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Can you eat comfrey?

                              


Joined: Aug 02, 2011
Posts: 118
I'm using the (abundant) comfrey in my garden as a compost activator, and I know it's excellent for setting bones and healing wounds also (salve from it), but I was wondering if there might be recipes for it. Or possibly other uses I don't know of...
I sampled a leaf raw, but it's really very slimy inside, so I'm not sure if it would work well in salads. Green smoothies? Pancakes? Anybody ever try anything that turned out tasty?

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Joined: May 24, 2011
Posts: 43
Location: Pennsylvania, Zone 5B
Don't eat it! It's medicinal, not edible. If you eat it like it's food you'll damage your liver.
jacque greenleaf
volunteer

Joined: Jan 21, 2009
Posts: 464
Location: Burton, WA (USDA zone 8, Sunset zone 5) - old hippie heaven
People used to drink tea made from it, I assume from dried leaves, as a general tonic and panacea.

Yes, comfrey does have some potentially dangerous compounds in it, but for a healthy adult the danger of occasional use appears to be minimal.

Here's a strongly worded article on this issue. This is one where you should do your own research and satisfy yourself, rather than relying on someone's opinion on a discussion forum!

http://www.dherbs.com/articles/comfrey-poisonous-395.html

And here's a more resoned article:
http://www.itmonline.org/arts/pas.htm
                        


Joined: Jul 07, 2010
Posts: 508
Some people make tea out of it.  It contains substances that can damage your liver if you use it a lot so it is suggested that you don't ingest it at all,(how much "a lot"  is can vary from person to person). From what I can gather occassional use is unlikely to hurt you. People used to use it all the time.

Read a comment from some guy who keeps chickens and feeds them comfrey regularly and he says he has never seen a chicken liver showing any damage.
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree

Joined: Apr 03, 2010
Posts: 4820
Location: Portugal Zone 9 Mediterranean Climate
    
181
Comfrey fritters! 

Not exactly the healthiest thing in the world, but mix up a batter, coat a comfrey  leaf, and fry.  It's one of those things you can eat when all you have is flour, oil for frying, maybe an egg, and some comfrey in the garden.  Elderflower fritters are yummy, too. 


Just don't pick it until it's grown enough that you can be absolutely certain it's not foxglove.  Most years in the UK some new hippy would poison themselves making comfrey fritters out of foxglove leaves as they look rather similar but are highly toxic. 

This link tells you how to tell them apart - http://foodunderfoot.com/poison-foxglove


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Thelma McGowan


Joined: Jul 03, 2011
Posts: 170
Location: western Washington, Snohomish county--zone 8b
    
    2
If your comfrey has purple/pink/lavender flowers and the leaves have ribs that continue down the stalk of the plants stem, This is a safe edible and medicinal plant. The comfrey that grows wild and has yellow flowers is a more potent version.

But i have read many herbalists accounts confirming that comfrey is safe for regular use. The tea is so delicious and sweet...like sweet cucumber.

http://www.youtube.com/user/HerbMentor#p/search/1/KiZnhwxm1oI

http://www.youtube.com/user/wisewomantradition#p/search/1/TtYmJDK6h1U

Susan Weed makes a good case for why comfrey has gotten a bad rap. I have been drinking a lot of comfrey tea this summer and feel fine.


There are no experts, Just people with more experience.
                              


Joined: Aug 26, 2011
Posts: 71
This website covers the whole pyrrolizidine alkaloid in comfrey issue (compiled by an experienced herbalist who looked at the actual research)

http://www.comfreycentral.com/
Anna Carter


Joined: Feb 11, 2011
Posts: 66
Location: Lacey, Wa
Way back in the 70's my mom drank comfrey tea. I don't remember how often, but now her liver is so scarred it looks like a long time alcoholic's.


I'm a young and I'm not going to contort myself to fit in with our very ill society. I am a citizen of the world, not a mindless consumer. If you want to follow along with my journal, here's my blog: Life Happened Today
Thelma McGowan


Joined: Jul 03, 2011
Posts: 170
Location: western Washington, Snohomish county--zone 8b
    
    2


Skeeter's opinion on comfrey.

What a cool guy!
                              


Joined: Aug 02, 2011
Posts: 118
auntythelma wrote:
If your comfrey has purple/pink/lavender flowers and the leaves have ribs that continue down the stalk of the plants stem, This is a safe edible and medicinal plant. The comfrey that grows wild and has yellow flowers is a more potent version.

But i have read many herbalists accounts confirming that comfrey is safe for regular use. The tea is so delicious and sweet...like sweet cucumber.


Yes, mine has purple or pink flowers, so I'm safe... How do you make the tea? Just steep the leaves in boiling water? Dried leaves?
                              


Joined: Aug 26, 2011
Posts: 71
You might want to double check that thing about the flower colour and stalks, I don't think that is a generally accepted way of determining if comfrey has PAs or not (or what quantity).
Thelma McGowan


Joined: Jul 03, 2011
Posts: 170
Location: western Washington, Snohomish county--zone 8b
    
    2
Yes, mine has purple or pink flowers, so I'm safe... How do you make the tea? Just steep the leaves in boiling water? Dried leaves?


I use only the the leaves stock and flowers as I did read that the roots are not good for internal use.

I have used dried and fresh comfrey for tea. I don't really have a set recipe. But i love to chop up a fresh handful of comfrey....it smells so good! and I put it in a quart jar, then pour boiling water over it and coverthe jar. some times I let it sit over night but after a few minutes it is ready to drink. it always surprises me how sweet it is. I also add mint, holy basil. or cammomile.....

I appreciate everyones caution regarding comfrey. but when you put it in perspective with other items that we readily eat or drink, Comfrey is not harmful. the food and  drug admin has stated comfrey to be harmful.......but......these are the same people that allow the sales of some very questionable medications. Have you ever noticed how many drug recalls you see on late night TV. or the heinous side effects that are advertised with those medications. everything from acne mediction to heart and colesteral medications are harming or killing americans all the time.......food for thought?
Emil Spoerri
pollinator

Joined: Oct 19, 2009
Posts: 415
    
    8
Comfrey is one of the few green leaf vegetables that I enjoy raw and plain without dressing...
Peter Ingot


Joined: Sep 06, 2011
Posts: 50
I used to sandwich a ramsons leaf in between two comfrey leaves in  my fritters. It became known as "green fish"
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree

Joined: Apr 03, 2010
Posts: 4820
Location: Portugal Zone 9 Mediterranean Climate
    
181
Pignut wrote:
I used to sandwich a ramsons leaf in between two comfrey leaves in  my fritters. It became known as "green fish"


That's funny - about the only vegetarian dish they know of in Portugal is peixe da horta, which means 'fish of the garden' and consists of whatever leaves or sliced veggies or long green beans they can find in the garden turned into fritters. 
 
 
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