When you start any endeavor, aren’t you first wondering how to achieve your goal without breaking the bank? This becomes even more important when running a homestead. Very few can say they make a healthy profit from home grown goods (and I’m not one of them yet!). So what do we do? We find budget friendly, but preferably free ways to meet our goals. Let me show you how Comfrey has become by best friend this season!
Comfrey is incredibly high in Nitrogen and will boost the speed of microbial decomposition in your compost pile. Just make sure to layer enough brown, or carbon, items to your compost to keep it balanced. But if you’re like me, you need compost now! Simply chop your comfrey leaves and place around the plants as green manure.
Another method is making compost tea from comfrey leaves. Coarsely chop enough leaves to fill the bucket between halfway and two thirds of the way full and place them into a 5 gallon bucket, weighted down by a brick, stone, etc. Fill the bucket with water, cover, and wait anywhere from 1 day to two weeks. So easy! The longer you wait, the stronger the tea will be and will need to be diluted before applying to your plants. I dilute mine about 1 part comfrey tea to 10 parts water after letting it sit for 1-2 weeks. If I were to use it within a day or two of making it, I wouldn’t dilute it at all.
Beware! I have never gotten nauseous from odors (unless pregnant) until I smelled this compost tea. Easily the skunkiest smell and closest representation of what I think a septic tank smells like.
Comfrey has earned the cool name “bone knitter,” by having the unique ability to speed up healing through a compound called Allantoin. Allantoin is being researched extensively as a pharmaceutical product to help in wound care, due to its stimulatory effect on fibroblasts (the connective tissue and collagen synthesizing cells in our body). It also has an anti-inflammatory effect. Lastly, allantoin is a keratolytic which increases water within the cell, while shedding its outermost layer, yielding moisturized and smoother skin. All of these properties make it an amazing, natural product to use in healing salves. If you don’t want to make one for yourself, here is a shameful plug for our expertly crafted salve. By clicking here, it will directly take you to the product description in our shop which will lay out, in further detail, all of the healing effects of the Comfrey infused salve and its synergistic ingredients.
Comfrey is an ideal food source for poultry due to its high protein, low fiber composition. The higher the fiber content in feed, the more nutritional content is displaced.
Interestingly enough, Comfrey isn’t just good for poultry. Its high protein content makes it an efficient supplement to the diet of pigs, goats, cattle and more.
This comprehensive study details the high mineral content that is beneficial for livestock, as well as other tidbits of helpful information on the lack of negative effects of using comfrey as a feed source.
Make Sure to only use comfrey externally (for yourself at least)!
Comfrey is not a medicinal ingredient for tinctures or teas for human consumption. It is to be applied topically, as pyrrolizidine alkaloids can be toxic to the liver and potentially carcinogenic. The FDA has banned Comfrey from any and all supplements.
However, as long as you take care not to rely on Comfrey as your livestock’s sole source of nutrition, there has been little to no evidence of actual farm animals being negatively impacted from eating it. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Check out these findings on how Comfrey was found to be superior to Alfalfa, with no noticeable hepatic toxicity to livestock.
In conclusion, Comfrey is an excellent addition to the homestead that even those with a brown thumb can manage to grow successfully.