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Herb Reference Guide

Comfrey

History

Native to Europe and Asia, Comfrey has become naturalized in much of North America. It's in the borage family of plants and has large, soft, fuzzy leaves with beautiful bell shaped cream or purple colored flowers. The plant is a wonderful garden specimen and can take hold of a moist partially shaded area quite effectively. The Roots and Leaves have been used for centuries in herbal medicine and the root of its Latin genus name Symphytum indicates that it has also long been associated with the joining together of things (Symph=join). Preparations have ranged from oils, tinctures, extracts, teas, salves and oils made from the root, and freshly prepared beverages from the leaves. The freshly juiced leaves of this plant make a fantastic and nutritious beverage imparting the reminiscent flavor of chocolate.

Function

In uses for the skin and helping to support the healing of skin and other tissues, comfrey is an all star.* One of the chemicals found in comfrey, allantoin, has been very well researched for it's ability to bring moisture to the skin and assist in the development of healthy skin cells.* It is thought to stimulate cell growth and assist in the regulation of the overexpression of inflammatory compounds.* The leaves, but more so the root contain large amounts of mucilage as well and this slippery substance has emollient properties for the skin.* One of the common names for comfrey was "knitbone" and it has also found its way into various preparations for the assistance in the recovery from stress to bones, tendons and joints.*

Uses of Comfrey

Disclaimer

This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.

Active Constituents

Allantoin, Gum, inulin, mucilage, pyrrolizidine alkaloids, protein, steroidal sapponins, tannin, rosmarinic acid, and zinc.

Parts Used

  • Root

Important precautions

For external use only. Nursing mothers should not apply to the breast area.

Additional Resources

Kucera, M; Barna, M; Horàcek, O; Kàlal, J; Kucera, A; Hladìkova, M (2005). Advances in therapy 22 (6): 681-92.

Grube, B; Grünwald, J; Krug, L; Staiger, C (2007).. Phytomedicine : international journal of phytotherapy and phytopharmacology 14 (1): 2-10