Symphytum officinale (Boraginaceae)
Other names: Comfrey, Common Comfrey, Knitbone, Boneset, Consolida, Consormol, Consound, Blackwort, Bruisewort, Gum Plant, Healing Herb, Knitback, Salsify, Slippery Root, Wallwort, Yalluc (Saxon), Ass Ear, Nipbone
German = Reinweld, French = Grande consoude, Italian = Consolide maggiore
Description: An erect perennial growing in most damp areas of the United Kingdom, Europe, western Asia and the U.S.A. It is a vigorous plant with broadly lanceolate leaves up to 30cm long, which taper into a point. The leaves arise as a rosette from the ground, have a rough texture, and are covered with short stiff hairs. The rosette supports a tall, erect flowering stem up to 1.5m tall, covered with sessile opposite leaves and bearing forked stalks which support one-sided racemes of pedicillate bell-shaped mauve or white flowers which curve downwards. The fruits are four greyish-brown nutlets. The rhizome is quite short and thick with black, finger-thick branched roots. The flowering period is from May to July. Russian comfrey (S. peregrinum), widely grown for its horticultural benefits, can also be used medicinally.
Habitat and Cultivation: The roots should be unearthed in the spring or autumn when the allantoin levels are highest, then washed, chopped and dried at a moderate temperature.
The leaves are harvested after flowering in early summer.
NB: the young leaves have higher PA levels and should not be harvested.
Parts Used: Leaf and (Root and rhizome)
Related Species: Borago
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