comfrey fertilizer

maureensnc(z7 NC)October 1, 2006

By soaking fresh comfrey leaves in a bucket of water for a month, I get a bucket whose insides are coated with dark, very red color. My Pc guy says it's ok to use (diluted 10 to 1) but why is it red? What's the chemical reaction that turns green comfrey liquid red?

Thanks! Maureen

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I don't have any answers to your question but, would like to know more about comfrey. Where do you get the plant. I've heard great things about it as a fertilizer.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2006 at 5:33PM
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songbirdmommy(UT 5)

Comfrey is very soothing when working in the yard and bumping and bruising oneself.
I am not too much of a klutz, but a friend of mine is, and she swears by it.
I am not too sure if she just takes a leaf and covers the area or makes a poultice out of it.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2007 at 1:48PM
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Nell Jean

A simplified possible explanation has to do with heme. Heme is the molecule that makes blood red, grass green, and in certain metabolic disorders -- urine violet. Any deeper discussion gives me a headache. You can look at Wikipedia for more on heme, or explore this link:

Here is a link that might be useful: Heme

    Bookmark   January 18, 2007 at 1:16PM
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seraphima(z4 AK)

Dear Tim,
You can buy it from a catalogue,at a nursery, or ask around- many gardeners have a clump or two they'd be happy to share or trade. Plant comfrey where you want it to stay: digging it up leaves little root parts in the soil for new plants to start. If you want to use the plant medicinally, keep it away from direct auto exhaust.
This plant will grow almost anywhere, so it is a good candidate for marginal areas of the garden, too much shade, etc. It likes nitrogen and is a nitrogen accumulator; if you use dilute urine on your garden, comfrey will be happy.
Comfrey has medicinal uses, is a good animal food or food supplement, and is useful for adding small amounts of nitrogen to plants like gooseberries which need nitrogen, but may get too big for a small garden with large amounts of nitrogen.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2007 at 4:23PM
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Comfrey is also a great mulch plant.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2007 at 7:11PM
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I grew comfrey this year. Easy to grow, you cant kill it (you can mow it and it recovers). I got seeds online in Autralia though. I have collected my own now, and have hundreds of seeds for next year (its Autumn in Australia). Anyone in Australia, let me know and I can send you some.

Chickens love it. Not as much as chinese greens, but they love it.

Its leaves are too spikey to put on your skin directly (a bit like pumpkin vine), but the stem is like aloe vera, in that it has that stickey creamy gel inside. That might be what you put on bumps and scratches. I will try on saturday, when I will inevitably do myself some damage.

I have heard it is good for fertilizer, but I havent found out how to prepare it. I put some in my worm bin, and in the compost pile. Cant say it made a difference, but who knows, i didnt have a control to measure against.

I would love to know more, its one of those things that you hear a little bit about, but not volumes. Bring on the experts.

Raphael in Australia

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 10:54PM
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pablo_nh(z4/5 NH)

Watch out with comfrey- it may not be as benign as once thought

Here is a link that might be useful: Comfrey

    Bookmark   April 26, 2007 at 2:41PM
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Watch out with internet Medical centre websites, they may not be as knowledgable as they might seem.

But I do understand your concern.

Because of all the media hype, I cant bring myself to ingest it. Sadly.

Here is a link that might be useful: Comfrey - The WMD of herbs.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2007 at 7:24PM
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pablo_nh(z4/5 NH)

It's not one paranoid site that says it- it's pretty well accepted that ingestion can lead to issues.

I'm sure that small doses and occasional external application are probably not an issue, but it's best to go into something new with all the info that one can get. Better than being uninformed and then saying "nobody told me" when a serious health crisis arises.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2007 at 8:59AM
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pablo_nh(z4/5 NH)

I should add that "natural" is neither synonymous with "ineffective", nor "safe". There are many extremely effective and many dangerous "all natural" remedies. Often the difference is moderate and proper application.

I often find myself pointing out that uranium, rattlesnake poison, and falling off a cliff are "all natural" :)

    Bookmark   April 27, 2007 at 9:03AM
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ANY herb that is effective has the potential to be toxic if you overdose, just as any fertilizer can kill your plants if you overdose them. Seems silly to me to avoid a potentially effective, natural fertilizer OR herbal remedy out of fear. Just do your homework and be cautious of the dose. Kathy

    Bookmark   May 20, 2008 at 5:45PM
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buffburd(z5 NY)

If no-one used drugs that could kill them no-one would use any drugs. I've been on drugs where I needed regular blood-work to make sure it wasn't destroying my kidneys.

Why is there this fear of an herb but a ho-hum response to daily commercials on TV about the various things that can go wrong with all the drugs that are available today? (...risk of internal bleeding, coma, death, but at least we get relief from our hay fever????)


    Bookmark   May 20, 2008 at 10:04PM
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buffburd(z5 NY)

BTW, did anyone find somewhere to buy comfrey plants. Preferably not from "horizonherbs" since the shipping to NY is about $30 for plants.


    Bookmark   May 21, 2008 at 6:45PM
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Try Richter's. I purchased quite a few herbs from them last Summer and have been very pleased with them. The shipping was very reasonable. Kathy

    Bookmark   May 24, 2008 at 7:53PM
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buffburd(z5 NY)

I think I've found a local source, but I'll check out Richter's too, thanks for the suggestion.


    Bookmark   May 25, 2008 at 2:51PM
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I just bought comfrey plants from Richters this weekend. They have 3 different kinds. Does anyone know how regulated comfrey is in the US? Is it illegal to grow? I want it to make liquid fertizer and to speed composting. Would it be illegal to sell locally in Michigan? Being a nurse, I respect the health risks of using it internally. BUT...many substances are liver toxic....including acetominophen....and people use it everyday. The only ones who have liver failure are those that overdose on it. I would like to try using it externally for wounds. I looked everywhere at greenhouses in Michigan for plants to buy and couldn't find any. The internet really helps you to find the info you need. Anyone with the legal info....HELP!!
Thanks, Laura

    Bookmark   May 28, 2008 at 6:13AM
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Hi Laura
I don't think comfrey is illegal to grow in Michigan. I hope not anyway- I've had a large patch of it growing in my yard for the past 15 yrs! Just be careful where you plant yours. It gets quite large and tends to overwelm nearby plants. It is also hard to move- any bits of root that gets left behind will sprout and make new plants! It has wonderful healing properties. I used an infusion of Comfrey in a sitz bath after all three of my children were born. Very healing and soothing. I've got comfrey fertilizer brewing for my Spring gardens now. As long as you give it a nice sunny space to grow it will pretty much take care of itself. Mine has even been mown over a few times and it comes back better than ever. I've never seen or heard anything about it being illegal, just warnings about toxicity. It's definitely deserving of respect! Kathy

    Bookmark   May 28, 2008 at 6:54AM
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