Comfrey symphytum officinale
Comfrey was very popular in middle ages and was frequently seen in monastic gardens. It became a herb garden staple through 1700s and 1800s. Its main documented use was for bruising, sprains, minor wounds, mastitis and broken bones. Foster (2012) suggests that Comfrey may be a corruption of Latin ‘confirma’ meaning ‘to make firm’ or ‘confervere’ meaning ‘to boil or grow together’. Additionally, ‘symphytum’ (genus name) comes from Greek ‘sympho’ which also suggests knitting together. Many documented colloquial names exist such as knitbone, boneset and bruisewort and these names reflect centuries of use to promote healing of sprains, fractures and bones.
We always have a jar of infused comfrey in the Brew Room because whilst it should not be taken internally, it is hugely beneficial for adding to salves and creams intended for topical use in the event of bumps and bruises.