Comfrey- Nature's Band-Aid

Last summer when I was working in the garden, I sprained my wrist. The pain was 11 from scale 1 to 10. I had no insurance so pain medications out of the question. So I went to my local herb shop and purchase a small bag of Symphytum x uplandicum, known as Russian Comfrey. With two tablespoonfuls and a coffee press, I religiously took 2 large cups of the herb twice daily for 6 weeks straight. In the middle of the 4th week, I started to see significant improvements to my wrist. I could easily move with with out feeling significant pain. By the 6th week, the pain went from 11 to 0.

Native to Europe, Comfrey species grows in the temperate regions of the world. It can be grow from the seed in spring or from the root in autumn. The leaves and flowering tops are harvested during the summer. The root is unearthed at autumn or spring when allantoin, a main constituent of comfrey, is at its peak.

Comfrey's traditional use is mending broken bones. Allantoin, a cell proliferant, helps repair damaged tissue and promotes the growth of connective tissue, bone and cartilage. Hence, comfrey promotes the quick and expedient healing of bruises, sprains, fractures, scrapes and bones. Plus, the herb is easily absorbed through the skin. In ointment form, it is used to treat acne and/or psoriasis. It can guard against scar tissue that tends to heal incorrectly, as well as, alleviate minor burns. Additionally, comfrey is an excellent poultice (from young root and leaves) for chronic varicose veins.

Nevertheless, comfrey has high pyrrolizidine alkaloid content which is toxic to the liver. This constituent increases the liver enzyme levels in the body. Therefore, alcoholics and those with liver disease or chronic conditions that leads to liver disease should avoid taking comfrey. Also, for healthy individuals taking comfrey, be sure to monitor your liver enzyme levels through your regular blood tests that you get from the doctors office. Since comfrey absorbs easily through the skin, wearing gloves when applying the ointment, cream or poultice is preferable. Because of its rapid healing properties, comfrey must not be used on dirty wounds because, the rapid healing with trap the dirt leading to pus/abscess. Do not use if pregnant or breastfeeding. Avoid excess consumption; USE FOR AT LEAST 6 WEEKS AND NOT MORE THAN THAT!

As for internally use, I have had good experience using the Russian comfrey (Symphytum x uplandicum) internally, for 6 weeks, with no incident. If you decide to use this particular species, be sure that the herbalist or the person behind the counter gives you this brand. There is another species known as Common comfrey (Symphytum x officinale) which should be used only topically and can be easily confused for the Russian comfrey. If your liver is congested and weak, the fresh mature leaves can be used in place of the fresh, young ones.

Comfrey comes in different forms: decoction, fluid extract, infused oil, infusion, poultice, ointment, paste, powder, lotion, syrup, tea, tincture and foot baths. Speaking of foot baths, I am currently using comfrey foot bath to heal my sprain heel. So far, I have reduce my pain by 50%.😊😁 Isn't that great?


  • And the best about comfrey it grows like a weed ;-)

    No seriously I love comfrey for its healing possibilities and its growth, producing a lot of greens for mulching and composting.

  • Obiora E
    Obiora E Posts: 517 ✭✭✭✭

    @chinazo88 Thank you for sharing. I work on a farm part-time and she has Comfrey growing on it. However she (the farm owner) does know the variety, do you know of a good way to tell the difference between the Russian Comfrey and others?

  • JodieDownUnder
    JodieDownUnder Posts: 1,418 admin

    I've just recently discovered the healing properties of this fabulous herb. I'm currently making a comfrey fomentation to treat a sore knee. I've just made my first comfrey, calendula lotion and really happy with the result. First aid kit in a jar. Might be a few family members scoring jars of this for xmas. Love learning more and more.

  • Sandra C Nwankwo
    Sandra C Nwankwo Posts: 8 ✭✭✭

    I believe that Russian Comfrey (Symphytum x uplandicum) is the most preferred comfrey to be consumed internally. that was the comfrey that I used t heal my sprain wrist. I took it for 6 weeks and started seeing results by week 4.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 6,778 admin

    I would like to leave a comment on the toxicity of comfrey.

    The study that is usually referred to was performed as concentrated use on rats. Always take into consideration who was doing the study, the methods, what they wanted to accomplish with their findings, what they have to gain...and what they choose to publish. In the study that is usually cited, comfrey was given in excessive amounts as I stated above. I don't know what part of the plant was used either, but it was highly concentrated for the size of the animal. For the average person, comfrey in moderate amounts should not be an issue as far as toxicity from internal use is concerned. If you wish to know more, there are tips to greatly reduce the intake of the alkaloids (see the post in the link below).

    If you read the information that many registered and highly respected herbalists, the brave ones with years of knowlwedge & hands on experience, who aren't afraid to speak up, will state these things. They are bold in their statements. I would direct those who are unsure to Rosemary Gladstar (for one) for her information on comfrey and her experience with it. Susun Weed is yet another. However, all will also say that it is up to the individual and it is always good to be informed. If you are uncomfortable with it, use something else. There are of course, cautions given if one is pregnant.

    Also, if concerned about internal use, it is not necessary to use in this way to reap the benefits. External use is considered safe.

    I had read about the difference between Russian comfrey and the other. I believe one is more invasive. It has been quite some time since I looked into this, and so there is most likely other differences that I don't remember.

    @torey stated this about internal use:

  • Linda Bittle
    Linda Bittle Posts: 1,379 ✭✭✭✭✭

    When I sprained my wrist, I made a strong tea a couple of times a day and soaked my arm up to the elbow. It really helped!

  • Sharie
    Sharie Posts: 276 ✭✭✭

    There's also a homeopathic version of this.