Welcome to the Eightfold Year. Every day a different painting will appear, along with moon phases, saints days, seasonal plants and other festive celebrations.
You can find out more about the concept of the Eightfold Year here.
We hope you enjoy this website. We will be adding content as we go through the year and welcoming your feedback and suggestions.
Onwards and Upwards!
Rites of Spring, Liverpool, Spring 2007: Jamie Reid
Moon Phases, April 2014
First Quarter – April 7, 8:31
Full Moon – April 15, 7:42
Last Quarter – April 22, 7:52
New Moon – April 29, 6:14
The Palace of Earthy Delights, Liverpool, Spring 2011: Saul Hughes
Ecgberht of Ripon
Fidelis of Sigmaringen
Wilfrid (Anglican Church)
Easter Sunday (Christian observance)
Concord Day (Niger)
Democracy Day (Nepal)
Genocide Remembrance Day (Armenia)
Kapyong Day (Australia)
Republic Day (The Gambia)
World Day for Laboratory Animals (UN recognized)
Flowering Now by Saul Hughes: Comfrey
Family: Boraginaceae. (Borage Family).
Gaelic name: Meacan Dubh and Lus Na Ccnamh Briste.
Also known as Knitbone, Bruisewort, Blackwort, Gum Plant, Slippery Root, Ass Ear, Consound, Saracens Foot and Boneset.
The Comfrey is a familiar plant to anyone that owns an allotment as it is often found in such places growing in abundance due to its amazing properties, being an excellent fertiliser and companion plant as its flowers call forth many insect feeders that would ordinarily head for the intended crops of the agriculturalist. It was also a very familiar sight in old cottage gardens and monasteries as an excellent healing herb.
The name Comfrey is from the Latin name ‘confirmane’ meaning to ‘Join Together’ as this herb is excellent in healing broken bones, hence the other folk names of ‘Knitbone’, ‘Boneset’ and ‘Bruisewort’. The name ‘Consound’ is from the Latin ‘Consolida’ the root of the English word consolidate, and in this context meaning to ‘make solid’ in reference to the herbs ability in healing broken bones. The folk names of ‘Ass Ear’ stems from the hairy leaf of this plant reminding the ancients of the ear of an ass, the name ‘Blackwort’ stems from the blackish external colour of the healing roots, ‘Wort’ being an old Anglo-Saxon name for any healing plant, the name ‘Gum Plant’ stems from this plant containing large amounts of mucilage and gum, hence also the name ‘Slippery Root’. The name of ‘Saracens Foot’ comes from the observations of the European knights who fought in the crusader wars and noted that this plant was greatly used by the Saracens and was grown in great numbers in Saracen held areas.
The name of the Genus ‘Symphytum’ is from the Greek ‘Symphyo’ meaning to ‘unite’ again in allusion to the bone healing properties of this plant. The name of the Species ‘Officinale’ is in reference to this species being the preferred chosen one for healing usage and to distinguish it from other species of Comfrey. The name of the Family this belongs to Boraginaceae comes from the work of Antoine Laurent De Jussieu (1748-1836) who based the name on Carl Linnaeus’s (1707-1778) name of this family order ‘Borago’ which in turn is from the Latin ‘Burra’ meaning a ‘Hairy Garment’; Antoine Laurent De Jussieu published his monumental work the ‘Genera Plantarum’ in 1789 and it made significant improvements on the system of binomial nomenclature as expounded by Carl Linnaeus, so much so that the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (ICBN) which sets its formal starting date from the publication of Carl Linnaeus’s ‘Species Plantarum’ (1753) now contains 76 of Jussieu’s plant family names compared to just 11 of its founder Carl Linnaeus.
The Gaelic name ‘Meacan Dubh’ means the ‘Large’ or ‘Dark Plant’ and ‘Lus Na Ccnamh Briste’ means the ’Plant for broken Bones’.
Medicinally Comfrey contains: Allantoin (Promotes cell proliferation and wound healing and is a soothing anti-irritant), Mucilage (Used as a cough repellent), Sarracine (Used in the treatment of peptic ulcerations), Platypylline (Used to treat bronchial asthma, muscle spasms of the abdominal organs, vascular spasms and to dilate the pupils), Triterpenes (A precursor to steroids), Phenolic Acids, Rosmarinic Acid, Gamma Linoleic Acid, Caffeic Acids, Chlorogenic Acids, Lithospermic Acids, Pantothenic Acid (All these acids acts an anti-oxidant and are used to promote weight loss), Steroidal (promotes blood circulation), Saponins (Used in dietary supplements and nuriceuticals i.e. provides health and medical benefits), Phenolic Compounds (Used as an disinfectant), Echimidine, Isobauerenol, Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids (These Alkaloids have recently been identified as being damaging to the liver in large doses and caution is now advised as using comfrey as a food source), Inulin (Helps to measure kidney function), Pro-Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B12, Potassium, Iron, Zinc, Phosphorus, Calcium and Nitrogen.
Comfrey acts as an: Astringent (Shrinks body tissues and used to check blood discharge, haemorrhages, diarrhoea, peptic ulcers, stretch marks, fungal infections and insect bites), Anodyne (A pain killer), Demulcent (Demulcents have soothing actions and can soothe the entire length of the gastrointestinal tract, relaxes bronchial tension, eases coughing and fortifies the stomach against gastric acids), Haemostatic (Retards or stops the flow of blood within the blood vessels), Vulnerary (Heals wounds), Emollient (Helps to soften, soothe and protect the skin) and Expectorant (Expels mucous from the upper respiratory system, soothes the bronchial passages, reduces spasm and can aid in the expulsion of material from the lungs).
Comfrey is used for the treatment of intestinal troubles, because of it containing large amounts of mucilage, helping aid diarrhoea and dysentery. It is effective in treating lung troubles, whooping cough, asthma, quinsy and all pulmonary complaints, bleeding of the lungs, consumption, internal haemorrhages and peptic ulcers. Applied externally comfrey is most excellent for fixing broken bones, and healing sprains, fractures, arthritis, swellings, bruises, severe cuts, helps in the suppuration of boils and abscesses, inflammatory swellings, healing scar tissues, minor burns, eczema, psoriasis and soothes bee stings, spider bites, treats skin staph infections and athletes foot. The mucilage in comfrey heals ulcers by coating them and destroying amoebic parasites. It is used internally for haemorrhoids, diarrhoea and ulcers in the stomach.
Nicholas Culpeper (1616-1654) recommends comfrey for ‘those that spit blood, those that make a bloody urine, inward hurts, bruises, wounds, ulcers of the lungs causing phlegm that oppresseth them to be easily spit forth, it stayeth the defluxions of the rheum from the head upon the lungs, the fluxes of blood or humours by the belly, women’s immoderate courses, as well as the reds and the whites; the running of the reins, good for outward wounds and sores in the fleshy or sinewy parts of the body, takes away the fits of ague and is especially good for ruptures and broken bones, it represses the overmuch bleeding of the haemorrhoids, cools the inflammation of the parts thereabout and give ease of pains, aids the gout, pained joints, moist ulcers, gangrenes and mortifications and the like’.
Comfrey has also been used as spinach type vegetable and the young leaves as a green vegetable and was eaten in Ireland as a cure for defective circulation and for poor blood; it has also been used to flavour cakes and other preparations. Its roots have been used to make a vegetable coffee and its leaves as a tea.
Comfrey products have now been restricted because of the hepatotoxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids that can cause severe liver damage and possibly even death, though the overall risks are very low, and no restrictions have been placed on the dried leaves used as a tea and it is believed that no toxicity has been found in the common comfrey (Symphytum Officinale) but in other species of comfrey it has. The use of Comfrey externally on deep wounds is now avoided because it can rapidly close the wound trapping in dirt or pus; pregnant women are to avoid it all costs; though its benefits in treating severe bone diseases such as rickets, Paget’s disease (Enlarged or deformed bones), fractured bones, tuberculosis etc far out way any risks, and no other medicinal plant can replenish wasted bone cells with the speed of comfrey.
Magically Comfrey is under the dominion of the planet Saturn. Comfrey root was carried on the person for safety and protection whist travelling to ward of the unknown evils that my befall one and also for bringing about good luck on the journey, and was also put into belongings to prevent their theft. Money wrapped in comfrey leaves a couple of days before going gambling will help you win more money. It was widely believed that if women bathed in comfrey it would bring back their virginity and was also often bathed in before doing any type of love charm. Comfrey is also used in divination spells.
The Herb was held sacred to the Celtic deities of Lir (A sea god), Manannan Mac Lir (Son of Lir the sea God), Aine (Wife of Manannan Mac Lir) and to the chthonic Greco-Roman Goddess Hecate (Goddess of the crossroads).
Comfrey is also a valued food and medicine for domesticated animals, pigs are said to relish it, horses will eat it in the absence of anything else, and rabbits will avoid it, because of rabbits not being fond of comfrey it is often used as a companion plant, being grown around crops to protect them from the jaws of rabbits who will avoid this plant, planted near strawberries it enriches the soil and the crop of strawberries will be more productive, larger and sweeter. Comfrey is much used in making a wholesome fertiliser that improves all vegetables grown in agricultural gardens and allotments. It is also very beneficial to insects, bees, butterflies and pests that would often invade food crops, making this an excellent companion plant to lure potential pests away from the main crops. *
Also on this day:
1558 – Mary, Queen of Scots, marries the Dauphin of France, François, at Notre Dame de Paris.
1904 – The Lithuanian press ban is lifted after almost 40 years.
1916 – Easter Rising: The Irish Republican Brotherhood led by nationalists Patrick Pearse, James Connolly, and Joseph Plunkett starts a rebellion in Ireland.
1916 – Ernest Shackleton and five men of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition launch a lifeboat from uninhabited Elephant Island in the Southern Ocean to organise a rescue for the ice-trapped ship Endurance.
1932 – Benny Rothman leads the mass trespass of Kinder Scout, leading to substantial legal reforms pertaining to Right of Way in the United Kingdom.
1955 – The Bandung Conference ends: 29 non-aligned nations of Asia and Africa finish a meeting that condemns colonialism, racism, and the Cold War.
1967 – Vietnam War: American General William Westmoreland says in a news conference that the enemy had "gained support in the United States that gives him hope that he can win politically that which he cannot win militarily."
1990 – STS-31: The Hubble Space Telescope is launched from the Space Shuttle Discovery.
2006 – King Gyanendra of Nepal gives into the demands of protesters and restores the parliament that he dissolved in 2002.
* All information regarding the uses of the plants is exactly for that informational purposes only, and that the author and owners of the web do not encourage anyone to be eating, or disturbing wild plants, but merely to admire them in their natural environment and to ponder on their rise and fall within human culture.