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Comfrey ~ Potential To Knit Broken Bones ~ 30/03/08

Comfrey has been called knit-bone for its potential to knit broken bones. The allantoin in comfrey is renown for its ability to rejuvenate old cells, promote growth of new cells, and provide immunity from many infectious diseases.

It has been used by man for thousands of years and the healing benefits of this valuable plant have spread by word of mouth. The plant was used in folk medicine, successfully, for many ailments, including: tropical ulcers, irritable bowel, diarrhea, stomach ulcers, indigestion, gum diseases, lung conditions, cancer and arthritis.

The Henry Doubleday Research Association in England did extensive trials with comfrey over many years, which demonstrated its potential to improve soils, increase crop yields, and for its value as a high protein, nutrient rich food for humans and animals.

Analysis found comfrey leaves are a rich source of protein (22-36%), and contain vitamin B12.

Henry Doubleday, the great pioneer researcher of comfrey in England, documented over 30 years planting trials of comfrey, and was amazed at the plant s growth. As comfrey may yield 200 tons of leaf per acre, and is able to adapt to a wide range of climates and soils, he had the vision that comfrey could be utilised to relieve hunger in areas of famine, in the world.

In the last 30 years, I have heard some wonderful accounts of the health benefits of comfrey that people have shared with me when telephoning or visiting the Herb Farm. These accounts encompass a range of health benefits - from dealing with gout, diabetes, bowel conditions, lung complaints, cancer, and arthritis to tropical ulcers - the reports keep coming in.

Just yesterday, a man telephoned from north Queensland to say he d recently had a motorbike accident, broke his collarbone and had extensive wounds. Comfrey, used externally as a strong leaf decoction, gave quick healing with no scarring!

Numerous people have shared with me how they have experienced that comfrey leaf tea has given relief from irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulitis, peptic and duodenal ulcers. Researchers have found that the bacteria Helicobacter pylori, which can grow in the stomach, may lead to gastric ulcers and stomach cancer. The damage done by constant irritation by these bacteria can be relieved and (for some people) healed by comfrey, allowing the immune system to do the rest. It has been estimated that over 60% of stomach cancers are caused by Helicobacter pylori. Comfrey has also been found to be an effective treatment for Giardia lamblia, a microscopic parasite that causes diarrhea, stomach pain, nausea and loss of appetite.

Comfrey is eaten: fresh, chopped finely into salads, stir-fries, cooked dishes, and made into green drinks. Leaves dried, crushed and stored are a high protein food source to add to your storage of survival foods.

Comfrey fritters make an economical, nutritious, and quick meal. Make a batter with egg, milk and flour, and add finely-chopped, fresh comfrey leaves. (It is best to omit the thick stems, as these take longer to cook than the leaves.) Use dried comfrey leaves (crushed in the hands to a powder) when plants are dormant during winter. Season with a little salt, pepper, onions or garlic, chopped or diced fresh herbs. Fry tablespoonful amounts in an oiled frying pan and when golden brown on the bottom, turn over so that both sides brown. Serve fritters hot, and any leftovers eat cold, or pack for lunches. Whole leaves of comfrey can be dipped into the fritter batter and fried. Best to use leaves of a size that will fit into the frying pan. When dipping leaves, if the batter seems to coat the leaves too thickly, dip the leaves into cold water before dipping in batter.

And, if you can t eat, all of the comfrey in your garden, feed it to the laying hens, animals and earthworms, or use it for mulch and add to the compost heap.

Liquid Fertiliser: to make liquid fertiliser for the garden, put the leaves in a bucket, then fill with water, cover the bucket with a lid, and after a few days, when it starts to ferment, use the liquid around plants.

Isabell Shipard

Shipards Herb Farm News

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