Comfrey has been used since the Middle Ages as a healing agent for fractures.

It was always known as Knitbone - which kind of sums it up.

In the early 20th century, it was discovered that it contained a substance called 'allantoin' which promotes healing of bone and body tissues.

For external use made into a poultice - just warm the comfrey leaves in boiling water, cool slightly so as not to burn your skin and place on bruises, varicose veins or sprained muscles.

A poultice made of grated root is effective in healing sprains.

As a natural fertilizer, comfrey contains all the nutrients you need for healthy plant growth.

It is high in potash, nitrogen, phosphorous and many other elements.

You can use it as a mulch - just spread the leaves around the base of your plants where they will break down.

Add the leaves to your compost heap where it will work as an activator to encourage other plant material to break down.

You can make a liquid fertiliser (comfrey tea) by filling a bucket half full with leaves, then fill it with cold water.

Put a lid on the bucket to exclude insects and leave for about 4 weeks.

Strain off the liquid and use it as an organic fertilizer for plants, tomatoes and other garden plants.

Put the leaves on the soil around your vegetables, making sure that they don't touch the leaves.

You will need to water it down as the 'tea' it makes will be quite strong. Use it one part solution to four parts water in a can to water your plants - if you pour it directly on to the plants, they may burn.

It is well worth cultivating a patch - it has very strong tap roots and is considered to be invasive, like horseradish.

You can increase your stock if you need to by division - you merely dig up the whole thing and tease the roots apart - it is quite easy but be gentle and work very slowly, being careful not to break the roots if possible.

Trim the top growth back and replant. Keep well watered until the plantlets are established - it's had a bit of a shock, so treat them with tender loving care.

Add the trimmings to your compost heap or your fertilizer pot or just put it on your flower beds to rot down and feed the soil

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› Comfrey

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