My, my loves and welcome to WiccaNow. Recently I’ve been sharing all sorts of guides to my favourite magickal herbs and plants, like this post about the magickal properties of basil. I’ve also written a post all about aloe, another about apples and most recently a guide to the magickal properties of catnip. Today I want to continue down this path by sharing my guide to the magickal properties of comfrey.
Comfrey is an important healing herb which has been used to slow bleeding and treat internal injuries for thousands of years. Recent research has found that taking it internally may have potentially dangerous side effects however it is still used externally to treat sprains and bruises. The magickal properties of comfrey include healing, safe travels, protection from theft and abundance among others.
Disclaimer: Any medicinal benefits given here are a product of my own research and as such should not be taken over the advice of trained medical professionals. If you are ill, please go and see a doctor. Always make sure that anything you consume is 100% safe. If you are pregnant, consult your doctor or midwife before consuming something you haven’t tried before.
If you enjoy reading about the magickal properties of different herbs and plants, check out this gorgeous plant magick grimoire we’ve created! It contains 29 beautifully illustrated pages for all our favourite plants. The best bit? This version comes as a digital download, so you don’t have to wait through pesky shipping times or delays. What’s not to love? Check it out below or keep scrolling to read all about the magick of fennel!
Table of Contents
History of Comfrey
Comfrey, the most common form of which known as Symphytum Officinale, is a member of the Boraginaceae family and is native to Europe and Asia. There are 34 different types of Symphytum but the Officinale is the most commonly recognized and used. It’s also known as common comfrey, true comfrey, boneset, knitbone and slippery root. It likes to grow in damp and grassy places which is why it’s often found on river banks or by the lakes. Bumblebees love comfrey flowers.
Comfrey has been used as a healing herb since at least 400BCE. It was used by the Ancient Greeks and Romans to help bind wounds and to stop heavy bleeding as well as to heal broken bones. Tea made from the leaves was used to treat internal problems and a poultice was made to bind wounds and broken bones.
Pliny the Elder (23/24–79AD) is one of the first herbalists to mention the use of comfrey. He states that comfrey can be used to treat bruises and sprains in his book “Naturalis Historia”. In later chapters of the book he talks about comfrey being used to help wounds heal faster and also helping to stimulate menstrual flows.
Discorides, who write the famous “Materia Medica” around the same time that Pliny the Elder wrote his book, also mentions comfrey. He states that comfrey could help those suffering from internal trauma and abscesses as well as sealing wounds while reducing inflammation.
Comfrey also appeared in texts from monasteries in 1000AD. The monks suggest that it was effective for stopping internal bleeding, ruptures and hernias. The Cistercians, Benedictines and other monasteries are credited with furthering the cultivation of comfrey as they grew it in their gardens specifically to treat soldiers wounds.
Comfrey was regularly used as a medicine and by the 1600s it was also being used to treat gout and rheumatism. The English botanist Nicholas Culpeper demystified comfrey and other medicinal herbs for the pooper population by writing about them in plainer English. Pharmacists had previously been referring to plants by their Latin names, which made those with less education think that they were special plants rather than common garden plants. The pharmacists then charged people high prices for plants, like comfrey, which people could have gathered themselves if they’d known what they were. By the late 1600s, many people were growing comfrey in their gardens to use it as a healing aid.
During the Irish potato famine in the 1840s, comfrey was cooked and eaten often. It was also used to feed animals. Farmers in the 1900s would also use comfrey to make a powerful fertiliser by soaking the leaves in water and letting them ferment for a few weeks. The fertiliser produced was particularly good for tomatoes and potatoes.
In the 1800s a different form of comfrey was brought to Britain from Russia. This created a natural hybrid with common comfrey and in 1954 this hybrid was shipped to Canada and called Quaker Comfrey after the religion followed by the British researcher Henry Doubleday who was promoting the beneficial effects of comfrey. Most of the comfrey grown in the USA can be traced back to this hybrid.
Today, comfrey is banned for internal consumption in a number of places because it’s been linked with high liver toxicity. It also contains carcinogens and has been linked to cancer. It is still seen as a viable treatment for external uses and has been known to give those suffering from osteoarthritis of the knees great relief as well as being an effective treatment for bruises, sprains and pulled muscles.
Fun Facts about Comfrey
- Comfreys official name come from the Greek “Sympho” which means “to make grow together”, “phyton” meaning “plant” and “officinale” which is a title given to medicinally important plants and herbs. This means it is the “Grow Together Plant“. You can see where the name boneset comes from.
- Comfrey roots can be used to make an effective cast to set a broken bone. The roots can be boiled down and then spread onto muslin which is wrapped around the broken limb. The comfrey root paste stiffens while it’s drying and makes a firm cast capable of setting a limb.
- When boiled down, comfrey forms a glue-like substance which is why it was so effective at stopping bleeding, it literally glues wounds together.
- The FDA has banned the use of comfrey for internal use and insists a warning label is added to products containing comfrey for external use.
Medicinal Benefits of Comfrey
Comfrey has been used for thousands of years to treat bleeding both internal and external. Often the root is used, but the leaves are useful when made into a poultice to place on sprains and joints. The leaves provide pain relief and reduce swelling.
Never use comfrey internally as it can cause major damage to your liver and is possibly carcinogenic so has the potential to cause cancer. Avoid using comfrey if you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant. The external use of comfrey to treat topical pain and swelling is considered safe but it would be best to consult a doctor before treating yourself with something that has the potential to be toxic. If you use comfrey externally, it’s advised to apply it only to unbroken skin and don’t apply it for long periods of time, 10 days or less is advised.
- Eases joint pain
- May help to heal wounds
- Eases back pain
- Helps decrease pain caused by knee osteoarthritis
- Helps heal sprains and reduces associated pain
- May help to heal bruises
- May help pain associated with bee stings
Magickal Properties of Comfrey
Comfrey is a healing herb which is also particularly good at protecting travellers. Place a little comfrey in your suitcases to prevent theft (just make sure you don’t leave it in there if going through biosecurity). Carry it on your person to ensure your personal safety while travelling.
Harness the magickal properties of comfrey by making a charm in order to safeguard yourself or your home from theft. The addition of cactus spines makes for a particularly powerful charm.
If you enjoy gambling occasionally (be careful, it’s a slippery slope!) putting the money you intend to use to gamble into a bag with comfrey leaves will increase your luck.
Use comfrey and mugwort during divination. Anoint a candle with oil and then roll the candle in a mixture of dried comfrey and mugwort to burn while you are divining.
Other Magickal Uses of Comfrey
- Safe travel
- Magick relating to real estate
- Protection (particularly from theft)
- Setting boundaries
- Success in longterm goals
Magickal Associations of Comfrey
Deities – Hecate, Brigid and Chiron
Magickal Correspondences of Comfrey
Zodiac – Capricorn and aquarius
Planet – Saturn
Element – Water
Gender – Feminine
So, my lovelies, I hope this gives you all the information that you were looking for about the magickal properties of comfrey! May your travels be safe, your dreams be clear and your days filled with abundance.
Until next time,