October 28, 2010

ComfreyComfrey (Symphytum officinale) is an important medicinal herb that grows in moist valleys and meadows in Europe (especially throughout the British Isles) and the Middle East, in the areas with a temperate climate.It has very beautiful bell-shaped flowers of various colors (from purple and dark blue to pale yellow and white), which bloom all summer long. For centuries comfrey has been used as a food crop, until the sixteenth century when some of its therapeutic properties were discovered. In those times, comfrey was used as an external remedy in the forms of formentations, ointments and poultices for treating wounds and various skin problems.

Those comfrey preparations were mostly made from the stems, leaves, flowers and roots of the medicinal herb. It turned out that comfrey is rich in natural substances which speed up skin regeneration, like tannins, allatonin, mucilage, rosemarinic acid, and other components. Also, comfrey is rich in vitamins and minerals like iron, magnesium, potassium and others. Health benefits of comfrey include anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, soothing, expectorant, astrigent, proliferant, slight sedative, haemostatic, anodyne and other properties of this herb.

health benefits of comfreyExternally, comfrey can be used to treat any sort of inflammations, including acne, insect bites, inflammatory swellings and arthritis pains, ill-conditioned ulcers, bruises, conjunctivitis and many more. Health benefits of comfrey include several powers of this plant discovered by our ancestors in the Middle ages. In particular, this medicinal herb can be used as a great natural cure for broken bones, fractures, dislocations, strains, ligaments and so on.

As to internal use of comfrey, there’s a certain controversy here as this medicinal herb is considered to be quite toxic due to a high content of very toxic compounds called pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which can cause serious damage to human liver and even cause cancer. That is why in some countries like the US, Germany, the UK, Canada and others, marketing of oral products containing comfrey is banned. In 2001, the FDA withdrew all dietary supplements and oral remedies with comfrey from American market.

At the same time, historically, this natural remedy was extensively used as a component for homemade remedies for various conditions, including all sorts of intestinal disorders, internal bleeding, digestion problems and irritable bowel syndrome. Health benefits of comfrey include its properties to treat internal inflammatory diseases like dysentery, gum disease and others. Finally,  researches have shown that comfrey can assist in lowering cholesterol levels. However, remember that internal use of comfrey is connected with quite high risks of intoxication, that is why in the most situations it is advised to refrain from it.

Author Info: Hi! My name is Carla and I am a 5th year medical student at HYMS. I am interested in alternative medicine and I have done months researching the topic of herbal medicine. Besides, I like interviewing people and learning more about their experiences with one or another type of herbal treatments. I am willing to contribute to this site with my knowledge, and I would be happy to help you out to the best of my ability with any specific questions or problems related to alternative medicine.

2 Responses to “Health Benefits Of Comfrey”

  1. KathleenNo Gravatar Says:


    Most Comfrey products I have seen say for external use only. I have seen it in an homeopathic toothpaste. So does that mean that you can use it in toothpaste and that is considered external use?
    Thank you

  2. Dr.JoyNo Gravatar Says:

    Kathleen, unless you swallow the substance, it is considered to be external use, right?
    there’s a certain controversy as to comfrey and just like Carla says, do not use it without a special prescription of your physician