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I like herbal remedies for gentle illnesses that we will deal with at residence, and my comfrey leaf salve has been a go-to for years. Comfrey has come below some scrutiny in medical literature, so let me take you thru the advantages and dangers of this pain-soothing, skin-nourishing herb.

What Is Comfrey Leaf?

Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) is a perennial herb with a black root. It has bushy broad leaves (that develop quick) and bell-shaped flowers that may range in coloration.

Comfrey is native to Europe and components of Asia however is now present in North America too.

For hundreds of years, comfrey has been used for illnesses like damaged bones and different wound help. They referred to as it “knit-bone” and “bone-set” for these skills. In reality, comfrey’s Latin identify Symphytum comes from the Greek symphis (“rising collectively”) and phyton (plant).

In line with its identify, comfrey ointments have been used for hundreds of years in people drugs for:

  • ache
  • bone mending
  • irritation
  • joint well being
  • bruising

Comfrey comprises many constituents which might be thought to assist with these makes use of. Two which might be most related to advantages are allantoin and rosmarinic acid.

Comfrey additionally comprises vitamins such as vitamin C which is understood to help collagen manufacturing within the pores and skin and general pores and skin well being.

Well being Advantages of Comfrey

Right here’s why comfrey leaves are a staple in my residence, and why it’s been used for hundreds of years:

Wound Care

Many cultures traditionally used comfrey on open wounds. It may be useful past cuts and scrapes even. I’ve used comfrey for bug bites or bee stings, and to assuage a stinging nettle encounter. Science helps a few of these makes use of as nicely.

A medical overview printed in 2012 exhibits that science backs conventional makes use of of comfrey for wound help. In line with the overview, analysis means that comfrey may help scale back wound measurement in addition to help collagen formation.

Moreover, “the therapeutic time when utilizing ointment containing comfrey extract was considerably shorter” in comparison with preparations with no energetic elements.

Helps Muscle and Joint Aches & Pains

As I discussed, comfrey may help with wound therapeutic in my expertise, however its advantages to the physique go deeper. Comfrey may help with ache within the physique — both muscle or joint ache.

The 2012 overview talked about above additionally discovered that comfrey is useful in supporting wholesome muscle groups and joints. Ache discount was noticed within the group utilizing comfrey topically. In one of many research, over half of members affected by joint ache discovered full symptom decision, whereas solely about 5 p.c had no enchancment in any respect.

In one other fascinating research, researchers found that comfrey resolved signs extra rapidly than cryotherapy. Comparable outcomes occurred in research specializing in decrease again ache and osteoporosis ache. Total, research discovered that comfrey was useful in supporting the reduction of ache.

Helps Blunt Damage Restoration

Comfrey is most famously used as a poultice for damaged bones. Allantoin is the constituent considered chargeable for this profit. Allantoin can diffuse by way of the pores and skin and tissues to achieve the affected space. Research additionally counsel it helps tissue formation.

I as soon as broke my pinky toe (really, this has occurred greater than as soon as due to late-night stumbling within the corridor to get water for youths) and was advised that this isn’t an harm that medical doctors can actually assist and that it must heal by itself.

I made a decision to analysis pure choices to assist with the ache and came upon details about comfrey within the course of. After extra analysis, I made a decision to make a poultice of comfrey leaf and plantain and apply to my damaged toe a number of instances a day.

Since I’d had this sort of harm earlier than, I knew that it usually took a number of weeks not less than to heal and that the ache usually lasted this lengthy. With twice-daily comfrey and plantain poultices, I seen a discount of ache inside a couple of days and the ache was nearly not-noticeable after one week!

By the second week, I used to be again to carrying no matter footwear I needed! Now I’m a believer in the advantages of comfrey.

Makes use of for Comfrey

Comfrey clearly has many advantages and has earned a spot in my natural remedy cabinet. Listed here are a number of the finest methods to make use of comfrey:

  • As a poultice for bone breaks and ankle sprains, or muscle and joint ache. (A poultice is a paste constructed from herbs (and generally clays or different elements) that’s put immediately on the pores and skin and lined with material.) That is the most secure manner to make use of herbs on the pores and skin and is what I used on my damaged toe.
  • Ointment or healing salve for topical wound dressing – I take advantage of therapeutic salves or liniments for wounds to maintain them clear and assist them shut sooner.
  • Lip salve – I add herbs to lip balms and salves for the well being advantages. On this case, including comfrey may help help wholesome lips and keep away from chapped and cracked pores and skin.
  • Black drawing salve – I discovered about this treatment from an Amish farmer who mentioned it labored nicely from drawing out splinters and even spider venom. It’s a bit difficult to make however could be very efficient.
  • After birth sitz bath – Restoration from childbirth might be tough (particularly in the event you wrestle with a sick child or postpartum despair). Add this natural treatment to a shower or Peri Bottle to assuage soreness.

Some herbalists who nonetheless suggest inner use of comfrey (below particular tips) will use comfrey tea for digestive issues, respiratory points, and urinary points. I’d not personally use it internally and suggest additional analysis and checking along with your physician earlier than you do.

Why? Learn on…

Is Comfrey Protected?

Used externally, comfrey is usually thought of protected for youngsters three or 4 years previous and older in addition to most adults.

As I discussed earlier, comfrey has come below some scrutiny. The reason being that research have pointed to comfrey having unwanted effects when taken internally. That is primarily based on the truth that comfrey comprises a lot of pyrrolizidine alkaloids that may trigger liver harm and liver illness.

Some herbalists argue that many research that got here to this conclusion remoted the pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PA) and injected or fed them to animals at greater ranges than herbalists would suggest. Within the circumstances the place individuals had damaging well being results from ingesting comfrey, the consumption of comfrey was additionally nicely above the really useful dosages.

Because the jury is out, to be on the protected facet:

  • Don’t use comfrey on any kind of damaged or irritated pores and skin.
  • Don’t use if pregnant, even for exterior use.
  • Keep away from it when you have liver issues or most cancers.
  • Don’t use comfrey in combos with anything that impacts the liver, akin to ache relievers, alcohol, and prescription medicines
  • Don’t use together with herbs akin to kava, skullcap, valerian, or CBD oil.

That being mentioned, I prefer to err on the facet of warning and keep away from inner use of comfrey if doable. One motive is that there’s possible another safer herb I can use instead of comfrey in ingestible preparations.

As all the time, consult a doctor and/or certified herbalist earlier than utilizing this or any herb!

This text was medically reviewed by Dr. Jennifer Walker, an inner drugs doctor. As all the time, this isn’t private medical recommendation and we suggest that you simply speak along with your physician or work with a health care provider at SteadyMD.

Ever used comfrey to assist a damaged bone or different use? Share beneath!

Sources:
  1. Pullar JM, Carr AC, Vissers MCM. The Roles of Vitamin C in Skin Health. Vitamins. 2017;9(8):866. Revealed 2017 Aug 12. doi:10.3390/nu9080866
  2. Staiger C. Comfrey: a clinical overview. Phytother Res. 2012;26(10):1441-1448. doi:10.1002/ptr.4612
  3. Mei N, Guo L, Fu PP, Fuscoe JC, Luan Y, Chen T. Metabolism, genotoxicity, and carcinogenicity of comfrey. J Toxicol Environ Well being B Crit Rev. 2010;13(7-8):509-526. doi:10.1080/10937404.2010.509013

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