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the value of comfrey  RSS feed

 
pollinator
Posts: 330
Location: Clemson, SC ("new" Zone 8a)
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@LivingWind - Holy shit, dude!  I am in Clemson, no more than 60 mins from you.  No shipping necessary, just stop on by some day.  What type of place do you have up in Sunset?  I don't think I've ever stopped there, though I am sure that I've driven through before.  Tell me more...

~ Matthew N., Southern transplant
 
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living wind,when i put in lots of pictures to something i wrote a friend laughed at me for not believing people can read and when i write a lot I get told off for writing too much.
    It is a bit long but i have got used to reading texts i used just to read literature and it causes reading text books books makes me feel awfull, anguished. I always think the text is going to lose me but in the end it turns out that i can handle it if i can bare to drag myself through it.
      It is undisciplined and impatient of me to write so much, it is much more fun reading the bits of the forum that come in little bits .

      I am sorry for all the information that had little enough to do with your question, I have since read an old post of mine elsewhere here, in a thread started by Travis Philip on whether of not to accept a whole lot of trees that the government offered cheap to farmers who would look after them and in which i write about how comfrey works  for hard pan and so i have information for you. 
I must have written my post just after i read that confrey has a spike root that will drive through hard pan because that is what i have said but i do not remember that bit of information now. I also talked about having read about the usefulness of planting alfa alfa and comfrey together as the alfa alfa with its nitrogen fixing nodules provides lots of nitrogen for the comfrey to take up.
    Yesterday I read, in a paper on companion planting from the company "golden harvest", that alfa alfa is capable of getting its roots through hard clay and even rocks, so that sounds like good for hard pan. 
    I have read of a man digging a hole through hard pan to put a tree through it, so you could plant a tree or a bush too that would probably lift and break the hard pan.  agri rose macaskie.
 
master steward
Posts: 27466
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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Posts: 53
Location: N. Sac. Valley
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Masterful! Thanks for the video, Paul. I can't wait until my newly transplanted comfrey comes up this spring.
 
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I came across this old book called "Russian Comfrey, A Hundred Tons an Acre of Stock Feed or Compost For Farm, Garden or Smallholding" by Lawrence D. Hills. Written in the 1940's? So far I only skimmed through it. They are talking about raising race horses on a mostly-comfrey diet, and using it for cattle feed etc. I suppose if cows can be fed mostly comfrey, you really can't beat 100 TONS of food per acre! Anyway, the book is available free online. I'm wondering if this could make it possible to raise a significant amount of livestock and chickens on small acreage?

Go to this link: http://soilandhealth.org/01aglibrary/01aglibwelcome.html and search (CTRL+F in your browser window) for "comfrey". You have to request a copy from their library and the link gets emailed to you right away.
 
                    
Posts: 177
Location: Bay Area, California (z8)
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Susan Monroe wrote:Medicinally:  it has been used in the past as both a poultice and taken internally.  It seems to be a common opinion that it shouldn't be taken internally as a tea or anything, as it is suspected of causing liver damage and possibly cancer.  I don't know the truth of it, but I would tend to err on the side of caution.



Well, I'm the horrible party guest who is depressing all over everyone. Here's from one of my earlier posts, giving information so ya'all can be informed and make the best choice for you and those you feed from your land.

P Thickens wrote:

Scientists and medical doctors agree that the use of Comfrey should be restricted to topical use, and should never be ingested, as it contains dangerous amounts of hepatotoxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs). Use of comfrey can, because of these PAs, lead to veno-occlusive disease (VOD). VOD can in turn lead to liver failure, and comfrey has been implicated in at least one death. In 2001, the United States Food and Drug Administration issued a warning against internal usage of herbal products containing comfrey, and eventually banned Comfrey products intended for internal use. In addition to restrictions on oral use, scientists and medical professionals recommend applying Comfrey extracts no longer than 10 days in a row, and no more than 4–6 weeks a year.

Comfrey contains excessive amounts of symphytine, a PA, the injection of the pure alkaloid of which may cause cancer in rats. The whole plant has also been shown to induce precancerous changes in rats.

 
Posts: 183
Location: Vashon WA, near Seattle and Tacoma
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Well, I'm the horrible party guest who is depressing all over everyone. Here's from one of my earlier posts, giving information so ya'all can be informed and make the best choice for you and those you feed from your land.



I feed my cattle comfrey by the garbage can load, at least once a day every day while the comfrey is in season, and they thrive and flourish on it. I had my friend's herd of sheep using my pastures for a couple of weeks, and they went for the comfrey before they went for anything else, and ate it to the ground immediately. My hogs root it up and munch on the roots like popcorn.

I had heard the reports of liver damage, but when I checked the liver of the last steer we butchered that had been eating comfrey steadily, cut and carried as Hills recommends, his liver was spotless, and I got to keep it because neither of my customers wanted it.

I have no basis to dispute any of your warnings, and I personally do not take comfrey internally. But it does not appear to have any ill effects on cattle, sheep, or hogs -- in fact it is quite the contrary -- in my personal experience and first-hand observation.
 
Mark Edward
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P Thickens wrote:
Well, I'm the horrible party guest who is depressing all over everyone. Here's from one of my earlier posts, giving information so ya'all can be informed and make the best choice for you and those you feed from your land.

Scientists and medical doctors agree that the use of Comfrey should be restricted to topical use, and should never be ingested, as it contains dangerous amounts of hepatotoxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs). Use of comfrey can, because of these PAs, lead to veno-occlusive disease (VOD). VOD can in turn lead to liver failure, and comfrey has been implicated in at least one death. In 2001, the United States Food and Drug Administration issued a warning against internal usage of herbal products containing comfrey, and eventually banned Comfrey products intended for internal use. In addition to restrictions on oral use, scientists and medical professionals recommend applying Comfrey extracts no longer than 10 days in a row, and no more than 4–6 weeks a year.

Comfrey contains excessive amounts of symphytine, a PA, the injection of the pure alkaloid of which may cause cancer in rats. The whole plant has also been shown to induce precancerous changes in rats.



"Injecting pure alkaloid" doesn't sound too smart. But that's what scientists do. They study a specific item in isolation to see what it does. Apple, peach, and apricot seeds have cyanide in them. Injecting pure cyanide "may" kill you. lol Ok. It WILL kill you. But when consumed with the whole fruit, it is actually a strong anti-cancer "health food".

Susan Weed is a well known herbalist. She tells "the rest of the story" about comfrey here (apparently the purple-flowering tall variety has been cultivated to not have the alkaloids in the leaves):
http://www.susunweed.com/herbal_ezine/June08/wisewoman.htm

I have drank (drunk? drinken?) several quarts of the comfrey infusion she mentions in the article. Never a hint of difficulties. Everybody gets to make up their own mind on the subject. But I am especially happy to hear Ivan's news about his cows eating it! A couple days ago, I pulled up a pound or two of roots from a patch of comfrey, and broke it up into bits, and stuck them into a box of dirt. Hoping to get several dozen plant starts so I can expand the comfrey patch for some experimental feeding of some of the animals. I know someone in Oregon who has 5-8 acres of land utterly and completely overrun with comfrey that grows 6 feet tall. Based on what I observe and discover with my little experiment, maybe next year I will visit them and harvest a couple hundred pounds of roots and plant a whole acre in comfrey for the livestock!
 
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Location: Vashon, WA
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I have fed chickens comfrey and my wife fed rabbits when she had them.
I add it to my compost by the bucket loads and am making comfrey juice shown to me by Ivan. We also make salve with it and enjoy using it, and it works too.
 
Matthew Nistico
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I have a question for any and all here with experience propagating comfrey. I am about to dig up and sacrifice a couple of my comfrey started last year. They grew great all year, died back during winter, and are all now coming back up strong. I want more, so the couple I dig up I will chop into as many big root sections as I can to spread further around my garden. The weather has been mild for a long time now, here in SC, and the soil temperature is quite warm. Can I plant the root chunks directly at this point or must I sprout them inside under controlled conditions first, and then transplant those? If I must sprout them first, rather than planting them out immediately, what is the best manner in which to do so, and for how long should I let them grow before transplanting to their final locations? Thanks!
 
steward
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Matthew, all I've ever done to start a new comfrey plant is chop off a piece of root and bury it. In my climate the suff is basically indestructable.
 
                    
Posts: 177
Location: Bay Area, California (z8)
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Mark Edward wrote: "Injecting pure alkaloid" doesn't sound too smart. But that's what scientists do. They study a specific item in isolation to see what it does.



Please note that I am giving this information not to rebut your anecdotal evidence but because it is important to have the complete set of facts on this subject. I hope that like with any plant, gardeners would want to know the pros and cons before growing and using it. It is only with all the evidence that we can make good, informed decisions.


* Of the many, many, many studies done on Comfrey (plant parts, powder, OTC remedies, extract, and other forms), all of them point to long-term problems. That is: a organism who lives 2 or 4 years, ingesting PA-containing parts of the plant, may not develop problems; one that lives 70 years on the same diet may develop problems. Whether this is because of low doses or only occasionally coming in possession of plants which are toxic is not clear. However, Comfrey has definitively killed at least 3 people. Citation: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2103401

* Comfrey, however, produces hepatotoxicity in livestock and humans and carcinogenicity in experimental animals. Overall, comfrey is mutagenic in liver, and PA contained in comfrey appear to be responsible for comfrey-induced toxicity and tumor induction. Citation: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21170807

* Severe pulmonary hypertension possibly due to pyrrolizidine alkaloids in polyphytotherapy. Citation: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19350428

* Certain Comfrey plants have more dangerous compounds than others; more, some parts of a plant are more toxic than others. Citation: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18618436

* PAs contained in comfrey are the main active components responsible for carcinogenicity of the plant. Citation: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18047722
 
Ivan Weiss
Posts: 183
Location: Vashon WA, near Seattle and Tacoma
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Well I just fed the first bucketful of the new crop of comfrey to my hogs, and they abandoned their pile of apples to gobble it. So whereas these hogs have about 4-6 weeks till they are butchered, my attitude is to feed comfrey, damn the torpedos, and full speed ahead. The abstract linked to here is not conclusive, and specifically says so.

None of the information you present is new. I hope everyone reads it. I hope everyone is circumspect and weighs all risks while using this herb until more evidence is in. But whereas my hogs are 7-8 months old at butchering, and my cattle no more than 2 years old, I feed comfrey and don't worry about it. Your mileage might vary.
 
Posts: 170
Location: western Washington, Snohomish county--zone 8b
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The sources tagged above show several interesting studies. one as follows:

[Toxic hepatitis triggered by green tea].
Rohde J, Jacobsen C, Kromann-Andersen H.
Source

Medicinsk Afdeling, Glostrup Hospital, Denmark. johan.rohde@gmail.com

Green tea is associated with various beneficial health effects, but several cases of hepatotoxic side effects have been reported. We present the first Danish case of toxic hepatitis following the consumption of 4-6 cups of green tea per day for six months. Green tea's main chemical component is epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Animal studies have shown that EGCG accumulated in the liver is most toxic when consumed fasting and that it causes greater hepatotoxicity upon repeated administration. Green tea hepatotoxicity should be kept in mind and cases are notifiable to the food authorities.

If the medical establishment wants to discount or scare people out of homeopathic teas there is a study condemning everything....Most folks would roll there eyes at this case study of green tea

Everything in moderation......Comphrey has a natural sweetness, a pleasent smell and taste. I appreciate the comments made by Both Skeeter and Susan Weed. I tend to trust them more than the FDA. The FDA condems many herbal remedies but passes Toxic Medications with massive horrible side effects........Crazzzzzy
 
Matthew Nistico
pollinator
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I think that Ivan has expressed a key dimension to this debate that nobody else has yet addressed in as many words. That is that there are really two different simultaneous debates blurring together here: the pros and cons of comfrey taken internally by humans as a medicinal, and the pros and cons of comfrey grown for animal feed. So long as we address both together without differentiating between the two, it seems less likely that the debate will reach clarity. I present no new knowledge or expertise on the topic myself, but looking over everyone else's posts, it appears that from the more detailed information and citations here that most agree on the long-term nature of the risks posed by comfrey. Therefore, I think that if your interests are in comfrey's use as a tonic, there is a lot more to be discussed here. If your interests are in comfrey as a fast-growing and nutritious fodder for domestic livestock intended for meat production, you can probably check out of the debate already: worrying about cancer risks in an animal to be slaughtered in a matter of months or a year is no worry at all. I also point out that even on the medicinal front, nobody seems much concerned with applying comfrew topically for its amazing powers to heal wounds and speed repair of damaged skin.
 
Ivan Weiss
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Thanks Matthew. I think the distinction is important. I have never taken comfrey internally, and have no plans to do so, because there are enough other healthful herbs around that there really isn't any need to. I do hope to make salve from my comfrey, and its utility as a dynamic accumulator, a compost and mulch plant, and as a component in liquid fertilizer, in addition to its use as animal fodder, make it an integral part of my design. Fortunately, I have it in abundance, and I continue to spread it actively.

There's no need to dispute P. Thickens or to debunk or dismiss the FDA's position. I don't care what Susun Weed, or Juliette de Bairacli Levy, or the FDA, or any other "authority" want to argue about comfrey being "safe" or "not safe." I doubt that any of them can say authoritatively one way or the other. I am not invested in proving any of them "right" or "wrong."

I only ask that if the FDA is correct, then how, for the thousands of years that farmers have been feeding comfrey to livestock, have its purported toxic properties not been made evident? Until I hear an explanation for that, I will continue to feed comfrey.
 
pollinator
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Loved the video - always helpful to see actual photos of plants. Now I need some comfrey!!! I want the one that Michael Pularski recommends in his video.
 
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Location: Central Massachusetts
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I twisted my ankle once and treated it with a comfrey poultice... it worked!
 
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I've been looking for comfrey to plant in my fruit tree guilds on my small urban lot. After reading this thread, I'm more interested in getting some than ever! But: it seems like no one carries it locally. I'm looking specifically for Bocking 14 Russian Comfrey, since my lot is small and I'll need one that doesn't spread much.

I know that a few places have it available for mail order, but I'm hoping to avoid paying shipping that costs twice as much as the plant itself.

Does anyone in the Portland, OR area have some that you're willing to divide up and sell for a couple of bucks? I'll even come by and do the division, if you like.

Thanks!
 
Chad Hadsell
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Well, I ended up finding the buy/sell/trade section, and buying some comfrey from Coe's Comfrey.
My new problem is this: I had been intending to plant it in my fruit tree guilds,but now I'm finding more than a few people who are saying that its too heavy of a feeder and will compete with the tree too much for Nitrogen.
What do y'all think? Is 3 to 4 feet out from the trunk a reasonable place to plant it? Or should I have a separate "mulch guild" elsewhere?
 
pollinator
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last fall I dug around the sides of my huge comfrey plant to get roots to put babies around my fruit trees, and this spring when things got growing, I was so surprised to see baby comfrey plants growing in the area around the comfrey plant, 2 to 3 feet away.

I dug them up and they were tiny little root bits that had been strewn about and they sprouted..so those were dug up and planted this week under the rest of my fruit trees and some nut trees..and put near where fruit trees will be planted when orders come..

it is amazing how small the roots were and barely covered with soil and they rooted
 
Matthew Nistico
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@Brenda - Thanks for the anecdote. Good to know that comfrey will sprout from such small root sections. This year I plan to dig up a couple of my own and sacrifice them for root propagation. I don't need that many, and there are at least three or four existing plants that need to go (in the way of future pathways), so sounds like I will have excess.

They always say that, even with the sterile cultivars, it is never anything but easy to spread comfrey: plant a few comfrey spread across a field, let them grow for a year, then next year roto-till the whole field including the comfrey and you will end up with the entire field chock full of comfrey.
 
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Location: Northern Rivers NSW Australia
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I cannot even imagine a garden without comfrey. I am rehabilitating a commercial orchard space into an organic permaculture space, and on the top of the list is comfrey, comfrey, and more comfrey. I do not intend to buy any though...anywhere you can find it growing, just hack some away with a mattock or shovel, break the root pieces down to an inch or so, and plant. Anyone with comfrey, I have found, understand why it is so sought after, and happily share it away.

Also, chooks with access to comfrey lay eggs with psychedelic orange yolks lol
 
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We've had Bocking 14 comfrey grow from anything larger than an inch. Even one plant can go a very, very long way.
 
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Location: SW Alberta
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Can comfrey be grown easily from seed or is buying the root the way to go?
 
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The root is the most feasible way to propagate comfrey, whether it be a bocking cultivator or officinalis
 
Posts: 148
Location: Zone 4b
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I make aqeous comfrey solutions/extractions (water + dynamic accumulator). I soak about a handfull of comfrey leaves in a mason jar full of plain water, let that soak under anaerobic conditions for atleast 2 weeks, dilute that material down to about 1 tbsp per gallon of water and apply as a drench. I do this with dandelions, thistle, yarrow, etc. The SFW quickly and visibly comes to life, and the plant responses are extremely positive.

And how about that COMFREY TRACTOR!!

http://www.permies.com/t/25274/permaculture/Comfrey-Tractor
 
Posts: 97
Location: St. Louis, MO
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"A possible causal association of comfrey and this patient's veno-occlusive disease is suggested by the temporal relationship of the ingestion of comfrey to his presentation, the histological changes in the liver and the exclusion of other known causes of the disease."

This seems like a very weak connection.
 
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I'm also wondering how far to plant a comfrey plant from the trunk of an apple tree. Someone asked previously in this thread, but I don't think there was ever an answer. 3 feet? 4 feet?

Oops, here's a whole thread on it. /smackforehead.

http://www.permies.com/t/17731/permaculture/Comfreys-proximity-fruit-trees
 
David Hartley
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Miss Mitchell wrote:I'm also wondering how far to plant a comfrey plant from the trunk of an apple tree. Someone asked previously in this thread, but I don't think there was ever an answer. 3 feet? 4 feet?

Oops, here's a whole thread on it. /smackforehead.

http://www.permies.com/t/17731/permaculture/Comfreys-proximity-fruit-trees



I would suggest (from my research) to plant comfrey at the drip-line, or just outside of, the mature size of the tree. Example: if the mature diameter is estimated to be 12 feet, then plant 6~7 feet from the diameter.

To aid in the establishment of the comfrey, remove any flowering stems as they are noticed, for the first couple/few years. Flowering stems will be thicker and have leaves growing off of them, as opposed to leaves growing straight from the crown.



On a side note: I have read that a fruit tree's height can be controlled by keeping it's surface roots cut to a selected diameter. If this is true; I wonder if a tight ring of comfrey, planted early on, could do so naturally???
 
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Comfrey- it can kind of be a love/hate relationship. Or so I've heard. But, I personally have never had a problem with it getting out of control. I did propagate some comfrey this summer when my DH mistook it for a weed and pulled it out. I've never read of it being done this way, but had the material so wanted to try. Standard method of propagation in by getting a piece of the root. I did not have root material but the stalks and had good success by cutting the stalks at the (Leaf?) nodule on the stem. No rooting powder, just into dirt (potting soil) and kept watered. In this way I was able to get multiple pieces from a stem and had a better than 50% success rate in starting new plants. Plus, the original plants roots have resprouted and given me a new clump. My cuttings were perfect to go under my first apple tree guild that my daughter and I started on this past week.

Linda
 
David Hartley
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This summer I planted a couple flowering stalks with success First time trying it that way. The stalks were 2+ feer long. Buried about a foot and a half of it in rich straw, chicken manure and comfrey leaves into the ground. It has been doing well. Slow; but well
 
Posts: 263
Location: Eastern Canada, Zone 5a
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Steve Nicolini wrote:Isn't it edible in small quantities?  I heard it is a significant source of vitamin B12 (for all you veggies). 



From the British Medical Journal, 13 August 1977

Vitamin B12 for vegans

SIR,

We read your expert's reply (11 June, p 1525) and Mr Alan Long's letter (16 July, p 192) on vegan sources of vitamin B12 with interest. Beliefs that the comfrey plant (Symphytum officinale) is a natural source of vitamin B12 persist and are repeated in the current catalogue of at least one firm of horticultural seedsmen and another specialist supplier of herbal products. We therefore extracted 12.5 g of freshly picked comfrey leaves by boiling in 500 ml acetate buffer (pH 5.0) containing 0.01% sodium cyanide in preparation for assay(1). No vitamin B12 was detected in the extract using the Euglena gracilis var bacillaris z-strain assay(2); this implies a vitamin B12 concentration of less than 10 ng/l of extract. Thus 1 kg (2.2 lb) of fresh comfrey leaves could at most have contained 400 ng (0.4 µg) of vitamin B12. We therefore conclude that comfrey leaves are not relevant as a source of vitamin BI2 in mixed, vegetarian, or vegan diets.

RICHARD W PAYNE
BRIAN F SAVAGE
Department of Pathology,
Worcester Royal Infirmary,
Worcester


(1) Gray, L F, and Daniel, L J,Journal of Nutrition, 1959, 67, 623.
(2) Hutner, S H, Bach, M K, and Ross, G I M, Journal of Protozoology, 1956, 3, 101.

Filename: 3-Vitamin-B12-for-vegans..pdf
File size: 301 Kbytes
 
paul wheaton
master steward
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Lots of stuff popping out about comfrey lately.

First, sometime last year New Pioneer mag contacted me and said "we really like your comfrey video - could it be massaged into an article?" There was a gal here at the time that said she could do it, so the magazine published the bit. And now it looks like they are making the article freely available on the interwebs!



http://newpioneermag.com/2013/10/comfrey-growing/


And Jack has put out a lot of comfrey videos and podcasts lately:





http://www.thesurvivalpodcast.com/some-videos-about-comfrey
http://www.thesurvivalpodcast.com/video-comfrey-episode-one
 
Posts: 245
Location: Northern New Mexico, Latitude:35 degrees N, Elevation:6000'
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Great topic. I had been wondering if what I've seen growing in my area is in fact comfrey. The plants are beginning to set seed and I'm beginning to realize that it probably isn't........ahh well. Going to have to find some roots somewhere. I have seeds from mountain rose herbs for Symphytum officinal, so now I have motivation to become serious about figuring out how to sprout them. I prefer this variety, for it is said to have greater healing qualities than the bocking cultivares.

Here's a link that I found very helpful to identify whether or not I had true comfrey. Looking at the black and white picture with all the mature seed pods.....I believe that what is growing abundantly in the mountains and being spread around is #6....... Cynoglossum creticum. The seeds when mature have a shell that attaches to wool/hair/clothes. http://luirig.altervista.org/flora/taxa/index1.php?scientific-name=symphytum+officinale
 
Mike Haych
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paul wheaton wrote:
2)  Since comfrey is a calcium accumulator, those comfrey rich spots would probably be fantastic for planting some calcium/alakaline loving plants!  Maybe some fruit trees!



But not a very good one. Pigweed, Lambsquarter, Stinging Nettle, Calendula, Horsetail, Evening Primrose, Chicory, Oregano, Sage, Common Thyme, Rhubarb, Mullein, Dandelion, Chickweed, High Mallow, Chives, Curly Dock, Yarrow, Mugwort, Feverfew, Borage, Scullcap, and Coneflower are all better, much better, in fact.

See https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Aoz8GE1bbsDjdDdxSjA3dWxKaU5qU2xVZUFUcHR4RGc&usp=sharing#gid=0
 
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I'm not sure about that chart. It seems like it could be comparing apples to oranges and it's definitely old (last updated in 1996 - 18 years ago).

What I mean is, if you compare Dandelion to Comfrey it's 13,000 to 1,980. But its that per plant? Per 100 grams? Does it take into account that you might get 4 or 5 cuttings out of your comfrey over the growing season compared to 1 dandelion. I would imagine that the total calcium from 1 comfrey plant would be much greater than the total from 1 dandelion. Plus, you can plant the comfrey where you want it so no harvesting is necessary, or just a quick chop and drop.

On the calcium page of the chart its 21,000 ppm dandelion (plant) to 11,300 for the comfrey root. What about the rest of the plant though?

There are other reasons why comfrey is great around fruit trees. No Nitrogen and good amounts of P&K can be a real benefit. Not to mention the living mulch bit...
 
Mike Haych
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Cj Verde wrote:I'm not sure about that chart. It seems like it could be comparing apples to oranges and it's definitely old (last updated in 1996 - 18 years ago).



What would make the chemical composition change in 18 years?

What I mean is, if you compare Dandelion to Comfrey it's 13,000 to 1,980. But its that per plant? Per 100 grams?



The data clearly show the numbers to be ppm.

Does it take into account that you might get 4 or 5 cuttings out of your comfrey over the growing season compared to 1 dandelion.



Why would it? And why compare comfrey to dandelion?

I would imagine that the total calcium from 1 comfrey plant would be much greater than the total from 1 dandelion.



True but dandelion isn't the plant you want if you want to maximize calcium harvesting. Pigweed will give you 4 times as much calcium as dandelion although it's an annual. A better bet might be Urtica dioica

Plus, you can plant the comfrey where you want it so no harvesting is necessary, or just a quick chop and drop.



Yep, if it's chop and drop you are after. If you are after material for a tea, you are harvesting and you want the great ppm available. A tea soil drench might be a better delivery mechanism than chop and drop. I much prefer to harvest my comfrey and use it in fermented teas for foliar spraying because of its antifungal properties. And I use it extensively in my plant-based compost piles. Much more bang for the buck than chop and drop.

On the calcium page of the chart its 21,000 ppm dandelion (plant) to 11,300 for the comfrey root. What about the rest of the plant though?



See the Comfrey tab.

There are other reasons why comfrey is great around fruit trees. No Nitrogen and good amounts of P&K can be a real benefit. Not to mention the living mulch bit...



Absolutely, I never said that it wasn't. I use it extensively in our orchard and I plant it on the dripline. It along with meadow sage (Salvia pratensis) attract bumblebees like no other plants I've seen.

All that I was saying was that there are better sources for calcium than comfrey.
 
Cj Sloane
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Mike Haych wrote:

What I mean is, if you compare Dandelion to Comfrey it's 13,000 to 1,980. But its that per plant? Per 100 grams?



The data clearly show the numbers to be ppm.



I don't see it on the first (matrix) sheet. If you'd like to tell me what row & column it is, that'd be great! I did see it on the calcium page but again, the whole dandelion plant v a comfrey root seems like a weird comparison.

The comfrey tab - that sheet right there is worth it's weight in gold & I did not see it before. According to that the ppm of comfrey leaf can be as high as 18,000! Dandelion leaf is 13,000.

Now here's the really telling fact, the only plant that has it's own sheet is ...comfrey! And that right there is a great indicator of the value of comfrey.
 
Mike Haych
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Cj Verde wrote:
I don't see it on the first (matrix) sheet. If you'd like to tell me what row & column it is, that'd be great! I did see it on the calcium page but again, the whole dandelion plant v a comfrey root seems like a weird comparison.



Yep it's not on the matrix page but it is on every nutrient page which is what the matrix sheet draws on. I would agree that the dandelion/comfrey is not a good comparison. Not sure why you made it.

The comfrey tab - that sheet right there is worth it's weight in gold & I did not see it before. According to that the ppm of comfrey leaf can be as high as 18,000! Dandelion leaf is 13,000.



Since you want to purse the dandelion angle, check the data for the dandelion plant.

 
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