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Comfrey Leaf Health Benefits, Properties, and Uses

Comfrey Leaf

Scientific Name: Symphytum officinale

Common Names: Comfrey Leaves, Comfrey, Comphrey, Blackwort, Bruisewort

Properties: Anti-fungal, Anti-cancer, Immune system booster, Anti-inflammatory, Laxative, Anticatarrhal, Astringent, Sedative, Expectorant, Hepatoprotective (liver protector), Wound-healing

What is Comfrey Leaf?

Comfrey is a perennial plant in the Boraginaceae family.1 It grows in lush areas such as along rivers and in ditches.1 The plant is native to Europe and features black turnip-like roots, broad leaves with bristles, and bell-shaped flowers that can be white, pink, or purple.1 Both the roots and the leaves of the comfrey plant have been used in herbal medicine.2 Comfrey should not be taken orally; instead, comfrey leaf uses include using them in ointments and creams to be applied topically and treat conditions like fractures, bruises, strains, sprains, pulled muscles, and osteoarthritis.3

Comfrey Leaves Uses and Health Benefits

Comfrey leaves come with numerous benefits. They contain a substance called allantoin, which helps promote new skin growth.3 The leaves also have anti-inflammatory properties.3 Products containing comfrey leaves can be applied topically to affected areas to help with the following conditions:

  • Fractures - Comfrey has long been used by herbalists to heal broken bones.4 Among comfrey leaves uses, they can help reduce swelling around fractured areas, which helps promote faster healing.2 The herb can also help reduce any bruising associated with the broken bone or fracture.4
  • FracturesSkin Rash - Comfrey leaves and the oils derived from the plant promote skin growth and can help heal skin rashes.5 However, proceed with caution when applying comfrey to broken skin.
  • FracturesScars - Thanks to comfrey leaves benefits on skin growth, topical ointments and creams may help reduce the appearance of scars or prevent them from forming on a healing wound.

Comfrey Leaves Side Effects and Precautions

Comfrey is considered safe when applied topically according to the package directions. However, the plant contains substances called pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which are toxic and can damage the liver when taken orally.3 New leaves contain more pyrrolizidine alkaloids than old leaves, and the roots have up to 16 times more pyrrolizidine alkaloids in them.3 Because comfrey leaves contain this substance, you should avoid eating them. If you have a condition that might benefit from taking comfrey leaves orally, consult your doctor before doing so. It’s important to note that pyrrolizidine alkaloids can also be absorbed through the skin.3 For this reason, you should not apply comfrey lotions or ointments to broken skin. Follow the dosage recommendations on the product you’re using. Don’t use comfrey products for more than 10 days at a time or for more than six weeks in a calendar year.3 Do not use comfrey products if you have cancer, alcoholism, or liver disease.3 Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, children, and the elderly should avoid using comfrey.3

Possible comfrey leaves side effects may include allergic reaction, such as hives, difficulty breathing, or swelling.6 Consult your healthcare provider if you experience nausea, tiredness, loss of appetite, upper stomach pain, dark urine, or jaundice (yellowing of the eyes or skin) as these may be signs of serious liver problems.6 Talk to your doctor to see if a comfrey herbal ointment is right for you.

References

  1. http://www.herbs2000.com/herbs/herbs_comfrey.htm
  2. http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/c/comfre92.html
  3. http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/comfrey
  4. http://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hn-2073000
  5. http://articles.mercola.com/herbal-oils/comfrey-oil.aspx
  6. http://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/d04502a1

CuresDecoded worldwide community recommends Comfrey Leaf for:

Emphysema Effective
Fracture Effective
Skin Rash Effective
Cold (Common Cold) Effective
Anal Fissure Effective
Tennis Elbow Effective
Mastitis Effective
Skin Abrasion Effective
Bronchitis Effective
Scars Effective
Bursitis Effective
Kidney Failure Effective
Skin Ulcer Effective
Neuralgia Effective

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