Comfrey

Comfrey’s latin name is Symphytim officinale, and it is from the Boraginaceoe family. Other names that it is known by include bruisewort and knitbone. -These names coming from how it is used. Although a native European plant, comfrey has been taught to grow in various temperate zones from around the world. It is a compacted perennial that usually grows one or two stalks. These stalks in turn grow to a height of approximately one meter high. Comfrey features various sizes of arrow-like leaves, and depending upon the species, will have white, pink or purple flowers.

In medicinal purposes, it is most common for the above-ground part of the plant to be used. Although, the roots of the plant can be used in a tincture they could never be consumed because the roots can be extremely toxic. Comfrey can be harvested anytime during the growth cycle, but preferably not when it is flowering. This is most likely so the plant can come to seed.

Comfrey is extremely beneficial in relieving inflammation and pain due to injuries such as rheumatoid arthritis, breaks and sprains. It will also speed up the healing process for pus-filled wounds though comfrey should never be applied to new puncture wounds or deep cuts. The reason for this is comfrey will cause the outermost layers of the skin to heal before the deeper tissues have an opportunity to do the same. Comfrey also treats skin tags, warts and the reddening irritation around wrinkles by promoting new cell growth through a process called cell proliferation.

Comfrey can be used in tinctures; a water extract; teas; oils, salves or creams; and in a poultice form. The easiest and most commonly used form of comfrey is through an allantoin cream. Allantoin is the compound found in comfrey that aids in cell growth and renewal. The cream should only be applied to the affected skin because it may cause irritation to the non-affected skin. Dried roots or dried comfrey leaves can be made into a herbal oil which will be helpful in making homeopathic salves or creams.

For sprains, muscle and ligment problem a comfrey poultice is the second best recommendation especially for homeopathic remedies. It is most important to apply the poultice immediately after the injury has occurred. The poultice can be made out of fresh or dried parts of the plant whether the roots or leaves. A good combination for a comfrey poultice/concoction is dried comfrey leaves, lemongrass oil, beeswax (as a base), lavender oil, myrrh, chamomile oil and rosemary oil. Lemongrass oil is helpful for sprains, bruising, and it promotes muscle healing. Acting as a anti-inflammatory, lavender oil will also speed up would healing. Aside from that it is a calming agent. Myrrh works as a anti-micro biotic, an anti-fungal, an astringent, an anti-inflammatory, immune stimulant, and a circulatory stimulant. It is very important to note that myrrh cannot by those who are pregnant. Chamomile oil is another anti-inflammatory agent. Last but not least, rosemary oil promotes healthy blood flow within muscles while also releasing tension. This is extremely beneficial for healing.

Comfrey should not be taken by those who are pregnant or nursing. Ingesting large quantities of comfrey could hard the fetus/infant because comfrey contains liver-toxic ‘PAs’. The PAs are most highly concentrated in the roots which is why the roots should not be ingested. Also note that the Russian comfrey and various hybridized forms of comfrey are most toxic than the S. officinale species.