"Knitbone" | Comfrey Poultice
One of the most under-appreciated weeds in the Western world!
Knitbone is an English name for the perennial plant, Comfrey, which is loved greatly by organic gardeners and herbalists! Comfrey is native to Eastern and Southeastern Europe, and is now commonly found across North America; I often find it in ditches, and unkempt backyards. This amazing weed is an effective organic fertilizer, and has been known to be effective for healing anything from burns to broken bones. "In Western Europe, comfrey has been used topically for treating inflammatory disorders such as arthritis, gout, and thrombophlebitis, and internally for treating diarrhea. Comfrey has been claimed to heal gastric ulcers and hemorrhoids, and to suppress bronchial congestion and inflammation." (Source)
I have been growing comfrey in my garden for a few years now, after my partner's mum sent me some leaves, and a chunk of her comfrey root from Ontario. Nate has a bad back, and when he further hurt himself, the muscle relaxants and pain killers just weren't cutting it and he was not satisfied with how slowly he was getting better. We were instructed to apply a poultice made of the leaves and stems of the plant to the area of injury, and keep it on for 4-6 hours. Desperate for some pain relief, we did as she said, and the next day Nate was able to move comfortably, and reported feeling about a 70% improvement in just one treatment.
Comfrey contains Allantoin, which is a cell-proliferant. Cell-proliferants encourage the cells of the body to grow again; "bone growth, skin repair, hair and nail growth are all affected beneficially by the Allantoin in Comfrey, as well as its abundant silica." (Source)
There are directions on how to make poultices all over the internet, and so I won't go too deep into how to make one, but I will briefly explain the steps I take when preparing them for myself, for quick reference:
- Put a few dried or fresh comfrey leaves/stems/root into the blender
- Bring a small amount of water to a boil, and steep the comfrey in the blender with a few tablespoons of hot water. Use enough hot water to allow the plant matter to blend up well into a thick paste. Using hot water allows the beneficial constituents to steep out, and become easier for the body to absorb through the skin.
- If you would like to add some moisturizer to the mix, throw in a scoop of coconut oil. As the blended comfrey goop begins to cool, the coconut oil will solidify and make your mix slightly less runny. This is entirely optional, though.
- In the photo above, I added a spoonful of dried ground comfrey for maximum benefit. This is also optional.
Once your poultice is prepared, you will need to secure it onto the area of injury, without it leaking onto your clothing/furniture/bedding. How I do this:
- Lay 2 layers of plastic wrap on the counter, and run tape all the way around the edge to create a sort of window-pane.
- Flip this over, so that the sticky side of the tape is facing up
- Lay down a few layers of 4x4" gauze onto the plastic, this is what will hold onto fluid and maintain the poultice
- Spoon the blended comfrey goop onto the gauze
- Position this preparation onto your area of injury and reinforce the tape all the way around so that it doesn't leak
- Leave on for 4-6 hours
*NOTE* this WILL stain so avoid getting it on any clothing!
I always save the leftover liquid and pour it on the roots of my house plants as it is an incredible fertilizer!
Also, save your used goop, wrap it up in a bit of cloth, and soak with it in the bathtub for additional skincare benefits!
Whenever I gift someone clippings from my comfrey plants if they are recovering from an injury- I always know if they have tried it as I get a call the next day reporting significant bouts of recovery.