Parts of Asia, North America, and Europe produce a shrub known as comfrey in abundance. It can grow up to 5 feet tall and produces bunches of white, blue and purple flowers. It is famous for its long leaves and black-skinned roots.
Quick Facts About Comfrey
- The entire plant is known to have medicinal properties and has been used in traditional medicines in many parts of the world.
- In Japan, the plant has been harvested and used for over 2000 years.
- Originally the plant was called knitbone and people used comfrey to treat joint inflammation, muscle sprains, burns, and bruises.
- In many parts of Europe, the comfrey plant has been used to treat infinite conditions, such as gout and arthritis.
- Traditional healers and spiritual believers used it in treating stomach ailments, diarrhea, and any other digestive issues.
- The roots and leaves of the plant contain chemical substances, commonly known as rosmarinic acid and allantoin.
- Allantoin is known to have healing properties, especially on skin cells, while the rosemarinic acid helps in treating pain, inflammation and internal health issues.
- The extracts of the comfrey plant are turned into creams, salves, and ointments and typically contain 5 to 20% of the original comfrey extract.
It is acceptable for short term use on the skin or for topical application, for treating small bruises, marks, and injuries. It's best to consult a doctor before using any herb known for its carcinogenic properties as well.
Traditional Uses And Health Benefits Of Concrete
Even though the complete plant contains poisonous chemicals called pyrrolizidine alkaloids, these are used in the form of their roots, leaves, and stems to make medicines.
Despite the safety concerns, that exist, it is used for treating stomach ulcers, curing blood in urine, bronchitis, chest pain, and the like.
Bone Healing And Wound Healing
The comfrey plant is used to heal bones miraculously. Tablets are used as a standard way to speed up the healing of broken bones and open wounds. The compound allantoin is able to accelerate cellular mitosis, while the rosmarinic acid helps in relieving inflammation and pain.
- Allantoin is also a part of the fetal developmental process, known to contain this compound as the baby grows gradually until the baby is fully matured.
- Allantoin is also present in breast milk and its small supply continues after the baby is born.
- Vitamins, minerals and other compounds of comfrey contain vitamin C, calcium, magnesium.
- The allantoin of this plant is used to facilitate the healing of bones. However, it is important to make sure the bones are clean and the wound area is made free of dirt, before applying comfrey.
- This is because the skin can regrow so fast, it can trap any debris that is left in the wound.
Muscle And Joint Pain
Comfrey is clinically proven to relieve inflammation, swelling, the pain of muscles, and joints. In the case of autoimmune diseases, for example, acute myalgia in the back causes strains after injuries and accidents.
- Degenerative arthritis, osteoporosis, gout, and also muscle disorders in children less than 3 years old.
- The healing and pain responsiveness of painful muscles and joints, cuts and bruises are particularly known to improve when applied externally in a single randomized clinical trial of patients.
- The comfrey herb out is known to outstand and perform better than the pharmaceutical counterpart.
- For its efficacy on leg pain, and ankle sprains, this herb was formulated for research and encouraged the safe and effective alternative to standard treatment.
Being an important healing compound for pain, degenerative disorders, the properties of comfrey also encompasses with healing the skin. This is because of the presence of Allantoin. It is a hydrating, naturally exfoliating, protecting, and repairing compound known to suit the skin.
- Due to comfrey’s high antioxidant status, the topical application of comfrey ointment and creams can help the skin get rid of free radical activity.
- The natural allantoin in comfrey helps in reducing abnormal thickening of the skin, caused by keratinization.
- It interacts with the keratin of the skin to thin out the abnormal thick stratum corneum, which is a primary reason that allantoin leaves the skin feeling smooth and supple.
Previously people used to eat the leaves and roots of the comfrey plant as a vegetable. The traditional healers used it in oral preparations to treat ulcers, colitis, and diarrhea. A drink made from the root and leaves of the comfrey can be had as the first thing in the morning. However, in moderation.
Today because of advanced research, comfrey is not recommended to a great extent because of the presence of pyrrolizidine alkaloids. They are known to cause liver damage, cancer, and even death when consumed in a great extent.
Other benefits of comfrey tea include the following:
- Relief from menstrual cramps
- Fewer chances of urine in the blood
- Capable of treating rheumatoid arthritis
- Gingivitis and pharyngitis
- Relief from angina
- Varicose veins
Comfrey might harm the liver. Consuming comfrey alongside consuming hepatotoxic drugs may interfere with its actions and lead to further liver damage. Other drugs that may face a challenge in curing a person if comfrey is consumed along with them include:
- Phenytoin (Dilantin)
Medications that increase the breakdown of other medications by the liver (Cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4) inducers) interacts with comfrey - Comfrey is broken down by the liver. Some chemicals that form when the liver breaks down comfrey can be harmful.
Medications that cause the liver to break down comfrey might enhance the toxic effects of chemicals contained in comfrey
The major constituent of the comfrey plants is mucilage. Other chemicals and compounds present in the comfrey plant include triterpenoids, saccharides, phytosterols, amino acids, polyphenols, and other forms of alkaloids.
Herbal practitioners can guide well about the potential effects of alkaloids present in comfrey, on the liver depending upon your health condition. Pregnant and nursing mothers are advised to stay away from the use of this herb.
The properties of comfrey may also intervene with pharmaceutical medications. It is therefore important to take the consultation of a doctor.