Astrology and Health
the herb: comfrey
A Herb of Saturn
Culpeper provides the rulership of Comfrey as:
The Saturnine nature of comfrey is readily reflected by its preference for growing in dark, shady places that are cool and damp. The leaves of the plant are rough from numerous stiff hairs,
while the veins of the leaf have a blackish tinge that produces a characteristic shadowy complexion to the plant's foliage. Though the plant
can endure sunny locations, the sheer intensity of its growth in a few seasons soon produces a dense thicket. The concentration of foliage within such a thicket rapidly creates a sombre darkness in the shadow of which few other plants flourish.
This is a herb of Saturn, and I suppose under the sign Capricorn.1
It is notable in this connection that one of the ancient folk names of
the plant was blackewoort.
|Comfrey, from Gerard's Herbal, 1633.|
Speeds the Healing Process
Saturn rules the roots, which
delve down into the earth, providing foundation and stability to the aerial
parts of a plant. The roots too are the part of the plant that endures
when cold and darkness rule the depths of winter.
Accordingly, comfrey develops
notably strong roots, so that its unrestrained growth once established
make the plants hard to dig out of the ground. Many a gardener must
have cursed the plant when they have tried to reclaim their garden again! However its foliage very quickly rots down to form an excellent black compost, so that harvesting the leafy stems may be a less arduous solution to the problem of digging out a comfrey patch. Saturn is of course linked
to death and decomposition.
The predominant use of comfrey
through the centuries has been as a vulnerary [L. Vulnus = a wound] remedy.
Its use for healing wounds and injuries of all kinds, in particular the
mending of broken bones, has been established since classical times.
This explains one of the herb's lesser known names - knitbone. From
a pharmacological perspective comfrey contains the substance allantoin
which is known to stimulate cell production in the repair of connective
tissue, bone and cartilage in the body, thereby speeding up the healing
of damaged tissues. It is also noteworthy that the plant
contains significant amounts of calcium and phosphorus the very minerals
needed in the composition of bone which also must contribute to the plant's
specific healing action on bones.
Saturn traditionally rules
the bones in the body. Where the bones have become broken or lose
their integrity, then this can be seen as the influence of Saturn no longer
providing sufficient support and structure to the body. What more
appropriate remedy than to use this Saturnine herb specifically for this
purpose, to strengthen the bones and restore his influence again?
The name comfrey is thought
to be corrupted from the Latin confero meaning "to gather together"
which metaphorically captures this healing action of the herb strengthening
the tissues of the body. The same Latin word root explains another
obscure name of the herb - great confound. Similarly the generic
name Symphytum is though to be derived from the Greek symphyo meaning "to make whole" and
phyton meaning a "plant".