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Symphytum Officinale

For many centuries, Symphytum Officinale has been used externally in the form of poultices, compresses or creams for both superficial and deep wounds. Combine it with Calendula for its anti-infective action, and you will have an all purpose first-aid treatment for any injury. It also is excellent for longer-term problems like leg ulcers.

Common Name: Comfrey

A poultice or ointment can be made and used for bruises and sprains, gout, arthritis, bleeding piles, varicose veins, phlebitis, and ulcers, swellings and burns. A decoction of the root or infusion of the leaves makes a good eyewash for sore, inflamed eyes and a wash for skin problems such as psoriasis, eczema, acne and boils.

The leaves have healing properties and a particular affinity with the respiratory, digestive and urinary systems. Comfrey us used for sore throats and laryngitis, as a soothing expectorant for dry coughs, pleurisy and bronchitis. In the gut it soothes and heals gastritis, gastric and duodenal ulcers and can be used to reduce irritation causing diarrhea, dysentry and ulcerative colitis. In the urinary system it relaxes urinary spasm, soothes cystitis and clears irritation and infection.

Key Uses

  • Antidepressant
  • Antioxidant
  • Antiseptic
  • Antispasmodic
  • Astringent
  • Bitter Tonic
  • Circulatory Stimulant
  • Digestive
  • Diuretic
  • Expectorant
  • Relaxant

Comfrey is taken for gout and arthritis, as well as other painful or inflamed conditions such as tendinitis, sprains and fractures.

Culinary Comfrey

The leaves of Symphytum can be cooked and eaten, and are particularly useful to vegans, as they contain significant amount of B12, which otherwise is uncommon in foods not derived from animal sources.


Symphytum is a robust plant and will thrive almost anywhere, although it likes a degree of shade and damp. The roots are strong and deep, and tiny pieces are enough to start new plants. Once planted, it is there to stay. Collect the leaves at any time, and dig up the roots in spring or autumn, cutting them up before drying.