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About the Comfrey Plant

About the Comfrey Plant

About the Comfrey Plant. Comfrey has been cultivated as a healing herb for thousands of years. The herb is native to Asia and Europe, but early English immigrants brought it to North America for medicinal purposes.

Comfrey has been cultivated as a healing herb for thousands of years. The herb is native to Asia and Europe, but early English immigrants brought it to North America for medicinal purposes.
Identification
Common comfrey or Symphytum officinale grows to be approximately 5 feet tall. It has narrow lance-shaped leaves and usually produces bell-shaped yellow flowers that bloom from May to September, but some European variations also produce purple, red or white blossoms. Comfrey has a deep root system with thick dark-colored roots.
Cultivation
Comfrey is a frost-resistant plant that prefers cool weather and full sunlight. It grows well in moist loamy or light sandy soil. Comfrey propagates through transplants, root cuttings and crown divisions. The plant has few serious insect or disease problems in the United States, but comfrey rust fungus damages comfrey plants in the United Kingdom.
Benefits and Warning
Comfrey contains chemicals that speed up wound healing. It has astringent, antifungal and antibacterial properties. Comfrey also contains a wide variety of healthy chemicals and nutrients. Unfortunately, the herb also contains an alkaloid called pyrrolizidine that causes liver damage and cancer. The FDA banned the sale of products containing the herb in 2001.

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