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    I realise this is probably a long shot, but has anyone got a spare copy or know of anywhere I could buy this book from ?


    Never seen it, and I have a big collection of herby books, and access to the Herb society library. Comfrey is not recommended for internal use nowadays, because of the liver effects. It seems to be an effective herb, but the risk of liver cancer makes it not a good one to try. Externally, or for veterinary use, go for it!

    I can let you have my chapter on comfrey, I have researched it pretty thoroughly. Not sure, but I think I have a printed copy on hand, $3 should cover postage. Or might be able to email it for free. This is from my book, the whole thing costs about $30, postage extra, should be able to do it for $40 to any state. The bibliography alone runs for 5 pages, I have read all the good herb references I can get hold of!

    Please no requests to email the whole book as chapters for free, I am generous, but not to an unlimited extent!


    Greth post=312126 wrote: It seems to be an effective herb, but the risk of liver cancer makes it not a good one to try. Externally, or for veterinary use, go for it!

    It’s not just liver cancer Greth but a whole but a whole lot of other liver damage that can occur. Basically it’s a milder lower dose form in Comfrey of a group of alkaloids that are present in things like Patterson’s curse and ragwort.

    ? I’d avoid giving it to horses they are particularly susceptible to the liver damage caused by these alkaloids.


    I’ve borrowed quite a few books from Isabell (we live near each other), never this one though, but many of her reference books are sadly now out of print.

    Need to do some detective work and try to find one second hand

    Good luck,



    Comfrey is simply an amazing plant.

    many of the information these days is wrong or has been distorted with time.

    it is true that it is banned for internal consumption as it will cause liver issues.

    this is disputed by many. i myself have tried the herbal tea from the leaves and found it very refreshing. however i only had it once or twice and not long term.

    although i couldn’t recommend it for human consumption the leaves and roots make an excellent cream to heal cuts etc. i also am growing it for my chooks and goats.

    i may have access 😉 to the original book by LD Hills pm me with you email and I’ll see what i can do.




    Hi EW, I think comfrey is an amazing herb also and I am trying to find info based pre all the anti info .. thanks, a pm is on it’s way 🙂


    Hi, I have not been around for awhile after shifting to Tasmania and life as it does, getting busy.

    You may have come across this information and books but thought I would throw them into the mix in case you haven’t.

    There are some excellent books regarding the use of comfrey – one is “Comfrey – Natures Healing Herb and Health Food” by Andrew Hughes and the Other is some good information in “How can I use Herbs in my daily life” by Isabell Shipard. Both books give a lot of statistics and proven information regarding the positive long time use of Comfrey and some background on much of the mis-information available. I wont go over the info in these books as it is written far better than I could.

    I would like to add that I personally have fed comfrey to all types of animals (horses, pigs, cattle, sheep, rabbits) regularly for over 20 years (and still do) with no adverse effects and in fact raising very happy and healthy animals. In the case of the farm animals, I also check the livers on despatch, and the livers are incredibly healthy.

    In some cases I have cured very sickly animals by adding comfrey to their diet. My husbands father also fed cattle in Cornwall on comfrey for most of his farming life and was a staunch advocate for its health benefits, particularly prior to birthing.

    On the human level, I have also had in depth discussions with very elderly people who have taken comfrey for many, many years with again nothing but praise, and as these people were all well over 80’s,still very active, and possibly healthier than me 🙂 I can only come to the conclusion, based on this first hand experience and confirmed by Andrew Hughes and Isobell Shipard amongst many other respected advocates, that comfrey is a wonderful herb for health and wellbeing of both humans and animals.

    I also use comfrey as a foliar spray for vegetable and fruit tree health. The areas treated with this also have the best biology on the farm not to mention the wonderful healing effects as an ointment. I could go on and on about comfrey’s versatility but I think you get the picture that for me comfrey is one of my favourite herbs and one that I probably use the most regularly.

    Hope this has been helpful and good luck with your research




    Hi there Mauzi, nice to see you back :hug:

    Thanks for your contribution.. a welcome one at that. I believe it to be an extremely healing herb to man and beast also, using it regularly.

    Do you have a recipe for your foliar vege spray ?

    There is that much growing around here, I use it as a mulch 🙂


    Hi Humbug,

    Nice to be back.

    I love comfrey for a foliar spray because besides loads of minerals in general it is particularly good for a calcium boost. I lightly pack a bucket, boil a jug of water and pour over it (which I think is better for extraction rather than boiling it in water – although that also works but maybe not as much – personal opinion) then fill the bucket with water (rain water if you can) and let sit for a week. Basically it is a fermented mix and then you can dilute it as you need it. I use it on big areas so this bucket can be diluted over 300 litres. I have used it much more concentrated and I test this by squeezing a leaf juice into a refractometer, getting a reading, then spraying on a small area (even a couple of leaves or one plant) and then leaving for 1 hour and then re-testing with the refractometer – (squeezing the juice of a portion of leaf that has been sprayed) and if it raises the reading by 2 or more then i use that strength. If it doesn’t raise it, then the plant doesn’t need it. Saves a fortune on using stuff that wont work on that particular plant. Happy to talk further about this if anyone is interested.


    Thanks for that.

    I don’t have a refractometer.. so it would be done by guess work. I am keen to explore and find ways to use comfrey.. so I will give it a go.


    If you don’t have a refractometer, then just test it and see and feel what the plant looks like as they usually look more vibrant if the mix is good. I haven’t seen many plants that don’t look better :laugh: so you would be pretty safe I think. Let me know how you go.




    mauzi post=315825 wrote: If you don’t have a refractometer, then just test it and see and feel what the plant looks like as they usually look more vibrant if the mix is good. I haven’t seen many plants that don’t look better :laugh: so you would be pretty safe I think. Let me know how you go.



    Will do.. thanks 🙂



    Have been reading this thread with great interest. I also have lots of comfrey and we use it for making a liquid fertiliser, put it on the compost heap and it makes a wonderful mulch, breaking down quickly and holding back weed growth.

    Take care,

    Bobbs :hug:

    PS: I like the idea of spraying plants with the liquid. Will try that.


    I have a refractometer but use it for brewing.

    What is the basic method of using it with plants and with the comfrey fertiliser/teas ?

    If anyone needs a refractometer, when I checked locally and saw $180 prices for them I got a bit miffed and tracked down the China factory where they were made. I have some eBay shops in HK that sell them for about $24 – $26 or so. Not expensive at all if you order online and overseas.




    Hi Peter,

    I believe their may be different types of refractometers but you will need one that reads up to 30 which covers most situations. Their are multiple uses of a refractometer so I will mention the main uses.

    Please make sure you read the instructions with your refractometer and calibrate it. Make sure your hands are clean and that the machine is cleaned after each use or it will effect your reading. The readings can vary at different times of the day i.e., morning or afternoon or after rain or before storms so try and take the first reading at the same time of day and same circumstances if you are running a longer check for other various uses.

    1. Foliar Sprays – In regards to checking if a foliar sprays are useful for your plants or even to do a test plot with different sprays to see which one is best at the time, you take a leaf (or part of a leaf for bigger plants) put it through a good garlic press and squeeze the juice onto the refractometer – turn refractometer towards the light and take a reading. If using a manual machine also check if the line is sharp or fuzzy (explain this later).

    2. Spray the plant with desired foliar if checking one, if checking more divide plants into numbers (making sure each spray does not drift) and spray. Leave an hour and return and take tests again. If the numbers have risen more than two it is worth putting on the spray and if not, you are wasting your money as it wont have any positive effect so try something else. I have seen changes of up to 8 within this time if a foliar is needed and the difference in quality and quantity of food is enormous.

    Checking nutritional value of your vegetables

    Refractometers are also used extensively to check nutritional value of your food. Charts are available to let you know the different values of vegetable. Type a search for “Brix Charts” and this will give you a guideline. As a general rule when a vegetable reaches 12, it contains the necessary balance of minerals for human health and is also disease resistant.

    You will get a surprise when you start measuring food, particularly in the shops that much of our food is measuring between 2 and 4 which simply means that you are not getting the necessary nutrition from what you are eating. You may also get some surprises in your own garden as well as if your soil is not minerally balanced and functioning your tests may come out low as well. Good news though, at least you know what you are eating and have a way of measuring how you are going.

    You can test pretty much anything here, including pastures. Test your vegetables as well in the same way. These particular checks should be done just after picking otherwise it is likely that you will get a higher reading. That means food you are testing in the shop may read higher than is actually the true reading but even then you will most likely find they are low. Some vegetables do not have a lot of juice and this can be more difficult to get a reading.

    I mentioned a fuzzy line before. There is a bit of a story that a fuzzy line means high calcium but it is not possible to have high calcium and low brix because if the calcium level is high the brix will be high as well because all the minerals are available. Just a little tip there in case you hear this one.

    There are also many other uses for refractometers but these are two of the main uses that everyone could do.

    I would like to encourage everyone to use refractometers as part of their essential gardening and health practices.



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