were removed. Comfrey poultice was applied to the ankle and left for about six hours before washing it off. Look at the difference between 'before' and 'after' photos. | Source

How Does A Comfrey Poultice Feel?

My husband says the comfrey is very soothing.

After a week of spending all day every day on his feet, working and walking, he came home early today because his ankle was aching and he simply had to stop. It is only four and a half months since his accident and surgery—and he had been warned it could take a year or more before he would be back to normal.

Within an hour of me applying the fresh comfrey poultice, he said the ache was gone. He left it on for most of the day. Today I also put some underneath his foot, instead of just on his lower leg and ankle where the plates and screws were inserted, in case it might help.

Of course he finds it impossible to remain seated for too long, and insisted in short walks around the house. He said walking with the poultice on felt like treading in porridge. LOL!

What's Your Approach When Healing Broken Bones?

Are you a person who just follows the lead of your doctor, or do you seek out complementary therapies?

  • I take the prescription drugs and do what the doctor says. No more, no less.
  • I actively research and explore my options, including natural therapies.
  • I'm the type to feel sorry for myself and do very little to speed my recovery.
See results without voting
Comfrey plant
Comfrey plant | Source

Comfrey has many uses in my home. I keep at least a little growing in a pot in case of winter emergencies (like my husband's broken ankle), and lots growing in the garden to use as a mulch and plant food during the vegetable growing seasons.

Ways to Use Comfrey to Aid Your Recovery

  • As a poultice, applied over your broken bone.
  • Fresh leaf used in stir-frys.
  • Juiced for a drink. Add some lemon juice, a little water and a teaspoon of honey to make it more tasty.

Isn't Comfrey Toxic or Poisonous When Eaten?

Some governments have banned the use of comfrey tablets and capsules for medicinal use, yet have no objection to comfrey being used as a food.

If you study the debate, you will learn that an adult human would need to eat over 19,000 comfrey leaves to ingest an amount of comfrey comparable to the quantity given to baby rats in an experiment that resulted in liver damage.

It saddens me when government authorities ignore hundreds of years of traditional healing and fail to adequately question 'research' before deeming a natural remedy unsuitable for widespread use.

Because we are never likely to eat 19,000 comfrey leaves in our lifetimes, let alone in a short period of time, we happily eat comfrey as a food. It is one of the main foods we use for strengthening broken bones.

I don't like buying tablets and capsules, and always prefer to grow my own organic produce.

Fortunately comfrey is surprisingly easy to grow. :)

Disassembled Juicer

Here are the parts of my juicer after cleaning. They look the same as the juicer sold by Amazon. Here in Australia, however, my juicer is labelled Oscar VitalMax900.
Here are the parts of my juicer after cleaning. They look the same as the juicer sold by Amazon. Here in Australia, however, my juicer is labelled Oscar VitalMax900. | Source
Omega J8006 Nutrition Center Juicer - Black and Chrome
Omega J8006 Nutrition Center Juicer - Black and Chrome

In response to a reader's question, here is a juicer very similar to mine. I find it particularly useful for separating juice from pulp, without losing the pulp. In addition to creating poultices, I use mine to extract juice for fruit and vegetable juices - then include the pulp in a quiche or a pie or anything else I'm baking that would benefit from the extra taste and nutrition.


Does Comfrey Really Help to Heal Bones?

Despite breaking multiple bones in his ankle and requiring the surgical addition of plates and screws, my husband was walking unaided just three months after his accident.

We had been told by his doctors it would likely be a year or more before his ankle was properly healed.

Did comfrey help heal his broken bones? Yes, we believe it did.

Nature provides many remedies too valuable to ignore. Comfrey is one of them.

© 2013 LongTimeMother

More by this Author


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

This is so interesting. Before your hub, I had never even heard of comfrey! The hub inspired me to look it up and read a little more about it. Your husband's foot is looking much better these days. (Owwww.)

LongTimeMother profile image

LongTimeMother 3 years ago from Australia Author

Comfrey is just one of the many remedies in nature's medicine chest that I greatly value, FlourishAnyway. Every day we have people telling us how they can't believe my husband is back to 'normal' life so soon (including his doctors) and I think that has a lot to do with working with nature.

I have to give credit to the brilliant surgeons and the plates and screws they put in his leg, but I doubt he'd have progressed so far, so fast if we'd not taken advantage of nature's gifts.

Remember comfrey if ever you need it! :)

Jodah profile image

Jodah 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

We have a whole garden patch devoted to comfrey. It dies back during the dry weather, but as soon as there is decent rainfall it comes back. Mostly we use it added to the compost to break it down more quickly, either in leaf form or made into a tea. The poultry also like it so we let them have a share. Luckily we haven't had to deal with any broken bones...touch wood...but would definitely use it to aid recovery if need be. Haven't used the leaves for food yet, although a friend said it was often used as mock fish or fish substitute battered etc. Great, informative hub, look forward to reading more. Voted up ++

LongTimeMother profile image

LongTimeMother 3 years ago from Australia Author

Hi Jodah. Comfrey is brilliant. We grow lots of it for all the reasons you mentioned and more, although personally I don't batter anything.

Even during drought ours stays alive, probably because it has been in the ground for years and the roots have managed to reach far enough down to tap into underground water. (You don't have to drill very far to sink a well here.) Frost is the only thing that makes ours die back.

Thanks for the visit and the vote. :)

aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

You've done so well for yourself living off the grid. Sounds like you are getting to be a qualified herbalist!

LongTimeMother profile image

LongTimeMother 2 years ago from Australia Author

lol. I've been tapping into nature's medicine chest for a long time now, aviannovice. There are foods and herbs to help every ailment I've encountered so far. :)

Thundermama profile image

Thundermama 2 years ago from Canada

What an interesting hub. I now have a new appreciation for the power of this incredible plant and plan on growing some of my own. Very well written and informative.

LongTimeMother profile image

LongTimeMother 2 years ago from Australia Author

Good idea, Thundermama. You never know when you'll need it. Help it get established and it will serve you well for many years. :)

Heather 2 years ago

From what I understand, the studies used an alkaloid from the comfrey plant and not the whole plant as nature intended. They did the same with lobelia. If you took an alkaloid from a strawberry and tested it, it would probably also be toxic...

kathy B 2 years ago

I wish I had known about this 4 weeks ago when I broke my baby toe. I suffered in pain for weeks!

dpenn 2 years ago

hi i have a lot of comfrey in my garden and was wondering how are u using it as a food?.. thanks doreen

LongTimeMother profile image

LongTimeMother 2 years ago from Australia Author

Hello Heather. lol. Potato, tomato, chilli and eggplant are all related to the deadly nightshade. I'm sure studies could be done to make them look toxic too. :)

LongTimeMother profile image

LongTimeMother 2 years ago from Australia Author

Oh, kathy B. It's all in the timing, they say. A broken toe can be extremely difficult to tolerate. I can't help you this time, but who knows what the future holds ... maybe someone else in your life might benefit if they break a bone.

May I suggest you also take a look at this link. The gel would have been very helpful to you. I keep the gel in my fridge at all times in case I need it. I have also written another hub about how I used it on my husband's broken ankle to great effect. There should be a link on the hub I'm sending you to.

Be careful of that toe! :)

LongTimeMother profile image

LongTimeMother 2 years ago from Australia Author

Hello, doreen. It is great to see comments from guest readers. I am very pleased you have found me here at hubpages. If you click on 'longtimemother' at the top of the page, you'll be taken to a list of my hubs including some about my organic gardens. Comfrey is one of my favourite plants. If you are growing it, I guess you are already using it as food for your plants. :)

Here is a link that leads directly to my hub about foods that help heal broken bones. I wrote about how I add comfrey to our meals there.

I hope it helps. :)

Elizabeth Handler 2 years ago

I have never used comfrey for a broken bone-I've only broken one in my life. I have used it, however, for mastitis. I nursed my five children. When I had a plugged duct, sore breast, etc, I would put a fresh leaf on the affected part, and put an old bra (comfrey stains) over.

In the evening, when is took my bra off, the leaf would be dried out, thinned and wrinkled. I would peel it off and put on a new leaf. Within two days, the infection and soreness would be totally gone.

LongTimeMother profile image

LongTimeMother 2 years ago from Australia Author

Hello, Elizabeth. What a brilliant solution to mastitis! I never thought of comfrey all those years ago when I needed it. I used cold cabbage leaves, straight from the fridge ... but with the benefit of hindsight I would definitely have tried comfrey leaves. For starters, they are less bulky and easier to fit in a bra. lol.

Thanks so much for your comment. :)

Kukata Kali profile image

Kukata Kali 2 years ago


rls8994 profile image

rls8994 2 years ago from Mississippi

Wow, this comfrey is an amazing gift from nature. I had never heard of it until now. I love learning about different plants and herbs that have many benefits for our health. I have actually wrote hubs on a couple of these herbs. Thanks for sharing this info! Great post! :)

LongTimeMother profile image

LongTimeMother 2 years ago from Australia Author

Thank you Kukata Kali and rls8994. Comfrey is certainly worth having in a garden - not just for broken bones. :)

Sandra Castellino 2 years ago

I've been using comfrey for decades. I make my own salve using olive oil and beeswax -been doing so since 1973.

Do you know where the information is about what the studies were actually about - the 19,000 leaves for the alkaloid to do damage.?

I've been using it internally for 4 decades including during pregnancy with only outstanding results. And I need to be able to present the evidence to relatives who will read about it being toxic to the liver.

anna 2 years ago

simply amazing all i can say

Gina 2 years ago

What kind of juicer is that?

christina 2 years ago

Would it work with healing a hietel hernia?

Sherry 2 years ago

I used a fomentation of dried comfrey and enough water to moisten when I sliced of a thick chunk of flesh from the tip of my index finger while using a kitchen mandolin. I cleaned the wound with diluted lavender EO, packed the wound with the comfrey, wrapped it with gauze and sealed it with plastics wrap. Within a few days, it looked like the comfrey completely replaced my missing flesh. With daily repeats, I could see the skin and flesh growing back and within two weeks it was completely healed with absolutely no scar! Comfrey is Amazing!

andrea 2 years ago

Does dried comfrey work as well for healing, or on fresh comfrey leaves?

Sherry 2 years ago

I'm not sure. I've read great things about both. I just don't have access to to fresh, so dried was the next best thing and it worked for me.

Owen 2 years ago

back in the 60s the local hippies brought one Comfrey plant to my farm knowing its benefits , and within 5 years had spread 200 yards in all directions now 50 years latter has spread 2-3 miles .This is the only plant that easily takes over twich grass (quack grass) and turns low grade soil into high grade loam in a few years that Ive seen.In Canada it grows twice a summer 5 feet high,and the smallest piece of stem or root will start another infestation.So be informed! this fantastic plant has a root system only a backhoe can dig out, and takes a backseat to no other plant only extream freeze up and will return with a few warm days.

LongTimeMother profile image

LongTimeMother 2 years ago from Australia Author

Hello, Owen. I have never seen comfrey spread like that, but I don't chop the earth up where mine grows. I know it is easy to grow new plants from root pieces ... and I never plant it close to waterways because I've heard the roots will head for the water.

Do you harvest the leaves and sell them to local farmers? Comfrey is a great feed for animals.

LongTimeMother profile image

LongTimeMother 2 years ago from Australia Author

Sorry, I have just noticed comments that remain unanswered. I will work through them now ...

Sandra, I do have that information and will look for it when I get a chance. I am about to go on a trip, however, and won't get time until I get back. Hope you can wait a little longer. :)

Anna, thank you.

Gina, I will edit this hub to provide you with information about the juicer. :)

Christina, I don't know the answer to your question.

Sherry, thanks for answering Andrea's question. I have never used dried comfrey in a poultice because I grow plenty of comfrey in my garden. From reading Sherry's comment, however, it sounds like it is worth trying.

If I was in a position where I was using dried comfrey, I would probably immerse it in a very small amount of hot water and leave it to steep and soften. Then when it had cooled, I'd apply it.

The key to success would be making sure there wasn't too much water in the mix. 2 years ago

I could not get the swelling down in my knee after knee replacement for months. I will try this when I have my other knee replaced!

Kelley Eidem profile image

Kelley Eidem 2 years ago from Panama City, FL

This is truly an awesome hub. I hope everyone votes it up as awesome. Love it.

LongTimeMother profile image

LongTimeMother 2 years ago from Australia Author

catsclan, good luck with your next knee. Maybe try some of the mobicosa I refer to on another hub as well. There's an interesting video on that hub I encourage you to watch. :)

Thank you KE. Just sharing news about what works in our home, in the hope that it will help others. :)

PandaCat 2 years ago

My mother had always used comfrey on us kids (six daughters who rode horses- there were plenty of broken bones etc. for her to mend). I was so shocked to learn the gov't does not consider it safe for use. Of government studies really have proved little beyond that studies are not good for rats...

Thank you for posting this information- great to be able to find it easily.

LongTimeMother profile image

LongTimeMother 2 years ago from Australia Author

Hello PandaCat. I admire your mother's ability to cope with a stream of broken bones. I have plenty of comfrey, but I'm not sure I'd have the stomach for watching my children repeatedly fall from horses. lol. She was one amazing woman if she let you all continue riding. :)

Thanks for your comment.

Susan 2 years ago

Long TimeMother, do you think comfrey would help my grinding bones in my neck? How would you go about fixing it? Please let me know! Thank you. I never heard of comfrey before, but I think it grows wild in Britain.

LongTimeMother profile image

LongTimeMother 2 years ago from Australia Author

Hello, Susan. I am not a doctor, and if you are concerned about your neck I suggest you go to your doctor for a diagnosis. However if it turns out to be arthritis, you might be interested in the natural therapy I used to fix my arthritis. Here's a link to the hub.

Good luck fixing the problem. :)

Herman 2 years ago

Some years ago, I fell on my ribs and possibly broke one or two of them. My partner had comfrey in the garden and made a poultice for me. I kept it on for the day and night. I was amazed at how soothing the poultice was! This stuff was clearly doing something for me. It just took the edge off and I swear I could feel it working on me. Definitely a believer, Thank You Mother Earth!

Sharon 2 years ago

Where do you find the gel? Is this just for broken bones? I have bersidis (not spelled correct) and also a knee injury that causes much pain. Would this help?

Thank you,

LongTimeMother profile image

LongTimeMother 2 years ago from Australia Author

Herman, I agree with you. Nature's medicine chest holds many magnificent remedies.

LongTimeMother profile image

LongTimeMother 2 years ago from Australia Author

Sharon, I'm not a doctor. If I had bursitis, however, I'd be looking for a natural remedy that reduces inflammation because doctors often prescribe anti-inflammatories. Yes, comfrey may help. If you cannot get comfrey gel locally, try the amazon link I provided in the article.

There's also another natural product useful for pain relief and reducing swelling (plus arthritis, if that's contributing to your bursitis). I wrote about it here.

Both products should help with the pain. Good luck. :)

samihipendo profile image

samihipendo 2 years ago from Samoah

Hm, this is the first time I`ve heard of Comfrey being used to help heal broken bones! Thank you for sharing this information!

LongTimeMother profile image

LongTimeMother 2 years ago from Australia Author

Hello samihipendo. Comfrey is great to have available if you ever need it. :)

LongTimeMother profile image

LongTimeMother 2 years ago from Australia Author

Hello Virt Clin. I am not comfortable displaying links to sites I am not familiar with so I have not approved your comment for display. However I do thank you for visiting. :)

samihipendo profile image

samihipendo 2 years ago from Samoah

To be honest, I didn`t even know how Comfrey looks like until I saw your hub and did some more research on google :)

The power of nature is truly amazing!

Cindy Watford 2 years ago

I am a paraplegic and I have a wound on my heel that won't heal although there isn't any infection and the cells looks great, I can't get it to heal over. I have dried comfrey and need to know how to make a poultice.

LongTimeMother profile image

LongTimeMother 2 years ago from Australia Author

Hello Cindy. Here's a few suggestions to help with the wound on your heel. You can use your dried comfrey in a couple of ways.

You could make a footbath. Start by making a 'tea' by pouring boiling water over two or three teaspoons of comfrey then, when it has had time to infuse (the leaves will soften and the water changes colour), add enough cold water to make it safe for immersing your heel. I'm thinking it is best to tilt a container so you don't need too much. But if you were using a bucket and putting your whole foot in it, you'd probably need to use more leaf. I suggest you strain the tea as you make the footbath. (If you do make tea for a footbath, you might like to try drinking a bit while you are soaking your foot. Add a little honey or lemon juice, depending on your personal taste.)

If you strain the tea for a footbath, don't throw the leaves away too quickly. You might find you get a second tea from them - particularly if you add some more dried leaves to the brew.

If you choose to make a poultice, you are aiming to make a 'paste'. You can do this with hot water, but then you have to decide whether to apply it directly to the wound (which might not be a good idea if you have bits of leaf that can get caught in the wound) or to spread it within fabric that will hold the leaf but allow the 'juice' to pass through. You would cover the poultice with plastic wrap (we have a product called Glad Wrap in Australia, used to cover food. You'll see a photo of it on my husband's ankle.) You can use a hot water bottle to keep the poultice warm ... but I don't know how advisable that is for a paraplegic. I'm guessing that might be difficult when you can't feel the effects ... so I'd be inclined to think the footbath (not too hot) is your best option.

Another brilliant herb for healing wounds is aloe vera. (Aloe Vera Barbadensis is the best healing variety.) If you can get hold of some aloe vera, just peel the skin off a leaf and mash the clear flesh up with a fork and then spread it over your wound. You can leave it sitting there for ages while it works its magic. :)

I hope this is helpful for you, Cindy. Just let me know if you have any more questions.

shar 21 months ago

Hello, I have used comfrey for the past few years but in tincture form. We harvest our own this year for the first time. But recently my son broke his hand and we only had the tincture, so he has been taking it internally. We also have the mobicosa. Can you suggest an amount of time it takes to heal the bones? And any other suggestions.

LongTimeMother profile image

LongTimeMother 21 months ago from Australia Author

Hello shar. I am pleased you have both comfrey and mobicosa. They are both extremely helpful when recovering from broken bones. Do you have the mobicosa gel or the capsules?

If you have the gel, I suggest you apply it a few times a day (if there's no plaster in the way and you can get to your son's skin near the break) for a month or more ... and after that, just whenever he feels he needs it. My husband used the gel at various times for months. The gel will be absorbed into the area around the break, without having any real effect on any other parts of his body. I actually think that's a good thing when your only problem is a broken bone.

If you have the capsules, don't overdo it. If your son is young and healthy, there is no real advantage to continuing the capsules past the initial stage of pain relief, anti-inflammatory and rebuilding cartilage if it has been damaged. Try giving him just one in the morning and one in the night (with food) ... and then just one a day once his pain is replaced by boredom. In other words, the pain doesn't remain unbearable so there's no point in continuing taking things for pain. (Of course if your son also suffers from arthritis, it would be worth continuing - but if not, I'd suggest he stop taking the capsules as he starts to feel better.)

When it comes to how long it will take to heal his broken bones, I really don't know. Even if I knew which bones he'd broken, I am not qualified to say. That's the kind of question you should ask your doctor ... and then be pleasantly surprised when he heals much faster. :)

The doctors warned us it would probably take a year or more before my husband was 'back to normal' but it was only about three or four months before he was close to 'normal' again - and able to walk okay.

He had frequent visits to the specialists, did all the exercises suggested by the physio, and had lots of xrays etc documenting his improvements. It is important not to just 'assume' improvement. It would be dreadful to make an injury worse by being impatient.

You asked if I have any other suggestions. My suggestions are these ...

Encourage your son to do whatever exercises are suggested to him by your doctor or physiotherapist - and do them a lot. Different exercises apply to different stages (eg weight-bearing vs those before you can put pressure on the broken bones.) Also google for appropriate exercises - but make sure you know what stage your son is at in his recovery so you don't make anything worse.

The other key thing that I believe helped with my husband's quick recovery was the food he ate. If you go back up to my article and look for the section titled 'Healing broken bones' there is a link to an article I wrote about foods for broken bones. Just click on the words 'foods for broken bones'. In that other article I shared my research about appropriate foods to include in his meals.

I do hope this is helpful for you and your son. Good luck for a speedy recovery!

MattU 20 months ago

Hi there,

I am studying Herbalism and Forest Gardening, and I was wondering how your garden is laid out.

Im curious to to see what kind of arrangement you have designed for your plants to grow. What are all of the different plants you are growing (everything from tree to ground cover)?

Does your comfrey grow near a fruiting tree or shrub, such as Pear? - Not only will the comfrey help heal us, but it helps the garden to be rich in nutrients, by accumulating Ca, K, P, Fe, Mg, and Si with its long tap roots. And as you know, comfrey mulch provides Potassium and Nitrogen to the soil.

(The comfrey and pear prefer a similar fungal-bacteria balance in the soil. The pear shades the comfrey, inhibiting its aggressiveness. The comfrey dynamically accumulates many nutrients from the DEEP soil and feeds them to the topsoil, aiding the pear. The two plants share pollinators but flower at different times, so they support each other's pollination needs. Deep-rooted comfrey partitions the soil resources with shallow-rooted pear. )

Have you heard about Forest Gardening? It is basically designing the garden to mimic a forest in order to achieve the benefits of low fragility, high resilience, diversity, functional interconnection, recycling and conservation of nutrients in the soil, insect balance, low maintenance requirements, minimal to no waste pollution; however every plant is specifically chosen by design, to have multiple beneficial uses, either edible, medicinal, or symbiotic.

[7 layers (canopy, understory, vine, shrub, herb, ground cover and rhizome) combine to create a naturally balanced system, where you may have hundreds of different plants thriving in the space where there are normally 10 or less.]

LongTimeMother profile image

LongTimeMother 20 months ago from Australia Author

Hello Matt. You make me laugh. I'd need a lot more spare time than I actually have to list all the plants in my garden.

It sounds like you expect me to be growing just one comfrey plant, but that's not how my garden is designed. I have large amounts of comfrey growing in four distinctly different parts of my garden ... to have on-hand for easy use as mulch and animal feed.

When you start learning about permaculture, you'll get an idea of what my garden's like. Good luck with your studies.

MattU 20 months ago

Sorry my question may have been too overly ambitious. I do expect you to be growing more than just one comfrey plant.

I am curious to see what kinds of other plants are doing well and growing near the groups of comfrey. (within 15 ft radius)

(I didn't mean to offend, I'm just really interested in the design and layout of gardens that are thriving. It is my goal to learn from people with experience, which you have.)

LongTimeMother profile image

LongTimeMother 19 months ago from Australia Author

Hello MattU. I have written a few hubs about my gardens etc. I can't remember ever writing about what exactly grows near my comfrey plants, but I'm sure you'll pick up some tips about how I keep my garden thriving if you read them.

I suggest you keep an eye out for a retired person with lots of time on their hands who could help you learn more about gardening. There's bound to be people with lovely gardens in your region. If you offer to help them when they're weeding, you'll have lots of time to chat. :)

Sheldon Johnson 19 months ago

Hello, I'm new to this hub, my mother been a long time user of comfrey as she use to drink it as a child growing up in the south.

She witness first hand a slew of health benefits treating various illnesses with comfrey.

I recently know someone very dear to me who suffering from muscle wasting as a result of pharmaceuticals they was taking.

My question is would you think that the comfrey root or leaf might be helpful in repairing their damage muscle tissues?

LongTimeMother profile image

LongTimeMother 19 months ago from Australia Author

Hello Sheldon. It sounds like your friend has major issues. I honestly don't know whether or not it would help with muscle wasting. Maybe you should ask yourself if you think your mother would suggest it. It sounds like she had more experience with comfrey than I've had.

Best wishes to you and your friend.

AnamChara 19 months ago

Thank you so much for your wonderful posts. I recently broke my ankle - both tibia and fibula - and had surgery to insert plate and screws. Sutures come out in a few days and I'm eager to use comfrey to speed the healing. Your photos are very helpful especially re: poultices. It's encouraging to know that your husband healed quickly.

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LongTimeMother 19 months ago from Australia Author

Good luck with your healing, AnamChara. We also made sure he ate the right kind of foods to aid healing as well. I hope you're back on your feet soon. :)

Lady Mina Miakoda 18 months ago

AWWWW..... I t is so good to read from someone that knows what they have. Miraculous Comfrey, yes it is. My dad was a known orthopedic surgeon and was also a strong believer in the medicinal powers mother earth provides us with. He used a fresh poultice of Comfrey and Corydalis on broken bones with miraculous results. My story that follows is by no means any medical advise of any kind, but only the personal experience of a self employed single mom desperate to get back to work to support her family.

In 1998 I fell and broke both of my wrist, right thumb and had a torn ligament on my right hand. As a single mom and a therapist, my main goal in life was to take pain away from others. This was my only income at that time and I could not collect disability due to being self employed. I explained to the doctor I was seeing at the time, that he couldn't cast both my hands, but he said it was necessary or I would have permanent damage. He also wanted to do surgery on my right hand and said my recovery time could be approx. 6 to 8 months. This was a HUGE dilemma for me, being that I would be completely disabled, even to go to the bathroom, if you know what I mean...both hands casted???

I couldn't argue with the doctor, so after he did a soft cast on both hands, I went home and told my 15 year old and good friend next door, to pull my cast cutting kit out and remove both casts of my wrist. I instructed my friend to cut Comfrey from the garden and got a few dry Corydalis roots I had. I asked her to follow my recipe and she wrapped both my wrist as I asked (Oh I added Arnica for the pain). I fell asleep with this and when I woke up in the morning, all the swelling was gone and the pain was cut by more than half. I did this daily for 3 weeks (canceling 1 of my doctors appointments) and my only side effect, was having a green tint on my skin (lol). Now, (3 weeks later) I have full movement on both of my hands. I do have to mention, that I had my son and friend, do instructed massage treatments on them as I went, and hot paraffin with specific Essential Oils. I went to the doctor, who wanted to remove my right cast and schedule me for surgery. He was so upset to find me with both cast removed and just an elastic bandage. He asked me why, and I confessed with pride, blaming it all on my dear old dads recipe. He immediately ordered the nurse to bring paperwork for me to sign, releasing him from any responsibility or that he had anything to do with this. Basically, that he was not responsible for any damage. I smiled and signed his papers. I then suggested, or asked, if he could please take an X-ray (I was curious) to see if there was any improvement, which was obvious, being that my hands were moving almost like before the accident. He said fine and was still upset. Needless to say, he was puzzled when viewing the films, and whispered to the nurse to bring out the old films to compare. WHAT???? have I just taught the good doctor something new???? LOL he was a little in disbelief and said that was a coincidence. Then he wrote my formula down and asked me how to grow or get Comfrey. I brought him a root on my next visit 3 weeks after that, were I now was back to my clients doing full treatments and using my hands doing medical massage and acupressure. YUP folks Comfrey works like a charm. I've used it in many of my clients with incredible results, but PLEASE always know that this does not mean you should not go to the doctor. That is always your number 1 priority. This is based on my personal experience and please do not take this as medical advise. Today, I continue to follow my dads and grandmothers secret ancient recipes of healing salves and such, and I add my own touch to them. Unfortunately I can no longer do treatments due to my disability, but I continue with the retail side of it, due to my old and new clients demands. Many blessings

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LongTimeMother 18 months ago from Australia Author

Thanks for taking the time to tell your story, Lady Mina Miakoda. It saddens me that doctors no longer tap into Nature's medicine chest the way your dad did.

I wonder if your doctor shared your dad's comfrey recipe with other patients .... or if he just kept it to use if ever his own family members broke a bone. That was very generous of you to give him some comfrey root. To think, he could have planted it and then given some to future patients to use. Not likely though. :(

Thanks again for sharing your experience!

Kim 17 months ago

Hi - wondering if the herb Boneset would also work to do the same thing and if so - which is better or faster between the two?

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LongTimeMother 17 months ago from Australia Author

Kim, I have no direct experience with Boneset, but my understanding is it is mainly used for fevers and flu. Native Americans called influenza 'break bone fever' because a very severe flu could make bones feel like they were breaking.

Based on my experience, comfrey does the job when it comes to healing broken bones. Make sure you have the bone set / realigned before using it though.

Colin Reid 15 months ago

I have a cyst in my left ankle fracture and have been wearing a splint for 7 weeks now and my x ray in 2 weeks time and was advised this could take 3 months to heal.. Do you think comfrey would help and shade of a few days of recovering?

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LongTimeMother 15 months ago from Australia Author

Hello Colin. I'm not sure if you're saying you have a cyst on your skin or 'in' your ankle fracture ... ie near the bone?

I'm not a doctor, as I'm sure you're aware, but I'll share my thoughts since you asked. Comfrey should help with your fracture, but I don't know what effect it would have on a cyst. If I had a problem with a cyst, I'd use the gel from a fresh aloe vera leaf, and also use colloidal silver.

I don't know what difference comfrey will make to your fracture in just two weeks, but in my experience it is certainly worth trying. Best wishes for a speedy recovery!

La'au 13 months ago

For a cyst use broadleaf plantain poltice. It's great for draining infections.

My experience with comfrey:

Went to doctor 3 times for the compound fracture of my fifth metacarpal. Each time they would only put on a splint which would press the fracture in the direction it was injured. "I can feel the bone shards separating", I would tell the nurse as she put on the splint. I tried to explain that we needed to press the bone in the opposite direction from the impact, perhaps with a tennis ball and a. roll of pennies as a splint between the 4th a and 5th metacarpals. They just dismissed and talked down to me like I was a crazy person.

Each visit I would rip off the splint as soon as I left the ER and re-do it my soothing way.

3 weeks in I ran into a friend who told me to ignore the doctors and listen to my body, using massage and "wild comfrey". I could only find a $10 tincture at Whole Foods. I put 3-5 drops on my tomgue 3 times that day and applied it topically, while massaging the 1.5" long 'bone shard' back flush with the rest of the bone. I tried being still and holding the bone together with my other hand, that evening, while breathing and thinking healing thoughts (meditating?) that evening at the beach. I drank a 22 ounce Supporo beer that evening to help relax. (I don't usually drink.) I woke up that morning with a huge orange coast guard helicopter hovering about 15 feet over my head. Open my eyes, waved, and they flew off

That was the first morning I did not have to press my pinky metacarpal bone shards back into place. Day #22 after the injury. Day #2 of using comfrey extact.

It's been healed ever since. And doctors who've seen subsequent xrays said I had "good bone regrowth". Perfectly set, nice uniform webbing, just a little thicker.

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LongTimeMother 13 months ago from Australia Author

That's the kind of friend we all need, La'au. Friends who share their knowledge and experience make the world a better place.

Sounds like you gave the helicopter crew a fright. lol. I'll bet they were happy to see you wave. :)

MARY 4 months ago

I have three plants I received the root years ago he sad you could make tea from it I know about the use in garden and polis if I made lemon mint tea could I drink or maybe in a warm shallow bath does it freeze will

Cher D. 4 months ago

I have comfrey powder, how would i make a poultice?

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LongTimeMother 4 months ago from Australia Author

Yes, Mary, the man who gave you the comfrey roots is correct. You can use comfrey leaves in tea, and you can use your comfrey in a bath.

If you want to freeze comfrey leaves, I suggest you juice them first. Mix the juice with the leaf fibre, and seal it in a plastic bag before freezing.

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LongTimeMother 4 months ago from Australia Author

As you can see from the photos, I use fresh comfrey leaves to make poultices. I'm not sure how much comfrey powder you have, Cher, so I don't know how successful you'll be. However, if you are trying to heal broken bones, it is worth trying.

I would mix some comfrey powder in a small bowl with hot water. Not to make the consistency of tea, but more like a paste. I'd wait until the comfrey paste cooled, then spread it over the broken bone area and cover it with plastic wrap. If you can't get the paste thick enough to stay on the appropriate part, try spreading the comfrey paste on a piece of gauze bandage first. Put the bandage in place, then wrap it with plastic. You should be able to re-heat and reuse the comfrey paste a few times if you only have a limited amount.

One more point about using comfrey powder to make a poultice. I would be a little concerned about putting any kind of powder on a fresh wound like my husband's leg straight after surgery. I wasn't bothered when using the fresh comfrey poultice because it was wet and juicy, but sometimes a 'powder' can feel kind of sharp and abrasive (particularly near fresh wounds). So please make sure you are confident your poultice won't aggravate the injury. If the skin is healed over, you should be okay.

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Lynda Makara 11 days ago from California

Can you tell me how long it took for your husband to be completely healed, pain free and with the same range of motion as before the accident?

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LongTimeMother 11 days ago from Australia Author

Within three months my husband was back on his feet without crutches. Pain was long gone by then. As for the same range of motion before he broke his ankle, I can safely say six months. That's when he was up walking on our sloped roof again. lol. In fact, he was helping a friend to replace their roof about that time. Couldn't believe he was able to walk on his ankle at such extreme angles for so long. lol.

But you have to remember, we used comfrey as I explained here. Plus I fed him lots of foods for broken bones (as I explained in another article). And we used lots of gel and capsules (available here) as well. (I wrote about it in my article about 'How to reduce swelling fast on a broken ankle'.) And he was writing the alphabet with his foot a few times every day as soon as he could. All those factors played a part in his recovery.

If you are prepared to make a real effort during the early months, the recovery process is surprisingly quick. We know a few local men who still have restricted movement years after their accidents. But, in chatting with them, they confessed their recovery periods relied heavily on beer and television. That kind of lifestyle choice won't do it. Good luck. :)

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Lynda Makara 10 days ago from California

My accident was one year ago and I've done everything I can to speed healing (good nutrition, supplements, lots of physical therapy). I did not know about comfrey until I read this a couple of days ago. I still have some pain in the tendons and have recovered about 95% of the range of motion. Even with that, I can do just about everything I did before but I won't be satisfied until I reach 100% recovery.

Your post was very interesting and right up my alley. I only wish I'd known about this a long time ago.

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LongTimeMother 8 days ago from Australia Author

If we lived closer, Lynda, I'd give you some of the gel to try. I can't stress how brilliant it is for ankles and other joints. Natural painkiller and anti-inflammatory. Probably a bit late for the comfrey to do much to help. I'm guessing your bone's well healed by now. However the gel might be useful if you get a chance to try it.

95% is very impressive, but I understand your desire to reach 100%. I'm wishing you every success. :)

Kim Goldberg 4 days ago

Thank you very much for this post about how to make a comfrey poultice for a broken ankle. I broke my ankle 13 days ago, and am going to have staples removed in 3 days. My foot will be put into an aircast at that time. I intend to use comfrey poultices at that time. One thing I would like to know is, does your husband plan to have the "hardware" removed at a later date? I too had 2 plates with screws put in during surgery to stabilize the fracture while it heals. I would rather not live with foreign metal objects in my body for the rest of my life, and hardware removal is often done automatically after fracture has healed. But other doctors remove hardware only if patient has a problem with the hardware. What is your husband planning to do? I believe hardware cannot be removed sooner than 1 year post-op or longer than 2 years.

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LongTimeMother 3 days ago from Australia Author

Good luck with your recovery, Kim. I suggest you follow some of the links on this page to other articles I've written, like the one about foods to help speed recovery of broken bones. Comfrey poultices were one important element of a whole package of things we did. :)

As for removing the hardware, my husband has had no problem with his so he has no interest in having it removed. He hates the idea of having unnecessary surgery and more time 'wasted' recovering from it. So I'm guessing it is there to stay. I hope you have similar success.

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