When it comes to potent herb remedies, comfrey (Symphytum officinale L.) is one of the best documented throughout history. Throughout the years it’s also been called “knitbone,” and “boneset” for it’s reputed medicinal properties. Farmers and housewives have been using comfrey for years to aid in curing burns, cuts, bruises, and even bone fractures. (Obviously, if you suspect you’ve broken a bone or suffered another serious injury, we suggest that your first trip not be to the comfrey patch, but to the Emergency Room.)

While it is somewhat toxic to humans if taken internally, it’s a miracle drug for goats. Farmer John has a patch growing just outside his house that he’s dug up and transplanted everywhere he’s lived. Whenever one of the goats is looking or acting a bit under the weather, John makes a trip to his comfrey plants.

Humans, however, can partake of it’s restorative superpowers by applying comfrey topically. The purported magical ingredient, allantoin, is readily absorbed through the skin and helps cells multiply and rejuvenate. One of the best methods for applying comfrey is via a poultice wrapped in a compress.

To make your comfrey compress, gather a half dozen large comfrey leaves from your garden.


Roughly cut them into 2-inch pieces (including stems.)


Place pieces in either food processor or blender, along with 1/2 cup of water. Purée/pulse on “high” until liquid.

Add a fistful of flour to the food processor or blender. (Or cornmeal, any binding agent will do.) Pulse again until comfrey/flour mixture binds slightly as a paste. (You may add more flour if still too liquid.)

Using rubber spatula, scrape paste onto clean dishtowel or cloth, folded in half lengthwise.


Fold edges over to slightly contain mixture, but leave enough exposed to come in direct contact with affected injured area.


Snugly wrap cloth around injured limb. Wrap second cloth (or ace bandage or twine) around and tie to secure.

Physician, heal thyself
Physician, heal thyself

Leave compress on affected area anywhere from four to six hours. Refresh with fresh comfrey as needed.

Does it work? We think it helps. But of course we’d leave ourselves open to injuries of a litigious nature if we didn’t advise you to consult your physician (and not just Dr. Brent) for serious injuries or if symptoms persist.

We’re pretty sure comfrey can’t cure a legal bill.

by Josh and Brent

Reader Comments

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Ruqayah Coburn

My daughter (11 years old) is eperimenting with herbs. I don’t know much about them. She made a comfrey poultice for me after I got a large scrape on my knee. It burns! But in the morning when I went to take it off, the leaves were all stuck to the wound. I spent a long time just cleaning them out. But in her herb book it says to apply several times a day. My question is, should the old leaves be completely removed each time?


It’s = it is. It’s hot.
Its = gender neutral possessive pronoun. As in its paw.

Just thought you’d like to know enough English to deserve credibility.

You’re welcome.
The Pedant Rose

Ray Murton, J.P.,

I’ve used comfrey for ages. One of my companion dogs had a broken leg with ends protruding through skin..I applied comfrey leaves to the site together with mashed up comfrey root (forms a sticky mess which, when it dries our sets like cement).. wrapped round with a gauze bandage (the mashed root set it all) Six weeks later leg was as good as new! I’ve also used it on myself for my shrapnel dermatitis on my leg…

peter chamberlain

Just had Bi lateral knee replacement surgery 3 weeks ago , we grow comfrey in our garden for mulch, to bring the bees in and for our chook , do you reckon a poultice wrapped around my knee would help with the swelling and pain?

Jerine Smith

Would you know if putting comprey poultice on a cancerous tumor to reduce inflammation is safe?

Linda Combs

I have been considering using a comfrey poultice for osteoporosis of my hip. Any suggestions or comments?

David Randall

Linda, I would look at nettle tea, fresh young nettles cooked in spring (or balanced and frozen for later) and getting supplementary magnesium into your diet (in forms other than magnesium oxide, which is cheap but very difficult to absorb). Epsom salt baths can raise mag levels too. Horsetail tea is effective for bone strength as well. Long-simmered bone broth is a great carrier of absorbable bone and joint nutrients, and has the added advantage of restoring the gut lining, so you’re processing your food more efficiently. Avoid PPIs, like Nexium, and also the phosphoric acid in colas.

bob green

i’ve found another use for comfrey. it serves as a weed barrier all around my garden. it’s easy to control when it invades the garden, when it gets big i just chop off pieces and use them as mulch, the bees love the flowers and i’ve always got loads of comfrey available during the growing season for healing use – like on the bad foot sprain i just got.


Do you consume the roots?
I used to consume the roots for various ailments and never had a problem. I gave roots to other people and treated goats and dogs with the roots. Now I see warnings not to consume comfrey.

Kat Buxton

My grandmother used comfrey both as poultice for her varicose vein sores but also, the root to treat stomach and duodenal ulcers in other people. It worked.


Thank you for posting this…herbal medicine does indeed work… and I am excited that you actually write about this natural remedy.

Victoria Silva