Fortunately the heat and dry weather¬†curtails comfreys natural vigorous growth here in the Philippines. And because of it’s hunger for water and nitrogen, unlike in cooler climates, it does not overrun your garden.
A common name for comfrey is ‘nitbone’ ¬†because it can literally mend bones!
Here are some of the uses we put comfrey to at Happy House Farm :
- Food : We eat the leaves in small quantity – animals also love to eat the leaves. Dipping young leaves in egg and frying make crispy pancakes! Or you can shred thin and mix into your salads. You can eat the root but it has VERY strong alkaloids so take note it can be poisonous if you eat the root in larger quantities. The alkaloids in the¬†leaf are a lot less so leaf consumption in salads is ok and very nutritive and healing for the whole body including the digestive system.
- Green compost: Comfrey has a deep root system so it can retrieve large quantities of minerals buried deeper down in the soil. Using the leaf as a green compost or better still to make a comfrey tea will bring a new lease of life to your garden. The tea is very high in all plant foods including nitrogen so dilute it appropriately. Google how to make comfrey tea to learn more.
- Soil restorer: Comfrey due to it’s strong root system is a perfect plant to recondition abused soils. It does however require a lot of water and does not tolerate the heat well so in the Philippines in the lowlands its propagation can be limited for this purpose.
- Healing: It is a powerful – very powerful herb! I used it to rebuild skin tissue from a 3rd degree abrasion wound on my foot where 90% of my skin was lost and worn to the bone literally. There are many ways to use it as a healing herb but the root is the most powerful.
Propagating comfrey in Philippines
Comfrey can be easily propagated from its roots.¬†Use a piece of root and break it into 1cm segments and place in light soil about 2cm below the soil and water well. It will usually grow shoots in about 4 – 6 days! Alternatively you can allow the plant to go to seed and collect. Do watch though – allowing comfrey to go to seed will allow it to spread to areas where you may not want it to grow!
It is best to grow comfrey in the Philippines in a semi shaded and wetter area – or make sure you water well. We have ours on a cool slope in semi shade.
Comfrey loves nitrogen and can tolerate most raw manures, even chicken manure. Keep the plants well watered and well composted and you will do well.
We mulch the soil with bamboo leaves and put in bamboo stakes because our chickens scratch things out.