Curly Dock (Yellow Dock) Medicinal Food Plant

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Curly Dock, which has yellow roots is often called Yellow Dock. The “weed” most farmer’s do their level best to rid from out of their fields.  There are myriad medicinal uses & nutrition. I make crackers (recipe below) from the brown seeds (found after the flowers have turned).

It is a high protein survival food. As you walk in the open, if you need a nutritional boost, take a handful of the seeds, green or brown & enjoy..chew well to help absorb the nutrition available before swallowing.

Medicinal uses derived from Peterson Field Guide Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants page 214.  The dried root tea (as a decoction, boil & then simmer for 30 mins.) is a “blood purifier,” for bad blood. Works on chronic (been there a while, not sudden) skin diseases, chronic enlarged lymph glands, liver ailments, sore throats. May cause or relieve diarrhea, depending on dose. Too much will cause diarrhea, but the right amount will correct diarrhea. This is if you take large doses. You will be the judge by taking small amounts until bowels soften, then back away the dose to a level dose. Anthraquinones can arrest growth of ringworm & other fungi.

Edible Wild Plants – A North American Field Guide, page 121, harvest the leaves in early spring or thru late winter. Strip seeds from stalks in late summer & fall. Leaves cooked taste like beet greens. Cook older leaves longer with 1 or 2 water changes to make them tender & no bitterness. Do not overdue if you are not used to eating dock leaves, can cause stomach upset. Work up gradually.

There are no poisonous look alikes.

The roots have minerals such as  iron, contains tannin. Used to treat coughs, fever, scurvy, tumors & cancer. The crushed root is used as a poultice for wounds & skin irritations.

Collect the root after it has gone to seed (seeds turn brown & dry), in midsummer & use as a decoction or tincture. Usual dose of the tincture, 5-3 drops twice a day. The looser the stool the smaller should be the dose. Matthew Wood in his book The Earthwise Herbal -Guide to Old World Medicinal Plants recommends 1-3 drops, 3x/day sufficient for bowels loose or constipated. Do not use water dock in place of curly dock.

***The one caution…if you have a history of kidney stones, be watchful to not use large dose, very minute if necessary to use for above complications.

Below I will list the medicinal uses for the root made in an alcohol tincture unless noted otherwise.

Yellow around the eyes, nose or mouth, dry cheeks

irritable sleep especially in young girls at puberty

throat swollen, dark red, with little pain to no pain

Thrush

Diarrhea, especially in morning

slow digestion where food sits like a brick in the colon

hemorrhoids, with bleeding, itching

gallstones

retention of urine

Pregnancy:anemia (use with nettles)

Ringworm; 1 cup in pint of vinegar, boil down to half pint, cool, strain, apply with soft cloth (external)

More uses are listed in depth in the book by Matthew Wood*

Book list

Matthew Wood has several books, but I only have two, both Earthwise Herbals so for any other information, I cannot vouch for his information in other writings. His books thus far are a wonderful addition to ones herbal information & I can highly recommend them.

http://www.amazon.com/Matthew-Wood/e/B001JS4XDC/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1/191-3944190-3068862

This next book is a wonderful book to have if you live in TN or the Ohio Valley or the Southern Appalachians, as the pictures are clear & the explanations are thorough.

http://www.amazon.com/Wildflowers-Tennessee-Valley-Southern-Appalachians/dp/1551054280

https://www.google.com/search?sourceid=chrome&client=ubuntu&channel=cs&ie=UTF-8&q=Edible+Wild+Plants+A+North+American+Field+Guide

Dock Seed Crackers

• Blend the seeds in a blender, spice grinder, or if you have some time a mortar and pestle.

(Store extra dry dock seed flour in a jar, and whole seeds in a paper bag.)

Mix together :

 one cup of dock seed flour

one teaspoon of salt

and one cup flour of your choice. ( whole-wheat pastry flour and rye flour or any choice)

Mix in enough water to make pliable, but not sticky dough.

Optional, herbs like dill, or coriander & garlic to taste

  • On a well-floured surface, roll dough as thin as possible. Cut into desired shapes or transfer it whole to a well-oiled cookie sheet.
  • Bake for 10 -12 minutes at 375O or until crisp.
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Dutch Goose (Stuffed Pigs Stomach)

When we butchered our pig this past year, I had read a wonderful cookbook from the library called Pennsylvania Dutch Country Cooking by William Woys Weaver. The one I was fascinated by is the title for this blog. Stuffed Pigs Stomach. Since I knew we would soon butcher Bobby Que, I knew we were going to save his stomach to try this recipe. I did not know it was edible till I read the recipe. There is a time for everything under the sun. This was our time. In our years of learning to eat as much of the animal as we can, we have gotten braver as we go. One word of warning if you get a stomach either from a local farmer or your own critter, make sure to not put a big gaping hole in it. You will be sewing this thing back up & the less you have to do will cut down on the time to make the dish. So be present to give instructions. We had much of Bobbie Que’s carcass in this recipe. Which is a wonderful feeling to know we did not have to purchase much to accomplish it. So, here is this recipe in pictures & word. Page 142 & 143 of the above mentioned book: 1 cleaned pig’s stomach 1 1/2 cups diced bacon (this too was from same said pig!) 3 cups chopped onion 1 1/3 cups ground beef, pork or venison (we had Bobbie Que still in ground form for this recipe which included heart, liver & meat) 1 1/2 tsps grated pepper (coarse) 1/4 tsp cayenne 1 TBSP ground basil (used in place of marjoram) 1/2 tsp ground cardamom ( ground this fresh for an amazing flavor you can’t get any other way) 1 tsp sage & thyme (used in place of savory) 2 tsp salt (I use the pink sea salt) 1/2 cup bread crumbs (rye or spelt bread- I used wheat) 3 large eggs (from my own chickens) 6 cups diced cooked red potatoes clarified butter Soak the pig’s stomach 2 to 5 hours in salted water, then rinse and drain. Put the bacon in a large skillet & fry til browned. Remove from pan. Add onion to the fat in the skillet & cook till soft. Remove & cook the ground meat in the same pan with drippings till the meat changes color. Add the bacon, ground meat, pepper, cayenne, basil, cardamom, sage, thyme, salt & breadcrumbs .Mix well. Beat the eggs until lemon color, then add to the meat mix. Stir the potatoes into meat mix & mix well. Turn the stomach inside out & sew the holes with needle & quilting thread. It needs to be strong but not large string or it will make bigger holes. You need this to hold the ingredients & not let them seep out during the three hour boiling in water process. Turn the stomach right side out & fill with the meat mixture packing it in tightly but leave a small space inside for the expanding it will do during cooking. Fill a large stock pot with 2 gallons or so of water with salt added & bring to a full boil. Reduce heat & add stomach with all the filling inside & sewn closed tight. Simmer, uncovered for 3 hours. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Remove the stomach from the water & set in a baking dish, seam side down. (this was not happening with our stomach~it was too wobbly & only laid on its side) Bake for 20 to 25 minutes basting with the clarified butter (to make clarified butter, melt butter & only use the liquid on top, leaving the solids on the bottom.) till the stomach is a golden brown color. Serve immediately on a platter & enjoy. Serves 10~ well, I will let you know how far it does go! we are only four mouths to feed. We had homemade egg noodle pasta that my daughter made with this dish. Same cookbook as above. Made with spelt flour. Oh boy…this meal was one of those amazing treats!. There is a thin layer inside the stomach that is edible & tastes like a hot dog! The outer layer is too tough, but the dogs loved it! The pasta was surprisingly good. Being spelt flour, I figured it would be too much like wheat pasta, which this family does not like. It was a keeper. Will be doing it again. We made the ball of dough & grated it on a cheese grater. Easier than rolling out & cutting like pasta shapes.

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Let’s Make Vinegar

Waste Not~ I first made apple cider vinegar about 18 years ago when I read you could do so in my Little House On The Prairie Cookbook. http://www.christianbook.com/the-little-house-cookbook/barbarawalker/9780064460903/pd/60908 

I make apple cider vinegar when I have lots of apple cores & peelings, which is what this particular recipe calls for you to do.  I needed to deal with a couple bushels of apples that were being ignored & were getting mealy. Here is the result of lots of apples~


We made applesauce, apple juice, fruit leather, dried apple rings & vinegar. The process for the vinegar will take much longer than the other mentioned products, but was begun at the same time as the other’s were being made. The main goal here is, do not waste any of the fruit. Which I show you here as we literally used every bit of the apple. Nothing was wasted. 
All of these projects were done mostly in one day, but for the completion of the vinegar. We started about the one o’clock hour. Wrapping & storing were done on the second day.
First up we (my daughter & I) made dried apple rings. Core the apple, then slice thin and place on cookie sheet or trays that can be dried at temperatures of 150 degrees, and no higher or you end up with cooked apples. I used my wood cook stove with the oven door open and on top of the warming shelf and in my solar  hanging food dryer made by The PANtrie for the perfect temperature to dry.  Of course this is done in the fall or winter when apples are naturally ripe & temps outside allow for the stove to be lit also warming the house. An electric dryer works too for those who do not have the wood stove option. You can use an electric or gas oven during the day time with the same 150 degree temperature. Over night in the electric dehydrator too.This process took all day & into the next morning & will depend on how thick you cut your apple rings.

  

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Next, we made apple juice. I have a champion juicer. http://www.championjuicer.com/ which is a heavy duty brand so not easy to move around. But, it has lasted these 16 years with no break downs & has so many uses. The juicer takes the juice then sends the excess out through the end and is what I made the fruit leather from. This is what I meant by waste not.

To make the fruit leather, simply spread the apple paste onto wax or parchment paper lined cookie sheets & place in a warm place to dry. This was done the same day as the apple rings on the wood stove warming shelf & in the oven with door open. Part way through the drying, slice the paste to make it easy to pull off & wrap. It took overnight for this to dry. If you make it too thick, it will take longer. Next day, when all is dry, use plastic wrap to roll up the leather for storage. Then enjoy the healthy, sweet, treat.
Next came the apple sauce. I took the core & peel off the apple(save all this).  Ran it through the juicer without the attachments so it would come out masticated and into my pan for heating, juice & all. I place my clean jars into the open oven of my cook stove to sterilize & heat my jars readying them for the hot applesauce. Place heated through applesauce into jar, seal & place upside down on a counter, covering with a towel to prevent breakage from cool draft. Then in the morning, store away in a cool, dark closet.
Finally~ Take the apple peels, seeds & cores & place in a crock or a jar that can be kept dark. Using the recipe from The Little House On the Prairie Cookbook, add boiled rain or spring water with honey dissolved in the water. Pour over the cores & peels & leave undisturbed for one month. When the bubbling has stopped, leave for at least another month or longer to obtain the right acidity for the apple cider vinegar. Bottle & use however you like ACV. 

So~Just What is Arrowroot

Status

Many have asked me what is Arrowroot? I say “it’s a plant in the ocean!” To their amazement & confusion they ask what? & where?…so here is an incomplete narrative on Arrowroot. I’ve just discovered some more interesting bits of information I would like to add for your education. If you try any of these with success do come back and post about it for others to see.

You can take arrowroot and put the powder on your gums to relieve pain, teething, etc. It can be ingested for digestion and diarrhea. UTI’s. Here is where you can read all about the how to:

https://draxe.com/arrowroot/

 

 

For your information I sent to some of you the ingredients for a fabulous deodorant made in your home using 1/2 cup arrowroot, 1/2 cup baking soda & enough coconut oil to make the consistency you like for applying this mixture to your armpits~ about 5 tablespoons. No one who has tried this in our group of friends & family, including men with very stinky B.O. love it & it works..no staining, no shirt residue nada anything negative. The point here….IT WORKS FOR EVERYONE! It’s inexpensive & well it has arrowroot in it!…

found at PassionateHomeMaking.com

At the Frontier Natural Products page on arrowroot this is what you will see on it:

Product Notes: Our product contains 100% pure starch obtained from the roots of the arrowroot plant. It does not contain gluten and is considered a “safe food” by Celiac research and support groups. It is also referred to as arrowroot flour in many recipes.
Quality Notes: Tapioca and other starches are sometimes mislabled as arrowroot. We microscopically check the structure of the starch cells of our arrowroot to insure it has not been adulterated with other starches.
Origin: St. Vincent Island
Processing Notes: Arrowroot starch is made by washing the harvested roots, grinding them into a pulp, and mixing the pulp with water. The resulting mixture is strained (to remove the fibrous material), allowed to settle, and air dried. It is then ground into a fine powder.

At wikipedia it tells why its grown in St. Vincent which is fascinating information if you need to know more, which is my love..so if this is just too boring to you..I get it..but if not, read more about it & the next time someone asks you where arrowroot is derived…well…you’ll know!…

There is also a plant grown in tropical Florida that is referred to as Arrowroot but also known as Indian Bread Root Contie or Indian bread root, Wild sago or Florida Arrowroot a.k.a. Cree or Prairie Potato-

Psoralea esculenta
Indian Breadroot

Tiny blue flowers highlight this midwestern prairie plant. The tuber was an important food plant for Plains indians.

The Indian Turnip of Tennessee, Ohio Valley & the Southern Appalachians is a.k.a Jack-in-the-Pulpit and is similar to the Indian Breadroot. other common names are Bog Onion, Brown Dragon, Indian Cherries, Indian Cradle, Marsh Turnip & Pepper Turnip.

Here’s a bit of interesting information on the land arrowroot~found at this site: manataka.org

Fry Bread’s Secret Ingredient!

Timpsula: Prairie Turnip Psoralea esculenta – also known as the prairie wild turnip, Indian breadroot, and several other names. This is one of the ingredients used in our fry bread mix. The Prairie Turnip was probably the most important wild food gathered by Indians who lived on the prairies. In 1805 a Lewis and Clark expedition observed Plains Indians collecting, peeling, and frying prairie turnips.

the month of June is called tinpsila itkahca wi, meaning the moon when breadroot is ripe.

Here in Texas there are several plants related to the Prairie Turnip. Pediomelum hypogaeum, the edible Scurf-pea, is the only species that has been mentioned as “an important food source for American Indians.” It has been found throughout East Texas and into the cross-timbers and prairies west and south of Dallas. The scientific Genius name Pediomelum gets its meaning from the Greek: Pedion, meaning plain, and melo, meaning apple. The staple food of our Native Americans the “plains apple” is still around and still providing a treat for the adventurous. Our Prairie Turnip looks somewhat like an undernourished blue bonnet and can be easily overlooked.  Its root however is a different story. What our “plains apple” lacks in blossom it makes up for in root. Take a good plant key with you, someone who can pump out a stomach, or a Lakota Sioux and  “Bon-Appetite.”   chuckle chuckle….

AND JUST WHEN YOU THINK YOU ARE NOT SURE>>>>>>

here is some more confusing information about what is Arrowroot~

Arrowroot, or obedience plant (Maranta arundinacea), Bermuda arrowroot, araru, ararao, is a large perennial herb found in rainforest habitats. It is cultivated for a starch obtained from the rhizomes (rootstock), which is also called arrowroot.

and to learn a bit more on its uses & how to make it from the root read this Arrowroot

I sit here nearly two month’s later reading a book on farming in Japan. One man’s ideas of back to the old ways of farming to produce food, using natural “weeds” as food and mentions arrowroot (kudzu!)…so I had to do some homework to know more. Kudzu, the dreaded green cover in the south which strangles trees & anything in its path is known as Japanese Arrowroot one of the seven flowers of autumn.

>Comfrey a.k.a. Knitbone, Boneset, Symphytum Officinale ~"plaster cast"

>If you know your herbs, this is one you will not have ignored. God in His wisdom created for His Creation (us) this herb for those times we break something. He knew we would do it, so He provided rightly for such occasions. As so many of the herbs growing He planted them for us because we need them. Toward the end of this post I show pics of using the root for a “plaster” cast on a broken bone, so scroll down if you want to skip the details following. 


All the pictures in this post are of my comfrey, so you know I know it is the real thing. I make tinctures & tea for internal use from my own comfrey as well. The root used in the pictures in this post for external use are from my own plants.


Time & science has tried to develop something better. But sometimes we have to get back to the simple things in this life and that is where Comfrey comes into the picture.

Our experiences with comfrey have been many~

Our dog was run over and suffered a fractured hip. We shaved her & took the leaves of the comfrey, put hot water over them & while still warm applied them to her hip. She could not move so she did not try to get away from it. Within days she was on the mend. We were amazed, as was the vet. Our dog was almost 14 at the time so she impressed all who had seen her. 


I make comfrey leaf tincture using an alcohol base to draw out the healing properties as only alcohol can remove from any herb all of the healing properties. Alcohol tinctures are the only way to take the herb into the liver to utilize the benefits of the herb being taken. I keep a pump bottle of comfrey near my bed & if I get a sore throat, I will pump a few into my mouth and swish around which usually gives me some relief. Does not heal it, but gives the comfort sought. 

 How to know when you have comfrey and not the poisonous foxglove. Did I say foxglove is poisonous~YES….know your herbs. You can purchase comfrey, and for those near me, I always have a pot of comfrey for sale. I have $9.00 pots & $13.00 pots for sale. If you bring your own dirt & your own pot, I will take off a dollar. The one drawback is you cannot take from the root until the second year of your established plant. It can kill your plant & if you spend money & time, you won’t want to let that happen. However, you can take the leaves in the first year & use for tea or poultice, creams or salves. Which I also make from my comfrey. I sell them as well if you are needing some. Creams or salves are great for sores. I did not say wounds because there is one key when using comfrey. 
*****It heals so fast, that if you have not cleaned a wound thoroughly & you seal it with comfrey, you can seal in the bad stuff & get bad outcomes***
So caution is necessary & only you know if you have cleaned it well enough or not…


Uses: Leaves: Wounds 
Roots: Diarrhea, Intestines (problems) 
  
External: Boils, Bruises, Burns, Gout, Psoriasis, Sprains 
    Leaves: Abscesses, Boils, Bruises, Cuts, Fractures, Sprains, Swellings, Ulcers (gangrenous), Wounds 
  Internal: Alterative, Anemia, Arthritis, Asthma, Bleeding (internal), Bronchitis, Calcium deficiency, Colitis, Coughs, Diarrhea, Dysentery, Emphysema, Gall bladder (inflamed), Inflammations 
  Pets: Same uses as for humans, as well as in salves for balding, dry, itchy, , or other irritated patches 
Contains: Vit. A, Vit. B12, Vit. C, Vit. E, Beta-carotene, Calcium, Cobalt, Copper, Germanium, Iron, Magnesium, Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Potassium, Protein, Silica, Sulphur, Zinc, 18 Amino acids (including hysine), Allantoin (aids cell growth),Pyrrolizidine alkaloids ((harms liver!) Generally found in Symphytum uplandicum syn. S. uplanicum, but both (S. officinale and S. uplanicum) are used interchangeably in the United States) 
    Leaves: Allantoin, Vit. C 
    Roots: Mucilage, Allantoin (more than twice as much as the leaves!), Tannic acid (a little), Starch (a little) 

~So you noticed the above bold words saying it harms liver. The research is on long term use. My Chiropractor/Nutritionist gave this advice: Two weeks on & two weeks off. That means, if you are taking it for a condition that is serious, requiring long term use,  take a break in between. And, did you know that every pharmaceutical pain reliever also harms your liver! The myriad of “safe” drugs out there also harm your liver! So, I am not in the least bit worried about the comfrey causing harm to my liver or I would not take it. God created it for His creation & I will trust it before I will ever trust a pharmaceutical. My ten cents worth~ Here is another view on this subject:

There’s an ongoing debate as to whether or not comfrey can be safely consumed, even by animals. There is apparently some level of toxicity for the liver,(from the root) both in humans and in animals. Some studies suggest that a toxic dosage would only be reached after consuming huge quantities of the leaf or root. Comfrey is very widely used in Japan as an animal fodder, without any ill effects, evidently. And I have spoken to several homesteaders who regularly give small quantities of comfrey leaf to their chicken or duck flocks and even to pigs. Chickens absolutely relish the stuff. Since comfrey leaves are very high in protein, this isn’t surprising. I never observed any detrimental effect on the hens after feeding them comfrey leaves. 

To add to the above….think on this…an animal in the wild is going to come across comfrey at some point and I have never been warned to keep my critters far from the comfrey for fear they would die? Its just not news that’s out there. Now, I do know there are pharmaceutical companies who will financially suffer if too many of us begin using natural remedies instead of their many times harmful options. They do not benefit from anyone using what’s out in the wild to heal our bodies…so take their concerns & warnings with a grain of salt..or bigger like a grain of wheat…if the Indian’s of North America used it and will tell of its benefit, its good enough for me.


The flowers & leaves of the comfrey plant resemble the foxglove. Check the pictures here.

Comfrey and foxglove look similar until they blossom. Foxglove flowers are larger than those of the comfrey. Both are bell shaped, but the comfrey flowers hang on many small clusters and the foxglove’s flowers form one large cluster along a central cone-like spire. Both plants grow to around 4 feet tall. The leaves also are similar — large and hairy. The color is similar, but foxglove leaves are finely toothed along the edges, while the edges of comfrey leaves are smooth. Foxglove leaves spring from the root as a clump, while comfrey leaves branch from the stem. Foxglove is most often confused with comfrey in its first year of growth, when it most resembles that plant. Foxglove is always toxic but most dangerous when the seeds are nearly ripe. The upper leaves are more toxic than the lower ones.

Read more: Difference Between Comfrey & Foxglove

the two here are not the same sites….

I have comfrey I purchased from Old Williamsburg Village back a few years ago. So I know it is not any thing else. I have yet to find comfrey growing wild even though it says it grows in my area. 
The second year of growth is how you prove the plant to be foxglove or comfrey. SEE ABOVE~


Now, back to the many uses of comfrey~

Comfrey leaves can be cut and used as excellent green manures for other garden vegetables. The first leaves put out by comfrey plants each spring were traditionally used specifically with the planting of potatoes, to give the potato plants an early boost of nutrition and growth.

Here is the best part, a new discovery for me & one I just had to try to show just what it can do! ****I often wondered how comfrey healed a broken bone? I had gone to the library & stumbled across a book called Tips From the Old Gardeners, compiled by Duncan Crosbie. In there he tells of using the moistened root pulp to set like plaster applied to a broken ankle or leg or arm etc…I would not do a full body cast with it, but in my experiment, I discovered it really does set like plaster. 

It took at least an hour to dry, and once it was dry, it was firm, not allowing me to move easily. I would, if needed, shave the hairs off the area first, otherwise it pulls and hurts. I would not put this “cast” on an open break, but anytime I would apply it to a broken area that I could “handle” myself. Meaning that no obvious misplaced bone, one easily recognizable break that just needs a cast, not one needing to be set. Like the time I broke my toe & it was sticking straight out to the side & would not go back in by itself. I needed the pain relief prior to the setting. The second time I broke the same toe, years later, I just had to wrap it…the comfrey would have been an added blessing of healing it quicker. 


I discovered if I had to do it for real, I would grind longer to get a finer grind, less bulk. which is what I did for my leg~but it looks sparse here. I just had not ground enough of the root to cover as I would have if this were really a broken bone. So be prepared to have a lot of root dug. I believe you must have fresh root. Which is why you would not go searching in the wild. Instead have it growing in your garden for when its needed in an emergency. Knowing where it is for winter time would also be the added benefit. You know where to dig to look for it. The leaves are gone during winter so unless you know where you have it planted, you won’t find it during the winter month’s.

Comfrey root has this mucilaginous feel to it once the root is mashed. I would not use a blender, maybe a food processor to grind. I used a mortar & pestle. It would be difficult to get out of the blender. I added a very tiny amount of water & it seems to give a more spreadable effect, but not necessary. Too much water & it takes longer to dry. 
Symphytum Officinale is the name of comfrey in the homeopathic form. If I had a broken bone, I would be taking it as well. We take the homeopathic form when we have injured a bone anyway & it takes away the pain. Arnica is the other remedy we would take for the pain & bruising that accompanies a break or injury to the bone, like a mild sprain.

There are so many other uses for comfrey, if you want more, just comment to me & I will post more. Using it in the garden for fertilizer & 
I found some great information at another web site on comfrey infusion http://nourishingherbalinfusions.com/Comfrey.html

Some people feel comfrey is not safe to use internally at all. I disagree. The roots of comfrey do contain compounds that are best avoided during pregnancy. (As do all parts of the wild plant.)
In fact, I rarely use comfrey root because of the possibility of liver congestion, and I strongly caution those who have had hepatitis, chemotherapy, or alcohol problems to strictly avoid comfrey root. Yet even these people can benefit from use of comfrey leaf infusions. I harvest the flowering stalks when they are fully formed; and I am careful to use the cultivated garden comfrey, which grows very tall and has purplish, pinkish, bluish flowers. I avoid wild comfrey which stays rather small, even when flowering, and has cream-colored, white, or yellowish flowers.
Following are some of the warnings & issues on comfrey…encouraging you to not fear the use of comfrey…
Contraindications: Leaf hairs may irritate the skin. 
INTERNAL: Precautions must be made in taking this herb internally as there have been cases of pyrrolizidine alkaloid poisoning; however it might not be Symphytum officinale that is the real cause, but Symphytum uplandicum (S. uplanicum)(Russian comfrey). In the United States, both are sold in stores as the same thing so you don’t know for sure which one you’re getting. Studies have also been done and now the young leaves of Symphytum officinale have been found to contain this alkaloid, however there is also some discussion that S. officinale may contain a substance that cancels out the liver damaging and possibly carcinogenic effects of the alkaloid. Either way, please take care if you take this herb internally and don’t take it for more than four months at a time. It is generally suggested that Comfrey (either species) is for EXTERNAL use only. Large doses taken internally for extended (three or more months) may cause HVOD (hepatic veno-occlusive disease (narrowing of blood vessels in the liver thus reducing liver’s effectiveness)) and/or liver cancer. It should be noted that Comfrey has never been identified as the cause of any case of liver cancer in humans and only two cases of HVOD have been blamed on Comfrey, despite all the Comfrey that is consumed every day and has been many years. However, it is again best to err on the side of caution. Comfrey/Pepsin tablets, however, carry a much greater risk of causing liver cancer! 

EXTERNAL: No known contraindications and is considered to be fairly safe, though due to the speed at which Comfrey heals and closes wounds, care must be taken to keep the wound clean and free from infection while Comfrey does its work. Because of this, Comfrey is not generally recommended for deep or puncture wounds. 


I dry my leaves in the summer for winter’s use in my hot car. Its quick! I use the fresh leaves & root for my salves & tinctures & poultice. But the dried herb is for tea, whether for me or the garden. If you take the fresh leaves, put in a bucket, add water & let it rot. Put this “tea” on your garden to feed it.