This article has been marked as incomplete and in need of reformatting. Please help us to improve it.

Practical Plants is a community wiki. You can edit this page to improve the quality of the information it contains. To learn how, please read the editing guide.

Uses

Toxic parts

This plant contains small quantities of a toxic alkaloid which can have a cumulative effect upon the liver. Largest concentrations are found in the roots, leaves contain higher quantities of the alkaloid as they grow older and young leaves contain almost none. Most people would have to consume very large quantities of the plant in order to do any harm, though anyone with liver problems should obviously be more cautious. In general, the health-promoting properties of the plant probably far outweigh any possible disbenefits, especially if only the younger leaves are used.

Edible uses

Notes

Young leaves - cooked or raw[4][5][6][7][3][8]. The leaf is hairy and the texture is mucilaginous. It may be full of minerals but it is not pleasant eating for most tastes. It can be chopped up finely and added to salads, in this way the hairiness is not so obvious[183, K].

Leaves

Dried as a Tea

Stem

Blanched as an Eat

Roots

Peeled as a Soup
Roasted as a Coffee

Material uses

The plant grows very quickly, producing a lot of bulk. It is tolerant of being cut several times a year and can be used to provide 'instant compost' for crops such as potatoes. Simply layer the wilted leaves at the bottom of the potato trench or apply them as a mulch in no-dig gardens. A liquid feed can be obtained by soaking the leaves in a small amount of water for a week, excellent for potassium demanding crops such as tomatoes. The leaves are also a very valuable addition to the compost heap[1][9]. A gum obtained from the roots was at one time used in the treatment of wool before it was spun[10].

Unknown part

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

Comfrey is a commonly used herbal medicine with a long and proven history in the treatment of various complaints. The root and the leaves are used, the root being more active, and they can be taken internally or used externally as a poultice[5][11]. Comfrey is especially useful in the external treatment of cuts, bruises, sprains, sores, eczema, varicose veins, broken bones etc, internally it is used in the treatment of a wide range of pulmonary complaints, internal bleeding etc[4, 238, K]. The plant contains a substance called 'allantoin', a cell proliferant that speeds up the healing process[5][12][1][13][11][14]. This substance is now synthesized in the pharmaceutical industry and used in healing creams[14]. The root and leaves are anodyne, astringent (mild), demulcent, emollient, expectorant, haemostatic, refrigerant, vulnerary[5][12][1][13][11]. Some caution is advised, however, especially in the internal use of the herb. External applications and internally taken teas or tinctures of the leaves are considered to be completely safe, but internal applications of tablets or capsules are felt to have too many drawbacks for safe usage[14]. See also the notes above on toxicity. The leaves are harvested in early summer before the plant flowers, the roots are harvested in the autumn. Both are dried for later use[14]. A homeopathic remedy is made from the fresh root, harvested before the plant flowers[15]. This has a very limited range of application, but is of great benefit in the treatment of broken bones and eye injuries[15].

Ecology

Ecosystem niche/layer

Shrub

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.

Forage

Nothing listed.

Shelter

Nothing listed.

Propagation

Seed - sow spring or autumn in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. If you have sufficient seed you can try an outdoor sowing in situ in the spring. Division succeeds at almost any time of the year. Simply use a spade to chop off the top 7cm of root just below the soil level. The original root will regrow and you will have a number of root tops, each of which will make a new plant. These can either be potted up or planted out straight into their permanent positions.

Seed

Cultivation

Tolerates most soils and situations but prefers a moist soil and some shade[16][5]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Best grown in an open sunny site in a deep rich soil if it is being grown for compost material[9]. Plants can be invasive, often spreading freely by means of self-sown seed. The root system is very deep and difficult to eradicate, even small fragments of root left in the soil can produce new plants.

Crops

Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Symphytum officinale. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Symphytum officinale.

Descendants

Cultivars

Varieties

None listed.

Subspecies

None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Taxonomy
Binomial name
Symphytum officinale
Genus
Symphytum
Family
Boraginaceae
Imported References
Material uses & Functions
Botanic
Propagation
Cultivation
Environment
Cultivation
Uses
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Functions
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Environment
Hardiness Zone
5
Heat Zone
?
Water
moderate
Sun
full sun
Shade
light shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Ecosystems
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    Root Zone Tendancy
    Life
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    ?
    Herbaceous or Woody
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    Mature Size
    1.2 x 0.6
    Fertility
    ?
    Pollinators
    ?
    Flower Colour
    white
    Flower Type

    "image:Illustration Symphytum officinale0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Illustration Symphytum officinale0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Illustration Symphytum officinale0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

    "image:Illustration Symphytum officinale0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Illustration Symphytum officinale0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.


    "image:Illustration Symphytum officinale0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

    "image:Illustration Symphytum officinale0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

    "image:Illustration Symphytum officinale0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:Illustration Symphytum officinale0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:Illustration Symphytum officinale0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Illustration Symphytum officinale0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:Illustration Symphytum officinale0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:Illustration Symphytum officinale0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:Illustration Symphytum officinale0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

    "image:Illustration Symphytum officinale0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

    "image:Illustration Symphytum officinale0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:Illustration Symphytum officinale0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Illustration Symphytum officinale0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.




    References

    1. ? 1.01.11.21.31.41.51.6 Hills. L. Comfrey Report. Henry Doubleday Research Ass. ()
    2. ? 2.02.12.22.32.4 Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (32202/01/01)
    3. ? 3.03.13.2 Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (32202/01/01)
    4. ? 4.04.1 Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-20459-6 (32202/01/01)
    5. ? 5.05.15.25.35.45.55.6 Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (32202/01/01)
    6. ? 6.06.1 Mabey. R. Food for Free. Collins ISBN 0-00-219060-5 (32202/01/01)
    7. ? 7.07.1 Launert. E. Edible and Medicinal Plants. Hamlyn ISBN 0-600-37216-2 (32202/01/01)
    8. ? 8.08.1 Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable ISBN 0094579202 (32202/01/01)
    9. ? 9.09.19.29.3 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (32202/01/01)
    10. ? 10.010.1 Polunin. O. Flowers of Europe - A Field Guide. Oxford University Press ISBN 0192176218 (32202/01/01)
    11. ? 11.011.111.211.3 Foster. S. & Duke. J. A. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America. Houghton Mifflin Co. ISBN 0395467225 (32202/01/01)
    12. ? 12.012.112.2 Lust. J. The Herb Book. Bantam books ISBN 0-553-23827-2 (32202/01/01)
    13. ? 13.013.113.2 Mills. S. Y. The Dictionary of Modern Herbalism. ()
    14. ? 14.014.114.214.314.4 Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (32202/01/01)
    15. ? 15.015.115.2 Castro. M. The Complete Homeopathy Handbook. Macmillan. London. ISBN 0-333-55581-3 (32202/01/01)
    16. ? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (32202/01/01)
    17. ? Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press (32202/01/01)

    Cite error: <ref> tag with name "PFAFimport-244" defined in <references> is not used in prior text.


    "image:Illustration Symphytum officinale0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

    Facts about "Symphytum officinale"RDF feed
    Article is incompleteYes +
    Article requires citationsNo +
    Article requires cleanupYes +
    Belongs to familyBoraginaceae +
    Belongs to genusSymphytum +
    Has common nameComfrey +
    Has drought toleranceIntolerant +
    Has edible partLeaves +, Stem + and Roots +
    Has edible useTea +, Eat +, Soup + and Coffee substitute +
    Has flowers of colourwhite +
    Has flowers of typeHermaphrodite +
    Has growth rateVigorous +
    Has hardiness zone5 +
    Has imageIllustration Symphytum officinale0.jpg +
    Has lifecycle typePerennial +
    Has material partUnknown part +
    Has material useBiomass +, Compost + and Gum +
    Has mature height1.2 +
    Has mature width0.6 +
    Has medicinal partUnknown part +
    Has medicinal useAnodyne +, Astringent +, Demulcent +, Emollient +, Expectorant +, Haemostatic +, Homeopathy +, Refrigerant + and Vulnerary +
    Has primary imageIllustration Symphytum officinale0.jpg +
    Has root zoneDeep +
    Has search namesymphytum officinale + and x +
    Has seed requiring scarificationNo +
    Has seed requiring stratificationNo +
    Has shade toleranceLight shade +
    Has soil ph preferenceAcid +, Neutral + and Alkaline +
    Has soil teclayture preferenceClay +
    Has soil teheavy clayture preferenceHeavy clay +
    Has soil teloamyture preferenceLoamy +
    Has soil tesandyture preferenceSandy +
    Has sun preferenceFull sun +
    Has taxonomy nameSymphytum officinale +
    Has water requirementsmoderate +
    Inhabits ecosystem nicheShrub +
    Is grown fromSeeds + and Tuber +
    Is herbaceous or woodyHerbaceous +
    Is taxonomy typeSpecies +
    Tolerates air pollutionNo +
    Tolerates maritime exposureNo +
    Tolerates nutritionally poor soilNo +
    Tolerates windNo +