Comfrey is related to both the herb ‘borage’ and the similar plant ‘Russian comfrey.’   Herbalists have used it for centuries, including the classical Greeks and the Turks.   Its old English name was ‘knit-bone’ or ‘boneset’ because its ability to heal wounds.

Comfrey – As a plant feed

Comfrey is often eliminated as a weed from many a garden and plot.   It can get a bit out of hand but by no means should it be considered a weed. It is extremely useful as a plant feed. One report, (The Natural Food Catalogue, Vicki Peterson, 1978) claims that its long roots can absorb nutrients usually only taken up by tree roots.   Comfrey does seem to contain a high number of nutrients and has high amounts of potash, making it an excellent feed for tomatoes.   The leaves should be placed into a bucket of water and left until it starts to give of a disgusting smell.   The foul smelling liquid (and believe me it does smell bad) can then be diluted and used as a plant feed on most plants on a vegetable plot.  

Comfrey as a food

It has been brought to our notice that many organisations are against the consumption of comfrey as it has been linked with liver damage. Thanks to the reader who told us, we have decided to keep this article up for the time being and let you make your own minds up. 

Due to it’s foul smell when used as a plant feed the idea of eating comfrey can put a lot of people off consumption of it as a food.   I cooked the pasta dish below for my girlfriend who happily ate it until I told her I had cooked it with comfrey and not spinach.

You should not let this put you off; comfrey can make an excellent food for both humans and plants alike.   It can be a valuable source of B12 if grown in a position where this nutrient is available to the plant.   B12 is a strange nutrient and many vegans find it lacking in their diet as it is usually found in meat and dairy products.   B12 can be formed by bacteria so is present in many fermented products such as yogurt, soy sauce and Marmite.   It can also be present in the soil; it is made as a by-product of many microorganisms present in the soil.

In addition to some comfrey plants containing 0.7mg/100g or B12, comfrey leaves contain –

B1, Thiamine 0.5mg/100g
B2, Riboflavin 1mg/100g
Niacin 5mg
Pantothenic Acid 4.2mg
Vitamin C 100mg
Iron, Calcium, Pro Vitamin A Trace


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