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I really like natural treatments for gentle illnesses that we will care for at dwelling, and my comfrey leaf salve has been a go-to for years. Comfrey has come beneath 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 range in colour.
Comfrey is native to Europe and elements 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. In truth, comfrey’s Latin identify Symphytum comes from the Greek symphis (“rising collectively”) and phyton (plant).
In step with its identify, comfrey ointments have been used for hundreds of years in folks medication for:
- bone mending
- joint well being
Comfrey comprises many constituents which can be thought to assist with these makes use of. Two which can be most related to advantages are allantoin and rosmarinic acid.
Comfrey additionally comprises vitamins corresponding to 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 dwelling, and why it’s been used for hundreds 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 properly.
A medical overview printed in 2012 exhibits that science backs conventional makes use of of comfrey for wound assist. In line with the overview, analysis means that comfrey can assist scale back wound measurement 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 elements.
Helps Muscle and Joint Aches & Pains
As I discussed, comfrey can assist with wound therapeutic in my expertise, however its advantages to the physique go deeper. Comfrey can assist 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 muscular tissues and joints. Ache discount was noticed within the group utilizing comfrey topically. In one of many research, over half of contributors affected by joint ache discovered full symptom decision, whereas solely about 5 % had no enchancment in any respect.
In one other fascinating research, researchers found that comfrey resolved signs extra shortly than cryotherapy. Related outcomes occurred in research specializing in decrease again ache and osteoporosis ache. General, research discovered that comfrey was useful in supporting the aid of ache.
Helps Blunt Harm Restoration
Comfrey is most famously used as a poultice for damaged bones. Allantoin is the constituent considered liable for this profit. Allantoin can diffuse by means 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 advised that this isn’t an damage that docs can actually assist and that it must heal by itself.
I made a decision to analysis pure choices to assist with the ache and found 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 occasions a day.
Since I’d had the sort of damage earlier than, I knew that it usually took a number of weeks a minimum of 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 number of days and the ache was virtually not-noticeable after one week!
By the second week, I used to be again to carrying no matter sneakers I wished! 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 pure treatment cupboard. 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 comprised of herbs (and typically clays or different elements) that’s put instantly on the pores and skin and lined with material.) That is the most secure approach to make use of herbs on the pores and skin and is what I used on my damaged toe.
- Ointment or therapeutic salve for topical wound dressing – I exploit 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 can assist 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 properly from drawing out splinters and even spider venom. It’s a bit difficult to make however may be very efficient.
- After beginning sitz tub – Restoration from childbirth might be troublesome (particularly if you happen to battle with a sick child or postpartum despair). Add this natural treatment to a shower or Peri Bottle to appease soreness.
Some herbalists who nonetheless advocate inner use of comfrey (beneath particular tips) will use comfrey tea for digestive points, respiratory points, and urinary points. I might not personally use it internally and advocate additional analysis and checking together with your physician earlier than you do.
Why? Learn on…
Is Comfrey Secure?
Used externally, comfrey is usually thought of protected for kids three or 4 years previous and older in addition to most adults.
As I discussed earlier, comfrey has come beneath some scrutiny. The reason being that research have pointed to comfrey having unwanted side effects when taken internally. That is based mostly on the truth that comfrey comprises a variety 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 greater ranges than herbalists would advocate. Within the instances the place individuals had unfavorable well being results from ingesting comfrey, the consumption of comfrey was additionally properly above the beneficial dosages.
For the reason that jury is out, to be on the protected facet:
- 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 in case you have liver issues or most cancers.
- Don’t use comfrey in mixtures with anything that impacts the liver, corresponding to ache relievers, alcohol, and prescription drugs
- Don’t use together with herbs corresponding to kava, skullcap, valerian, or CBD oil.
That being stated, I prefer to err on the facet of warning and keep away from inner use of comfrey if attainable. One motive is that there’s seemingly one other safer herb I can use rather than comfrey in ingestible preparations.
As at all times, seek the advice of a health care provider and/or certified herbalist earlier than utilizing this or any herb!
This text was medically reviewed by Dr. Jennifer Walker, an inner medication doctor. As at all times, this isn’t private medical recommendation and we advocate that you simply speak together 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 Pores and skin Well being. Vitamins. 2017;9(8):866. Revealed 2017 Aug 12. doi:10.3390/nu9080866
- Staiger C. Comfrey: a medical 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