Comfrey, a native of Europe, is now naturalized in the U.S. Its taste is sweet, mucilaginous, and faintly astringent with no odor. The ROOT contains a large amount of mucilage which is readily extracted by water.
It would be difficult to name a more useful herb. Because of its great healing power, it was given the name of “knit-bone.”
It is a soothing demulcent and tonic to the mucous membrane, especially of the respiratory organs. It allays irritation, increases expectoration, and tones the bronchi.
It is a fairly safe rule to figure always to use comfrey root in coughs, colds, asthma, especially with excessive expectoration, tuberculosis, especially of the lung, ulcerated and inflamed lung conditions, hemorrhage, coughing up or spitting of blood, nasal congestion and catarrh, soreness of the stomach and bowels, and ulcerated kidneys.
Owing to its soothing effect, it is useful in diarrhea and dysentery.
When the urine is bloody and when gravel is suspected, use comfrey.
The fresh plant, leaves or root, bruised, is a good fomentation to bruises, sprains, irritated sores, obstinate ulcers, and inflammatory boils, especially in the supperation stage, swelling and fractures. It will reduce the swelling and ease the pain.
An excellent nervine cough syrup is made of 1 oz. each of the following: comfrey root, turkey rhubarb, elecampane rt., spikenard, skunk cabbage, and white horehound. Boil in 5 pts. water for 30 min., strain, then boil down the liquid to 3/2 pts. Then, while hot, add 2# sugar. Cool. If it is desired to preserve it for any length of time, 1 oz. of alcohol should be added. The dose is 1 dessert-spoonful 3 or 4 times daily.
A very good lung tonic is made of 1/2 oz. each of the following: comfrey root, horehound, elecampane rt., ground ivy, ginger rt. and 1/2 t. cayenne. Simmer in 3 pts. of water 20 min., then add 2 t. powdered nutmeg. Cover and simmer 4 min. longer. Strain and add to the hot liquid 3/2# sugar. Bottle when cold. Dose 1 or 2 T. every 2 hrs.
A decoction of the root is made by boiling 1/2 or 1 oz. crushed comfrey in 1 qt. water or milk. Dose is 1 wine-glassful. The leaves are usually made into an infusion.