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Comfrey - symphytum officinale

Updated on May 17, 2016

Boraginaceae comfrey - grande consoude, herbe a la coupure

Comfrey is a perennial herb that grows up to 1meter. Stem is rigid, hollow, fleshy, densely covered with hairs, branched only in the upper part. Flowers are purple pr pink, bell shaped. The floral stem and sepals are covered with hairs. Blooms from April to September. Comfrey is usually located in moist meadows, postures and fields, on the banks of rivers and streams, around the roads and canals, mainly on the fertile soil, up to above 1000meters above sea level. Propagation is done by seed and vegetatively. The drug is in the root (Symphyti or Consolidea radix), it can be removed in the fall or in the spring as soon as the plant starts to scroll.

HEALING PROPERTIES OF COMFREY - NATURAL CARE

Comfrey is more than great natural care for inflammation of tendons, arthritis (inflammation of joints), joint swelling, sprains or dislocations, fractures, back pain and extremities, vertebral defects, osteoporosis. Besides this it is good for thrombophlebitis (inflammation of veins), varicose veins, hemorrhoids, circulation disorders. Packs of comfrey in the form of a tincture made from the root of this plant are a real treat for all types of the exterior and interior wounds, and other body injuries, such as bleeding, contusions, bruises, cuts, fractures of bones, etc. It is recommended in cases of internal bleeding either from the lungs, stomach, intestine, uterus...

In some parts of Ireland comfrey is eaten as a cure for blood circulation and enhancement of blood count, which is considered to be completely safe and innocuous natural substance.

For external use is best to use fresh chopped comfrey root. In case it isn't available, you can use the tincture of this plant.

Thanks to its great power of regeneration of cells, tincture of comfrey is a valuable natural mean for rejuvenation of old and wrinkled skin of the face and hands, removing wrinkles especially around the eyes and restoring damaged skin by using artificial cosmetics and due to excessive sun exposure. After longer use of tincture, face and hands skin is fully regenerated and reborn.

Teas from the root, rarely leaf of comfrey is used in the treatment of gastritis and ulcers of the stomach and duodenum (usually in combination with sweet flag, sweet root and plantain). This is explained by the action of mucus, tannin and of course allantoin. Comfrey tea mixtures are recommended for problems with the colon. Because of its high tannin content and mucus, comfrey effectively stops diarrhea. Comfrey relieves cough and accelerates the expulsion of mucus, helps with bronchitis and pulmonary emphysema.

In the last few years more and more herbalists don't recommend internal use of comfrey, because scientists have discovered pyrrolizidine alkaloid in it in traces. This substance is damaging the liver. However, it seems that this fear is quite unjustified considering that a glass of beer has more of these compounds than a cup of comfrey tea. However, don't drink more than 3 cups of tea a day and avoid this herb if your liver is not healthy. External use of this plant is completely safe.

From the leaves of comfrey, submerged in rainwater, one can make a good remedy for spraying garden plants, because comfrey protects against insects.

COMFREY NATURALLY REGENERATES CELLS - Uses of comfrey

Comfrey is for centuries successfully used for treatment of rheumatism, gout and all joint disease. This plant contains a hormone auxin, which quickly generates new tissue, so it helps wounds to heal faster and allantoin as the main active ingredient of the root, which accelerates the granulation and tissue regeneration. Beside allantoin in this plant were discovered hydrocolloid polysaccharides, immunostimulatory substances that are found in burdock root, lemon balm, plantain, mistletoe, call and marigolds. Due to the content of allantoin this plant became a part of of different ointments for wound healing, anti-hemorrhoids and varicose veins.

Less known fact is that comfrey can e used as a liquid fertilizer in gardening. It is rich with potassium and is suitable for fertilization of root vegetables, especially tomatoes. In next lines I will present you how to prepare this comfrey liquid fertilizer.

In the beginning of flowering mow the comfrey and whole plant put into barrels or containers made of plastic, but not quite to the top. Then you pour water over the plants - plants must be covered with water. Then you cover the barrel and let it stand for 3 weeks. When the compound boils, you use that liquid with diluted water with diameter difference 1:10. Use that to water your vegetables. It is best to ix this liquid with liquid fertilizator from nettles, which is prepares in the same way, with diameter difference 1:1. Watering plants with these natural liquid fertilizers accelerates plant growth and strengthens their resistance to disease.

COMFREY - THE PLANT FROM WHICH THE BONES HEAL - Advises and remedies

In the following lines I will introduce you to various tinctures and tea blends that will help you if you have problems with bones, stomach, bronchitis, pneumonia, diarrhea.

  1. LINING FOR FASTER HEALING OF BONES - a handful of of finely powdered (fresh or dried) comfrey root simmer on low heat in 750ml of milk. With the constant stirring simmer for about 10 minutes until you get a homogeneous mass. When it cools a bit, attenuate and put on the fracture, making sure that the wrist remains free. Wrap a bandage over it and keep for 2 hours. Repeat every day for 10 days.
  2. COMFREY TINCTURE - Pour a liter of alcohol (70%) or strong brandy (rakija) over 100 grams of chopped comfrey root. For making tinctures the most suitable glass jar is the one with a good lid. Seal the glass jar and leave it in a dark place for 12 days with frequent agitation. Drain and keep in a dark glass bottle with a good lid. Use diluted (one tablespoon to 100ml of boiled water).

    Comfrey tincture is good for treating inflammation of the nerves, and also rejuvenates the skin.

  3. COMFREY SALVE - 100 grams of roots and 50 grams of comfrey leaves add in 1 kilo of melted lard. It is necessary to pre-wash the fat with cold water and salt. When the fat is very hot, add the herb, stir and when it starts foaming remove from the heat and stir for a while. Cover and leave to stand for 24 hours. After that, heat the mixture gently with constant stirring. When the mass becomes liquid, drain and pour into clean dry glass jar. When it cools a bit, you can add 15 drops of the essential oils of rosemary and lavender. Keep it in the fridge. This is one of the best herbal balm against rheumatism and sciatica. It is also very effective against hemorrhoids.
  4. TEA MIXTURE FOR ULCER OF THE STOMACH AND DUODENUM

    - wort (Hypericum perforatum) ................................ .............30g

    - Plantain (Plantago major) ................................................... 20g

    - Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) ........................................ 20g

    - Licorice root (Glycyrhiza glabra) ......................................... 10g

    - Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)....................................... 10g

    - sweet flag (Acorus calamus) ............................................... 10g

    Combine all the plants, and then three tablespoons of the mixture pour with 750ml boiling water, stir, cover and leave for half an hour. Drain and drink one cup three times a day half an hour before meals.

  5. TEA MIXTURE AGAINST BRONCHITIS AND PNEUMONIA :

    - Oman (Inula helenium) ............................... 30g

    - Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) ..................... 20g

    - Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) ................ 20g

    - Plantain (Plantago major) ........................... 20g

    - Licorice root (Glycyrhiza glabra) ................. 10g

    Combine all the plants, and then three tablespoons of the mixture pour with 750ml boiling water, stir, cover and leave for half an hour. Drain and drink one cup three times a day half an hour before meals.

  6. TEA MIXTURE AGAINST DIARRHEA :

    Comfrey contains a lot of tannin and mucus, substances that are helpful in case of diarrhea.

    - Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) .......................... ............30g

    - Lady's mantle (Alchemilla vulgaris) ................................. 30g

    -The fruit of wild apple trees (Prunus malus) ................... 30g

    - Thyme (Thymus serpillium) ............................................... 10g

    Combine all the plants, and then two tablespoons of the mixture pour with 500ml boiling water, stir, cover and leave for half an hour. Drain and drink in small sips.

NOTE

All the comfrey preparations should not be made or kept in iron or tin dishes!

Comfrey/rosemary oil

Comfrey/rosemary oil
Comfrey/rosemary oil

The Most Important Thing

Comfrey root is carcinogen and you should be very careful when you use it. It is very useful for destroying bacteria, viruses, and amoebas which are very resistant to pharmaceutical drugs, but it is used in very small amounts, and certainly you shouldn't give it to children.

Comfrey salve

Comfrey salve
Comfrey salve

WARNING!

Comfrey has a strong effect on the central nervous system, so it should be used in smaller amounts.

Comfrey tincture

Comfrey tincture
Comfrey tincture

COMFREY INGREDIENTS - The root of comfrey is full of active substances that give comfrey strength and power of nature

  • 18 amino acids (out of 20)
  • From minerals it has : alcium, potassium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, sulfur, copper, zinc, selenium and germanium (organic form)
  • From vitamins it has : vitamin A, C and B vitamins, from which should be noted choline and vitamin B-12. Choline is a rare member of the B vitamin complex. The famous lipotropic (inverter of fats and cholesterol in the emulsion). It is a rare substance that penetrates through the blood-brain barrier going directly into brain cells to produce a substance that aids memory. Vitamin B-12 (cobalamin) is distinctly of animal origin, essential for the formation of red blood cells (anemia). The entire plant world there are only two plants that contain B-12 and comfrey is one of them
  • Allantoin - C4H6N4O3 - the main active ingredient of comfrey. It is an organic substance with an astringent action. Allantoin stimulates the process of exchange of substances into the subcutaneous tissue and stimulates cell growth (proliferation), resulting in epithelialization and protective effect on the skin. Allantoin also strongly encourages the growth of cells in the bones (bone fracture), the cells of connective tissue (tendons, ligaments - an injury). Thanks to allantonin comfrey has been used successfully in fractures, sprains, painful joints, torn wounds, ulcers, hard swellings, rheumatism and gout. Allantoin has a strong anti-inflammatory effect and strengthens the immune system. Allantoin is a famous fighter against the pain and reduces swelling resulting from inflammation. Comfrey is a plant that contains a maximum of allantoin (1-2%). Except in comfrey, allantoin can be found also in snail's slime (for restoring homes).
  • Auxin - is the most important plant hormone which helps allantoin in the creation of new cells and tissues (skin, bones, joints, connective tissue).
  • Rosmarinic acid - a strong antioxidant more powerful than vitamin E
  • Steroid saponins - stimulate the production of hyaluronic acid in the skin
  • Mucus -they have calming effect
  • Tannins have anti-inflammatory. Inulin are effective at cleansing the blood and in the treatment of psoriasis and eczema.
  • Pyrrolizidine alkaloids have been found in traces in the leaf and flower of comfrey. They have adverse effects on the liver, so for safety I don't recommend taking preparations based on leaf or flower orally (through the mouth). U.S. Agency FDA and German Commission "E" have the opinion that it is completely safe to take comfrey in the form of creams, gels, powders and tinctures through the skin (on the basis of the root).

WHAT DOES SCIENCE SAY ABOUT COMFREY? - Some researches

Comfrey plant, which grows in damp meadows, fields and ditches near the water, can make life easier for millions of people who struggle with back pain, researchers say. Ointment containing an extract of this herb similar with white beet succeeded during testing for five days to completely cure back pain. Researchers studied 120 people with pain in the lower and upper back.

Half of the respondents were given the ointment of comfrey and in a period of five days they should put this ointment three times a day on the back, while the others received fake ointment. No group was told what they used. After five days, the intensity of pain in group which had fake ointment reduced for 39% - and scientists explain that as a strong desire to feel better.

But the group which used comfrey ointment said they felt pain relief for 95%. Comfrey acts very quickly, one hour after using.

The research was conducted by scientists at the German Sports University in Bonn, and the results were published in the British Journal of Sports Medina. 'Comfrey root extract is an incredibly powerful and clinically proven to effectively reduce acute pain,' according to an explanation of the research results.

Photo credit: Matt Lavin / Foter / CC BY-SA

Leave a comment! - Did you find this lens informative and helpful? Thank you for reading!

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    • LiliLove profile image

      LiliLove 4 years ago

      Very informative! I have learned something new today, thank you.

    • pumpum profile image
      Author

      pumpum 4 years ago

      @TheLittleCardShop: Thank you. We must be careful with every herb. It is important to be informed.

    • TheLittleCardShop profile image

      Malu Couttolenc 4 years ago

      It is very informative. Im glad you also warned about abuse. Lots of people think that because these are natural they can use them in huge amounts and it can be dangerous. Another great page :)

    • pumpum profile image
      Author

      pumpum 4 years ago

      @Anthony Altorenna: Thank you for your visit and comment. I am glad that this lens is helpful for you.

    • Anthony Altorenna profile image

      Anthony Altorenna 4 years ago from Connecticut

      Very nicely done, with lots of great information on Comfrey. I have a Comfrey plant growing in my herb garden, but never really knew how to use it. Thank you for all of the very useful tips!

    • TransplantedSoul profile image

      TransplantedSoul 4 years ago

      I had not heard of this herb. I will have to look for it in the local health food store.

    • pumpum profile image
      Author

      pumpum 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Every herb can cause you harm if you use it without paying too much attention. I had no idea it was banned in many countries, because in mine it is not banned. I wrote a warning that it may cause liver cancer but that can happen when you use it in large amounts. This herb helped my mother and lets face it there are thousands of products here much worse than comfrey that are people offering. Is alcohol good for your health and especially for your liver??No I don't think so but people are recommending it and writing about it. I am not forcing anyone to do anything, I am just here sharing my knowledge. Thank you very much for such a constructive comment.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I enjoyed your comfrey lens, and agree that comfrey is a wonderful herb, but did you know that comfrey is banned for internal use in many countries? Some of the constituents are hepatotoxic and can cause liver cancer.

      I am a naturopath and would never recommend taking comfrey internally to anyone. I see you have a warning but do you think you might be doing people a dis-service by reccomending a product that may potentially cause them harm?

    • pumpum profile image
      Author

      pumpum 4 years ago

      @MartieG: Thank you very much.

    • MartieG profile image

      MartieG aka 'survivoryea' 4 years ago from Jersey Shore

      Very interesting-nicely done!

    • ItayaLightbourne profile image

      Itaya Lightbourne 4 years ago from Topeka, KS

      Great information about comfrey. I don't think it grows near me, but would love to have some to add to my list of herbs that I keep on hand.

    • profile image

      seosmm 4 years ago

      Never knew about this. Very interesting!

    • pumpum profile image
      Author

      pumpum 4 years ago

      @seosmm: I am glad to hear that you like it.

    • profile image

      HillemanLabs 4 years ago

      For more health details, please visit www.hillemanlabs.org

    • pumpum profile image
      Author

      pumpum 4 years ago

      @EEWorkouts: Thank you very much.I appreciate it.

    • EEWorkouts profile image

      EEWorkouts 4 years ago

      Awesome lens! I'm going to have to get some tincture and tea.