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I really like herbal remedies for delicate illnesses that we are able to handle at house, and my comfrey leaf salve has been a go-to for years. Comfrey has come underneath 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 furry broad leaves (that develop quick) and bell-shaped flowers that may differ in shade.
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 assist. They referred to as it “knit-bone” and “bone-set” for these skills. The truth is, comfrey’s Latin title Symphytum comes from the Greek symphis (“rising collectively”) and phyton (plant).
In line with its title, comfrey ointments have been used for hundreds of years in people medication for:
- bone mending
- joint well being
Comfrey incorporates many constituents which are thought to assist with these makes use of. Two which are most related to advantages are allantoin and rosmarinic acid.
Comfrey additionally incorporates vitamins such as vitamin C which is understood to assist 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 house, and why it’s been used for 1000’s of years:
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 appease a stinging nettle encounter. Science helps a few of these makes use of as nicely.
A scientific overview printed in 2012 reveals that science backs conventional makes use of of comfrey for wound assist. In accordance with the overview, analysis means that comfrey might help cut back wound dimension in addition to assist collagen formation.
Moreover, “the therapeutic time when utilizing ointment containing comfrey extract was considerably shorter” in comparison with preparations with no lively components.
Helps Muscle and Joint Aches & Pains
As I discussed, comfrey might help with wound therapeutic in my expertise, however its advantages to the physique go deeper. Comfrey might help with ache inside the physique — both muscle or joint ache.
The 2012 overview talked about above additionally discovered that comfrey is useful in supporting wholesome muscle tissue 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 examine, researchers found that comfrey resolved signs extra shortly 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 regarded as answerable for this profit. Allantoin can diffuse by way of the pores and skin and tissues to succeed in the affected space. Research additionally recommend it helps tissue formation.
I as soon as broke my pinky toe (really, this has occurred greater than as soon as because of late-night stumbling within the corridor to get water for youths) and was instructed 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 such a harm earlier than, I knew that it typically took a number of weeks at the very least to heal and that the ache typically lasted this lengthy. With twice-daily comfrey and plantain poultices, I observed 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 sporting 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 among 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 constituted of herbs (and typically clays or different components) that’s put straight on the pores and skin and lined with material.) That is the most secure means 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 might help assist wholesome lips and keep away from chapped and cracked pores and skin.
- Black drawing salve – I realized about this treatment from an Amish farmer who stated it labored nicely from drawing out splinters and even spider venom. It’s a bit sophisticated to make however could be very efficient.
- After birth sitz bath – Restoration from childbirth could be troublesome (particularly when you wrestle with a sick child or postpartum melancholy). Add this natural treatment to a shower or Peri Bottle to appease soreness.
Some herbalists who nonetheless advocate inside use of comfrey (underneath particular tips) will use comfrey tea for digestive issues, respiratory points, and urinary points. I might not personally use it internally and advocate additional analysis and checking along with your physician earlier than you do.
Why? Learn on…
Is Comfrey Secure?
Used externally, comfrey is mostly thought-about protected for youngsters three or 4 years outdated and older in addition to most adults.
As I discussed earlier, comfrey has come underneath some scrutiny. The reason being that research have pointed to comfrey having unwanted side effects when taken internally. That is primarily based on the truth that comfrey incorporates a lot of pyrrolizidine alkaloids that may trigger liver injury 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 increased ranges than herbalists would advocate. Within the instances the place folks had damaging well being results from ingesting comfrey, the consumption of comfrey was additionally nicely above the really helpful dosages.
Because the jury is out, to be on the protected aspect:
- Don’t use comfrey on any sort of damaged or irritated pores and skin.
- Don’t use if pregnant, even for exterior use.
- Keep away from it you probably have liver issues or most cancers.
- Don’t use comfrey in mixtures with anything that impacts the liver, resembling ache relievers, alcohol, and prescription drugs
- Don’t use together with herbs resembling kava, skullcap, valerian, or CBD oil.
That being stated, I wish to err on the aspect of warning and keep away from inside use of comfrey if potential. One purpose is that there’s possible another safer herb I can use rather than comfrey in ingestible preparations.
As at all times, consult a doctor and/or certified herbalist earlier than utilizing this or any herb!
This text was medically reviewed by Dr. Jennifer Walker, an inside medication doctor. As at all times, this isn’t private medical recommendation and we advocate that you just discuss 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 under!
- 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
- Staiger C. Comfrey: a clinical overview. Phytother Res. 2012;26(10):1441-1448. doi:10.1002/ptr.4612
- 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