comfrey plant                                                       

 

Comfrey (Symphytum uplandica x) also known as knitbone has blue, pink or purple flowers, this is the cultivated comfrey, the one gardeners and herbalists use. The x means its a hybrid grown in the garden and has tall flowering stalks. The leaves are safe to use and are free of PAs that can damage the liver. The root contains the PAs so don’t use it.

Wild comfrey (Symphytum officinale) is a small plant with yellow flowers that we don’t use. Both the wild comfrey roots and the leaves contain PAs (pyrrolizidine alkaloids) which are poisonous.

Comfrey Is Good For Your Body

This herb strengthens your bones and mends broken ones which is how it got its name knitbone. The leaves contain allantoin which boosts new skin cell growth and heals any injury quickly and thoroughly. The leaves also contain rosmarinic acid that helps relieve pain and inflammation. Because comfrey speeds healing so quickly, don’t use on open or deep wounds as dirt or other foreign substances can become trapped below the skin and cause an infection.

Drinking comfrey infusion 2x a week will keep your bones strong and help avoid osteoporosis. Besides bones it helps heal and strengthen the respiratory tract, digestion, skin, hemorrhoids and lungs. This powerful herb also relieves pain and swelling from arthritis.

Comfrey is rich in vitamin B12, which is important to vegetarians, as very few plants have B12. It is also rich in vitamins B1, B2, C, E, A and pantothenic acid plus calcium, iron, manganese and phosphorus. Here is a link to my post on making infusions. An infusion is a strong tea left to infuse for many hours before drinking.

Comfrey produces mucilage that coats and soothes irritated tissues and reduces inflammation. Because it helps relax and soothe membranes, it is useful in treating coughs, asthma and bronchitis. Drinking an infusion of comfrey will help alleviate this.

Comfrey Oil And Salve Benefits

Apart from helping treat superficial wounds, comfrey oil is also useful for fractured bones or torn ligaments in areas of the body where it is not possible to place a cast, such as a rib. It can be applied directly onto your skin promoting faster healing. It helps to reconstruct torn muscles that have been injured. Several years ago I fell down the cellar stairs and broke 3 ribs and punctured my lung. Applying this oil helped me heal faster and this surprised the doctor!

Applying comfrey salves can quickly soothe pain and irritated tissues. The salves help reduce healing time. The salve (from my Etsy shop) helps heal burns, sprains, bruises and even slight bone fractures. A poultice made of the leaves applied to the break area helps larger breaks heal.

The salve and oil are ones that I always have on hand in my herbal medicine cabinet.

The plants leaves have so many healing benefits both internally and topically, it is amazing for healing minor cuts, scrapes and wounds. Comfrey improves skin health, relieves upper and lower back pain, treats ankle sprain, and reduces osteoarthritis symptoms. It really works wonders!

A tea made from this herb is highly effective for your hair. The tea nourishes your hair makes hair shiny, soft and smooth. If you apply it as a rinse after shampooing, it could help prevent hair issues such as dryness, dandruff and breakage.

Are There Any Side Effects Of Comfrey?

Comfrey contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) which may cause liver damage, liver cancer, and death according to studies done on rats. No clinical studies on humans have been done.

Teas and infusions are water-based extractions and have fewer alkaloids in them because water is a weak extractor of alkaloids. Tinctures are alcohol-based extractions, so they are going to have more alkaloids because alcohol is a much stronger extractor.

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