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    Bryce Wylde, BSc, DHMHS, Homeopath
  • on Dec 30, 2019 |

Comfrey is part of the borage family, which also includes forget-me-nots. It is a large plant (2 to 5 feet tall) with broad, hairy leaves and purplish, blue or white flowers. Native to Europe, it has long been cultivated for its remarkable healing properties and for use as an organic fertilizer. Its Latin name Symphytum is derived from the Greek symphyo meaning to “grow together,” and its folk names include bruisewort, boneset and knitbone. Many herbal preparations now use a cultivar called Russian comfrey (Symphytum × uplandicum), which is a hybrid of common comfrey (S. officinale) and rough comfrey (S. asperum).
Comfrey is nature’s answer to the Band-Aid. In the past, its leaves were sterilized in boiling water and applied directly to wounds to reduce swelling and bruising, and even to promote rapid healing of broken bones. Comfrey’s ability to help heal wounds comes from a compound called allantoin (present in both the leaves and roots), which is believed to reduce inflammation and promote new cell growth. Modern science seems to back up traditional beliefs. In one study, for example, a 35% comfrey cream applied topically to ankle sprains was very effective even when compared to anti-inflammatory pharmaceutical creams.
In the past, comfrey was also taken and orally for gastrointestinal, respiratory and gynecological concerns. However, it is now known that the plant contains toxic compounds, and it is listed as “topical use only” in herbal and medical text books.