Comfrey is a member of the Borage and Forget-me-not family. It is a rough, hairy plant with fleshy, fibrous roots, large lower leaves and clusters of yellow or purple flowers. The herb grows mainly in England and Wales, and has been used in folk medicine for centuries primarily for healing wounds and broken bones.
The most medicinally active ingredient in comfrey is its mucilage, a sticky substance in its root and stem. This mucilage is used as an emollient, an astringent and an expectorant. Comfrey is often recommended as a gentle remedy for diarrhea or dysentery. It is notably effective for soothing coughs and even internal hemorrhages.
As a topical agent, comfrey can be applied to sprains, strains, swellings and bruises. A comfrey poultice can help heal cuts, boil, abscesses and ulcers.
Comfrey, mixed with herbs like dandelion and chicory, makes a convincing coffee substitute - all the taste without the caffeine side-effects.