Comfrey (Symphytum officionale)

The wound-healing properties of comfrey are partially due to the presence of allantoin, which stimulates cell proliferation and augments wound healing. It has a centuries long reputation for being useful in all hurts and bruises both internal and external, including delayed union of fractures. Comfrey may be used externally to speed wound healing and guard against scar tissue. In deep wounds, caution should be exercised as an external application placed too early can lead to tissue formation over the wound, possibly resulting in an abscess.

Comfrey leaves usually applied externally, while comfrey root decoctions are used internally. To make a decoction, 1-3 teaspoons of dried root are placed in water. Boil the water, let simmer for 10-15 minutes and drink tid. Some 2-4ml of the tincture can be taken with the same frequency. To use the leaves as a poultice just crush them and apply to the wound.

Caution – External Use Only

On July 6, 2001 the FDA issued a letter to communicate their concern about the marketing of dietary supplements that contain the herbal ingredient comfrey – Symphytum officionale (common comfrey), S. asperum (prickly comfrey), and S. x uplandicum (Russian comfrey). These herbs are a source of pyrrolizidine alkaloids and according to the FDA present a serious health hazard to consumers when they are ingested. [Note: evidence suggests that liver toxicity occurs with the internal use of the leaf, but not the root.]

Although there was no evidence for liver damage in a group of people who regularly consumed comfrey, there are a number of case reports that implicate consumption of comfrey in the development of liver disease.

 


Comfrey (Symphytum officionale) can help with the following

Autoimmune  

Ulcerative Colitis

Comfrey has a reputation for promoting healing in stomach ulcers, hiatal hernia and ulcerative colitis.



Circulation  


Digestion  


 


Respiratory  

Bronchitis, Acute

Comfrey has been used with benefit in cases of bronchitis and irritable cough, where it will soothe the irritation and promote expectoration.

To make a decoction: put 1-3 teaspoonfuls of the dried herb (leaf and/or root) in a cup of water, bring to the boil and let simmer for l0-l5 minutes. Drink this three times a day. If using a tincture: take 2 to 4ml three times a day.



Uro-Genital  

Menorrhagia (Heavy Periods)

Comfrey has an astringent action which helps stop hemorrhages wherever they occur.



Key

May do some good
Likely to help
Highly recommended

Glossary

Scar Tissue

Fibrous tissue replacing normal tissues destroyed by injury or disease.

Decoction

Liquid prepared by boiling plant material in water for a period of time.

Teaspoon

(tsp) Equivalent to 5cc (5ml).

TID

Three times a day.

Tincture

An alcohol or water-alcohol solution, usually referring to a preparation from herbal materials.

Poultice

Soft mass prepared by moistening botanicals or other absorbent substances with oil or water, usually applied hot to the skin.

FDA

The (American) Food and Drug Administration. It is the official government agency that is responsible for ensuring that what we put into our bodies - particularly food and drugs - is safe and effective.

Herbs

Herbs may be used as dried extracts (capsules, powders, teas), glycerites (glycerine extracts), or tinctures (alcohol extracts). Unless otherwise indicated, teas should be made with one teaspoon herb per cup of hot water. Steep covered 5 to 10 minutes for leaf or flowers, and 10 to 20 minutes for roots. Tinctures may be used singly or in combination as noted. The high doses of single herbs suggested may be best taken as dried extracts (in capsules), although tinctures (60 drops four times per day) and teas (4 to 6 cups per day) may also be used.

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