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Folklore Friday - Comfrey

Comfrey is one of those plants that seems to get everywhere in the summer. Its bell shaped flowers appear in a cluster and are often pink or purple, but may be yellow. Its leaves are hairy and packed full of nutrients. The roots of Comfrey can go down 10 feet (3 metres) into the soil and help to raise moisture and valuable minerals in the soil. It can also be used as a natural fertiliser. Just leave the leaves soaking in water for a few days then water your plans with the liquid. It does smell though!

Comfrey has been cultivated, as a healing herb since at least 400BC. The Greeks and Romans commonly used comfrey to stop heavy bleeding, treat bronchial problems and heal wounds and broken bones. People still today sometimes use it as a cough treatment. Poultices were made for external wounds and tea was consumed for internal ailments.

It goes by the alternate names of knitbone, or knitback as it was supposed to promote bone growth and repair broken bones. Comfrey contains allantoin which does indeed promote cell growth and healing, however it should also be used with caution as it also contains toxic alkaloids and could be carcinogenic if used over long periods.

Comfrey was seen as being a plant of good luck. Travellers would often pack a leaf or two of comfrey in their packs to ensure a good journey and protect against theft of their belongings. Wrapping your money in it would protect that further and was thought to bring good fortune.

Bees love it and it is good for other pollinators too. So perhaps it is good luck to have some in your garden.

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