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6 Benefits of comfrey and side effects

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Discover the 6 shocking health benefits of comfrey and side effects.

For those familiar with natural medicine and chronic pain, comfrey is likely to be on your list of remedies.

This herb has been used for centuries to treat a variety of problems related to pain and inflammation.

6 shocking health benefits of comfrey


Among its clinical uses, comfrey can help relieve pain, reduce inflammation of the muscles and joints, accelerate the healing of bruises and bruises, and potentially help in the treatment of fibromyalgia.

In the UK, researchers found that doctors prescribed it in about 15 percent of all consultations related to tendons, ligaments and muscle problems, fractures, and injuries.

Although it was commonly used internally for many years, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as government bodies around the world, banned the use of dietary supplements containing comfrey and advised against any internal use in 2001. Studies have found that it contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which are toxic to the liver.

Comfrey is still very useful for external uses. It can help serve as a powerful pain reliever and anti-inflammatory. It can even help speed wound healing. Let’s see how it works.


Healing benefits of comfrey

1.- Benefits of comfrey for muscle and joint pain

• A large review published in 2013 on the medicinal uses of comfrey stated: “It is clinically proven to relieve pain, inflammation, and swelling of muscles and joints in the case of degenerative arthritis, acute myalgia in the back, sprains, bruises and strains after sports injuries and accidents, also in children 3 years and older ”. It’s a pretty incredible claim to make.

• However, the available scientific evidence seems to back it up. In multiple studies, the application of comfrey improves the healing and pain response of bruises, sprains, and painful muscles and joints, particularly related to exercise.

• In a single-blind randomized clinical trial of 164 participants that compared the efficacy of comfrey against a common NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) used for ankle pain and sprains, it performed better than diclofenac gel, leading to Researchers declare their breath for this natural product to work as a safe and effective alternative to standard treatment.

2.- Benefits of comfrey for low back pain

• Searching for low back pain relief can be an exhausting and daunting task for the 31 million Americans who struggle with low back pain at any given time. However, comfrey may offer an alternative method for this chronic condition.

• Two double-blind, randomized controlled clinical trials have experienced rapid and significant pain relief compared to placebo in an external application of comfrey root extract gel to the back.

3.- Benefits of comfrey for arthritis pain

• A staggering 1 in 5 people in the US suffers from arthritis pain. Worn cartilage and connective tissue make bones rub together and cause chronic pain.

• Due to the potential side effects associated with most arthritis medications, such as heartburn, stomach ulcers, increased risk of heart attack or stroke, cataracts, bone loss, and more, many people seek alternative remedies to ease their pain. in a safe way.


• It turns out that using a topical comfrey ointment or ointment can help significantly decrease pain associated with arthritis. Several study reviews have seen consistent results, in some cases, with topical NSAIDs and even arnica, all without any negative side effects.

• For arthritis relief, try creating a comfrey poultice with pain-relieving essential oils, such as peppermint oil, and apply to painful areas two to three times a day.

• Note that comfrey should only be used topically for up to 10 consecutive days, to avoid bioaccumulation. There are no studies to show the danger of this, but we take this precaution to stay safe.

4.- Benefits of comfrey for fibromyalgia

• Because fibromyalgia is associated with pain in various parts of the body, applying comfrey can help relieve it. Again, comply with no more than 10 consecutive days of application. And limit use to four to six weeks per year.

• If you suffer from fibromyalgia pain, remember that your best option is to pursue a multi-goal approach to address any root causes of this pain.

Adjusting your lifestyle to lose extra weight, eliminating troublesome food ingredients like excitotoxins, and eating anti-inflammatory foods can offer additional relief.

5.- Accelerates healing

• Comfrey contains an ingredient called allantoin, which helps skin regrowth, along with rosmarinic acid and tannins. Allantoin has been developed as an approved over-the-counter skin treatment drug for a variety of skin problems.

• That’s one possible reason why it can help wounds heal faster. A popular term for it is “knitbone” because it was believed to activate bone healing.


• While bone regeneration has not been scientifically proven to be a benefit, researchers have seen an improvement in collagen production and wound healing when applied topically.

• For safety, never use comfrey on an open wound. If you want to see how it works for your wounds, wait until the wound has completely closed before applying.

6.- Benefits of comfrey for skin irritations

• Probably also due, in part, to the presence of allantoin in comfrey, another use in folk medicine, as it is the relief of inflamed and irritated skin.

• Two controlled clinical studies saw a curative effect on UV-B irritation (a mild sunburn) equal to or greater with comfrey than diclofenac, one of the most widely used over-the-counter medications to soothe the skin.

• In another study, researchers deliberately irritated the skin of healthy young adults and then tested a liquid extract of comfrey on the skin. They found that topical applications of “comfrey extract can have great application in treating skin irritation.”

Botanical Profile of Comfrey

• The common comfrey plant is known in Latin as Symphytum officinale and displays a “hairy” exterior. It grows like a root stick with branches coming from the stem and only grows to about 2-3 feet tall.

Some varieties produce yellow or purplish flowers along with broad, fuzzy leaves. The most commonly cultivated species is Russian comfrey (Symphytum x uplandicum).

• Comfrey plants can grow in almost any climate or soil and prefer shade. Medicinally, most home remedies suggest using the leaves, although the roots also have significant benefits when used.


• In large quantities, mucilage (a compound derived from the gelatin plant) is the main component of comfrey.

History of Comfrey

In folk medicine, comfrey was a common feature among Europeans. Known as “weaving bone,” it was used for everything from accelerating bone growth to nausea to acne relief.


Historically, it was prescribed to remedy diarrhea and for lung problems such as whooping cough.

Comfrey products such as poultices, salves, and salves have been used as herbal remedies due to the plant’s ability to reduce inflammation and promote healing.

The root has also been used in the past as a decoction to help gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea. However, its internal use is not recommended.

Not only humans can benefit from comfrey: In 2014, researchers from Taiwan studied the ability of its leaves to alleviate UV damage from zebrafish fins, suggesting it as a possible development for an agent that protects fish embryos. zebra of future damage.

There is also preliminary research on the development of comfrey extract in creating an anticancer drug to fight prostate cancer.

An animal study found very promising results, although it is very important to note here that this does not mean that you should ever ingest it.


Controlled research in a laboratory of a component chemically extracted from the plant is extremely different than just eating or drinking the substance.

How to use Comfrey

• In most cases, the most effective way to use comfrey is in a balm or poultice. This applies to the skin. For example, comfrey oil is a key ingredient in my cranberry arnica bruise cream.

• You can buy comfrey oil as an infusion with olive oil. Or, you can create your oil (also known as comfrey balm) by simmering the olive oil (or other carrier oil) and comfrey roots and leaves. Use this oil to treat minor wounds and closed aches.

• Many people simply use fresh or dried comfrey leaves directly on their skin, depending on the type and severity of pain they have.


Perhaps due to the high mucilage content, its leaves do not dry as quickly as most herbs. But give them time, and they will be excited about the results.

• As comfrey is not available everywhere outside of Europe, if you live in another area but would like to grow your plants, it is quite simple.

After purchasing some seeds and (preferably) planting them in a shady area, you will most likely see them grow quickly.

• Fortunately, it is a fairly “non-invasive” plant because it does not leave long roots and does not produce seeds as it grows. This perennial is best harvested before its flowers bloom.

Possible side effects of comfrey

• As mentioned, it is imperative that you do not ingest comfrey, be it fresh or in the form of tea (or any other method).

• Comfrey is toxic because it contains a substance called pyrrolizidine alkaloids.

• The main concern with these PAs is liver toxicity.

• PAs can cause veno-occlusive disease of the liver, a blockage of microscopic veins within the liver that can lead to cirrhosis, liver failure, and/or cancer.


• Some efforts have been made to create purified comfrey extract or pyrrolizidine alkaloid-free tea. Both have resulted in even worse side effects than before.

• There is also at least one reported case that comfrey tea was linked to a second-degree heart block in a patient in the UK.

• While there have been no cases to date of toxicity as a result of the epidermal application, a minuscule amount of PA passes through the skin when you use it.

• Because of this, it is best to use it for no more than 10 days in a row and only for a maximum total of 4-6 weeks each year to avoid negative side effects.

• Never use comfrey on an open wound or broken skin. People with liver disease, cancer, or a history of alcohol abuse should also avoid even external use of it.

• Most sources agree that comfrey is externally safe for children over 3 years of age. But others recommend never using it for children under the age of 18. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should not use it.

Final thoughts

• Comfrey is a traditional herbal treatment for muscle and joint pain. It helps reduce painful inflammation and soothe the skin, in addition to helping hematomas heal.

• This perennial herb grows primarily in the UK. But it can grow in most climates, although the plant prefers shady environments.


• Using comfrey as a poultice or simply using its dried leaves on your skin, you can find relief from pain related to conditions such as ankle sprains, muscle aches, arthritis, and fibromyalgia.

• Comfrey is never safe to swallow as it contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids that are extremely dangerous to the liver. External applications do not have the same toxic effects.

• Pregnant / nursing women, as well as young children or those with any potential liver damage or disease, should avoid comfrey altogether.


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