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Comfrey fomentation — The Grow Network Community
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Comfrey fomentation

jodienancarrowjodienancarrow Mid North Coast AustraliaPosts: 818 admin

I've just completed my first course at the grownetwork academy, Making Herbal Medicine and feel excited about putting that to good use. Dr Patrick Jones (character that he is) spoke about comfrey and its healing, especially drawing abilities. I've had a troublesome knee for 3 months now. I've tried everything I know, physio, chiropractic, massage and exercise but still giving me strife. So I got to thinking how about a comfrey fomentation or even a poultice! So I sit here now writing this with a warm towel soaked in comfrey and valerian tea wrapped around my knee and I will report back and let you know how it goes. I intend to do it 3 x daily. If anyone has any advice, I would surely appreciate it.


  • sallyhowardsallyhoward AustraliaPosts: 106 ✭✭✭

    I hope it helps you and I look forward to reading about your good results :)

  • merlin44merlin44 Posts: 425 ✭✭✭✭
    edited September 2019

    A nice cup of camomile or catnip tea for yourself to enjoy while allowing the comfrey to take care of your knee. Looking forward to hearing the results.

  • anita.toler73anita.toler73 Posts: 25 ✭✭✭

    I have used comfrey poultices with castor oil. I can't remember why the castor oil but it worked really good on my sprained wrist. I wrap it overnight. I've also mixed the castor oil/comfrey mix with arnica flowers for pain if you can stand the little pricklies on it. Good luck!

  • jodienancarrowjodienancarrow Mid North Coast AustraliaPosts: 818 admin

    Knee update. The comfrey seems to be working! I don't understand the reason why it could help heal a torn tendon/ meniscus but the sharp pain that I had most days is disappearing and only experienced it a couple times this week. So this is what I did. Boiled water and then added a handful dried comfrey leaves to the pot for 30 mins or so, strained, kept the vegetable matter. Dipped a towel in the warm liquid, squeezed out excess, then put damp veg matter onto towel and folded to keep there. Wrapped around my knee and then wrapped another dry towel over that. Went to bed and it stayed there until I took it off during the night, so sometimes 3hrs or more! I'm loving the result. I've just planted more comfrey.

  • VickiPVickiP Posts: 586 ✭✭✭✭

    When my husband was a young man he fell off a ladder and sprained his ankle and knee. He suffered with pain for several years. After we got married he had a bout of it, they would swell up and he couldn't walk, had to keep the leg elevated. I went out to the garden and dug up some comfrey root and made a poultice. We applied it frequently the first day, just to keep it warm, and he enjoyed considerable relief. The next day it took less and by the third day he was up and about an only used it in the evening. It was several years before he any more problems with it. So in my experience it seemed to actually heal the injury. I believe he only had recurring issues because he was in construction and continued to stress his joints. But anytime he developed pain or swelling in any joint that was our go to remedy and it always worked.

  • merlin44merlin44 Posts: 425 ✭✭✭✭

    @jodienancarrow the magic of herbs. Comfrey holds rosmarinic acid, tannins, allantoin compounds and more, absorbed externally, they reduce inflammation and promote new cell growth. It's magic, effective and as close as your garden.

  • pamelamackenziepamelamackenzie Posts: 143 ✭✭✭

    Thanks for this post. I think "Making Herbal Medicine" is next on my list for my grow academy courses. This may help my friend whose elbow aches sometimes due to her breaking her arm multiple times as a child.

  • Melissa SwartzMelissa Swartz Posts: 268 ✭✭✭

    I have seen amazing results from comfrey. I agree with merlin44 , it's magic! Just be sure that you don't use it too soon on a deep wound. It can heal the surface too fast, and keep it from draining properly, leading to an abscess in the part below that is sealed off.

    I've done a lot of martial arts, and get a lot of bumps and bruises during classes. I've tried a lot of remedies, but nothing has worked better than a simple salve made of comfrey and plantain. I think I'll add Arnica and St. John's Wort to the next batch and compare them.

  • LeediafastjeLeediafastje WA State, Olympic Mtns, Zone 8Posts: 68 ✭✭✭

    I use comfrey in my Wound Healing Lotion (thank you Doc. Jones). However, because it is absorbed through the skin and I've heard it can cause liver issues, I don't use it more than 10 days at a time. Has anyone else heard of comfrey vs. liver issues?

  • merlin44merlin44 Posts: 425 ✭✭✭✭

    @Leediafastje The liver toxicity alarms came about when pyrrolizidine alkaloids were isolated and given in extremely high doses to animals in lab tests. Comfrey has been used for thousands of years, never have I seen any caution of its use in any old texts as I have, say with pokeberry. With any questions concerning the safety of herbs, I study modern and historical writings to establish a knowledge base. I rely on that and my intuition when making use of a herb. Personally, I do not hesitate to use comfrey when it's called for. The old ones used observation (among other ways) of determining which plants were healing. Modern techniques seem to isolate individual compounds ignoring the synergy of those same compounds. Nature always provides balance when there is no interference.

  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 3,864 admin
    edited September 2019

    @jodienancarrow I started using a comfrey-horsetail salve on my torn meniscus but didn't see results. Maybe I didn't apply it often enough?

    I tore mine when I was 19. After giving it a rest, I found that it would heal. Years later, it had a tendency to heal more slowly. I finally went to a sports injury clinic to diagnose it when it got so bad one time, walking was next to impossible and climbing up one step was nearly impossible. By the time they had me have a consultation with the surgeon, it was 2 yrs. later, at which time, it had mostly healed again. I had been there to determine if surgery was an option, which I won't do due to risks involved. I have two torn meniscus & a cyst at one knee. I believe this cyst is a factor in re-injuring one knee.

    I tried many things to heal it, but rest always seemed best.

    I will try my salve again with more applications, then consider comfrey poultices. I have to buy my comfrey, so it could get pricey.

    Why the valerian? Is it important in the healing process of the meniscus?

    Anyway, thank you, @jodienancarrow ! Maybe I can have a permanent solution.

  • herbantherapyherbantherapy Posts: 454 ✭✭✭✭

    So much goodness in this thread! I grew a huge comfrey plant this year, I’m always gathering more ideas of what to do with it!

  • jodienancarrowjodienancarrow Mid North Coast AustraliaPosts: 818 admin

    G'day Laurie, traditionally Valerian is taken as a calmative/sleep help etc, as I'm sure you're aware. Recently I read that it also helps with joint pain and healing muscle strain, so I threw some in as I had some and thought it might help. I've not added it everytime, relying on the comfrey. Just to let you know i haven't done it 3x daily,(found that challenging) maybe once daily for a week and then 3x weekly but for 3+hrs when I go to bed and it always starts off pretty hot. Hope you find that it helps you too.

  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 3,864 admin

    @jodienancarrow Thank you! This new information about valerian makes me wonder if this might be good for a rib problem that I have because of ? & one that my daughter obtained when a judoka landed on her front in a competition.

    I went to an acupuncture-acupressure TCM guy. It helped some, but he moved and it has returned. I am considering going to a chiropractor and applying a salve on the muscle areas after, because they would need support in a complete care situation. I think that I will need to get some valerian and see how it might help that too.

    I have been wanting to use my comfrey salve on my carpal tunnel too, but keep putting it off...

  • jodienancarrowjodienancarrow Mid North Coast AustraliaPosts: 818 admin

    Laurie, maybe the salve is not as powerful as a fomentation/poultice, I'm not sure but dealing with a chiropractor or acupuncture person is the way to go I believe, a more integrated approach without pharmaceuticals, good luck.

  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 3,864 admin

    @jodienancarrow I thought of that. I also have been wondering if comfrey and valerian can be effectively tinctured. I know that some herbs can be extracted by both oil & vodka, then mixed together to make a more powerful topical lotion.

    I wonder who would know more about that on TGN?

  • jodienancarrowjodienancarrow Mid North Coast AustraliaPosts: 818 admin

    That sounds like a great idea, why not give it a crack. Maybe I will. Doc Jones will know! Thankyou Laurie.

  • EarlKellyEarlKelly Penn state master gardener Northeastern Pennsylvania zone 5bPosts: 230 ✭✭✭

    Just got some comfrey started this year and was following you to see what I could make with it. My two plants were doing nicely in my herb garden. I managed to trim off some of the leaves that were not so nice looking and feed to my chickens. The other night the deer came in and mowed them all down. Wasn’t aware that they needed help too. Going to have to make some cages now if I want get any for me. Keep up the good work. Getting lots of info here. Thanks

  • seeker.nancy - Central Texasseeker.nancy - Central Texas Posts: 803 ✭✭✭✭

    The comfrey should bounce back, it's fairly resilient.

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