Wednesday, April 13, 2016

K is for Knit Bone...

Dear Littler B,

Hi there from  April of 2016. I am working on getting this letter to you before sundown today so that I can say that that the letter K in the A to Z Challenge was actually met on time. I am making no promises however.

Today, just so you know...

 is for Knit Bone (Comfrey)

Origin & Identification

Knit bone, otherwise known as comfrey is one you will become very familiar with for the wrong reasons. In planting your first herb garden you are going to quickly find out that it will grow, and grow and grow. The leaves of this plant take over like you wouldn't believe. It is hardy so it is going to grow well in NJ where you are now in the late 80s. You will be lucky however because this is a perennial plant (as defined by "
perpetual; everlasting; continuing; recurrent.") so not only will it take over, it just won't go away! BONUS! ha ha  When they say it is a "showy plant", they really mean it.

I've thrown this one at you under it's folk name Knit Bone because of its practical uses (You can read below for those) and quite honestly because I needed a K that fell in the feminine side of the spectrum.

Knit bone has black, turnip-like roots and LARGE, hairy broad leaves. Use your gloves when you harvest or prune because those hairs are really annoying to sensitive fingers and skin! It grows tiny bell-shaped flowers usually cream or purplish, (yours will be purple) and may be striped. While is native to Europe, grows in damp, grassy places, and is locally frequent throughout Ireland and Britain on river banks and ditches. I believe this is why Lake Hopatcong was the prime location for this plant to do what it was best at and become a space hog in the garden.

Knit Bone / Comfrey prefers cool climates but full sun. I wonder if I had planted in a not so sunny section of the garden might this one have not taken over? The soil needs to be rich, but obviously its not picky. WARNING: Fertilize only once in a while if at all. Some day if I find all my photo disks I will show you how that garden took over my yard. You will love and hate it at the same time. Or, more likely I will wait and let you get to the year 2003 and make your own mistakes there to learn from.

Practical Uses of Knit Bone

Purple short leg cast
By Pagemaker787 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0
via Wikimedia Commons
They say that Knit Bone can be used internally, however I strongly suggest you dont. Its uses externally are so plenty that taking it in is really not necessary.  In the current "pharmaceutical age" we live in, the United States has actually banned ANY internal use of this herb. Err on the side of caution and like Nancy Reagan once said "Just Say No!". (Although where you are it might seem completely unbelievable but here in 2016 they have finally started rolling out medicinal and recreational marijuana - so who knows who to believe)

Now, what it can do for you topically is amazing.  I have known people with deep bruises who applied this leave straight to their leg, alternating leaves for three days and the bruise was gone. I was amazed at what I saw.  It is known to be an astringent, reduce inflammation and control bleeding so it sure did it's job! It also is known to make cells grow faster and heal breaks, wounds and burns quickly and leave only small scarring hence the name "knit-bone".  It contains a substance known as allantoin which causes this effect. 

Metaphysical Uses

Knitbone is a feminine herb, aligned with the planet Saturn and the element water (quite possibly why it is a water hog).  It is a sacred herb to Hecate and is used in workings dealing with any of the powers of its alignment as well as safety during travel and money.

Besides the plethora of magic caused by it's practical uses and those mentioned above, it is also said to use in protect against theft. I will say in all the years I had this herb growing near my front door I never had a problem with theft, however I can't say as I had anything worth stealing.

Putting knit bone in your luggage prior to travel will help make sure your luggage doesn't get lost.
As it is associated with travel you can also add it hanging from your mirror or placed under your seat to protect your vehicle and those within it. I once saw in Laurie Cabbott's shop in Salem a "Star in a Jar" to hang from the rear view mirror that had on it something to the effect of "may this star in a jar protect you whether near or far". When placed in an apothecary jar like the one below and hung from the mirror with some knit bone it would be ideal for this purpose.

Knit bone burned with mugwort aids in divination and concentration and can be used by itself or in together for letting yourself get out of and heal from unhealthy relationships. (Yep! Used it there!) When used in a bath after ritual for an hour it can relax and cleanse, especially after the draining it gives you when being used in healing work.

Enough writing and arming you for the day with the letter K! See you tomorrow for (SPOILER: L is for Lavender)

Sending you healing,

Bigger Little B

Again thanks to the bestie, enjoy the following for a Healing Soak:

Knit Bone (Comfrey)  healing poultice (tea)
  °Bring a quart of water to boil. Turn off the heat.
  °Add 2 large fresh Comfrey leaves or 1/4 cup of dried leaves.
  °Cover pan and let the leaves steep for at least 20 minutes. 
  °Strain and use for a soak.

Use for as long as you can tolerate it. Soak the affected area for at least 15-20 minutes.  Dry the area and cover with Comfrey salve. Bandage. Repeat at least 3 times a day.


  1. Very well put together. Obviously did your homework. Nice going songbird....

  2. Oh wow! That has so many benefits to using it. I had no clue.

  3. Thank you Sandy, yes this is one that I have almost always grown. It's topical healing properties are right up there with aloe!