Comfrey Root Health Benefits

Comfrey root great for skin conditions

Comfrey root contains allantoin, a substance that gives this fantastic herb tremendous wound-healing powers. It has been scientifically proven that this plant can heal sores, ulcerations, burns, and diverse types of wounds, especially those difficult to cure.

Comfrey Root Scientific Facts

  1. Other names: Consoud, common comfrey
  2. French: Grande consoude          
  3. Spanish: Consuelda mayor
  4. Environment: Wet, damp soils of northern and Europe
  5. Description: Vivacious plant of the Boraginaceae family, growing from 60 to 100cm high. It has lanceolate, decurrent leaves (they grow directly from the stem, without petioles), covered by hairs. The flowers are pink, yellow, or violet.
  6. Parts of the plant used for medicinal purposes: The rhizome (underground stem) and the root.

Healing Properties and Warning

Comfrey root contains allantoin (1%-1.5%), sugars (starch, saccharose, inulin), high amounts of mucilage, glycosides, alkaloids, tannin, choline, and resin. Here are some comfrey root benefits:

Comfrey flower
  1. Wound healing: Thanks to its allantoin content, it has been experimentally proven to stimulate fibroblast proliferation. These are cells of the conjunctive tissues, which form the scar of wounds. Therefore, its use assists slow-healing wounds, skin sores and ulcers, burns, and whenever stimulation of wounded or bruised tissues is required. Allantoin also acts on the periosteum, a layer of tissue that surrounds the bones, and where the bone callus, which closes any breakage, is formed. However, it is not used in traumatology, perhaps because its application on the bone is quite challenging to perform. Moreover, there are other physical measures to close fractures at present.
  2. Soothing effect on skin and mucosa: Thanks to its content in mucilage, it promotes the healing of eczema, rashes, and other skin irritations and inflammations.
  3. Astringent: Due to the comfrey root’s content in tannin, it dries the mucosa and clots capillary vessels. Mouth rinses with comfrey root are recommended for stomatitis, gingivitis or inflammation of the gums, and pharyngitis.
Comfrey leaves

Whenever internally applied, comfrey root has antidiarrheic and pectoral properties (eases cough), but it is better to use it only in external applications since internally used it can be toxic.

WARNING! The root, the stem, and the leaves of this plant are toxic when taken orally since the alkaloid symphytine is present in them. This alkaloid has poisonous effects on the liver. Another substance, the glycoside called consolidine, produces paralysis on the central nervous system, and when taken in high doses, respiratory failure is also present in the plant.

Note: In Spain, there is another comfrey species called lesser comfrey (Symphytum tuberosum L.), also called tuberous. The properties of lesser comfrey and its applications are the same as those of the common comfrey.

All around, comfrey root is a fantastic remedy. It possesses a soothing, healing effect on every organ it touches. The herb can be used internally and externally to heal ulcers, sores, wounds, and fractures. It helps heal wounds rapidly and aids with cell proliferation. Confrey is highly effective against dysentery, coughs, internal bleeding, catarrh, lung ailments, stomach issues, and ulcerated bowels.

Confrey root can also aid the pancreas in regulating blood glucose levels. It helps relieve irritations associated with the stomach, small intestine, gallbladder, and kidneys. The herb does an excellent job stimulating pepsin secretion and, in general, is a great help to digestion.

The plant’s content of mucilage is amongst the highest of all herbs. The root’s demulcent properties have been used to treat coughs and lung trouble. It is also used successfully for gallbladder inflammation, emphysema, dysentery, diarrhea, coughs, colitis, calcium deficiency, bronchitis, blood purification, internal bleeding, anemia, arthritis, and asthma.

Externally, the plant can be beneficial in treating sprains, psoriasis, burns, bruises, boils, sunburns, skin rashes, scabies, nosebleeds, leg ulcers, bites, stings, and bed sores. To help against bleeding, use a potent decoction of the root, using ½ to one ounce of the root every 2 hours until the bleeding subsides.

The fresh leaves of the comfrey can be bruised and applied as a poultice to moist ulcers, gangrene, open sores, burns, and wounds. You can also put tea on them. It would be wise to keep some comfrey growing in your garden. It will keep supplying you year after year once it is established. The plant is versatile and prolific. A little piece of the root can reproduce itself in any moist, shady area in little time.

Germany approved applications of the leaf in treating sprains and bruises, and the root poultice for treating sprains pulled ligaments and muscles.

How to Use Comfrey Root

Comfrey root is only applied externally on wounds, ulcerations, bruises, and burns.

  1. Compresses: Prepare an infusion with 100 or 200g of root per liter of water, steeping in cold extract for a couple of hours. Soak cotton or gauze compresses in this liquid and apply them to the affected skin area, changing them two or three times per day.
  2. Poultices with comfrey root, fresh, ground, or mashed. Change them as compresses, two or three times a day.
  3. Mouth rinses with the liquid of the cold extract, used for compresses.

Infusion (leaves): Steep for thirty minutes. Take six ounces three times daily. Decoction (root): Simmer for thirty minutes. Take three ounces frequently. Tincture: Take ½ to one teaspoon three times daily. Fluid Extract: Take ½ to two teaspoons three times daily. Powder: Take five to ten #0 capsules (30 to 60 grains) daily.

REFERENCES

  • George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Ed. Francesc X. Gelabert. vols. 2 San Fernando de Henares: Editorial Safeliz, 2000. 732,733. Print.
  • Vance Ferrell Harold M. Cherne, M.D. The Natural Remedies Encyclopedia [Book]. – Altamont, TN: Harvestime Books, 2010. – Vol. Seventh Edition: 7: pp. 153, 154.

Recommended For You