(Symphytum officinale L.)
(S. asperum Lepech.)
(S. X uplandicum)
(S. peregrinum Ledeb.)
PARTS- leaves, root, flowers
Miss Comfrey rejuvenates blood and new skin;
Helping inside and out, she’s a real gem.
She clears inflammation, works alone or with more
To mend bleeding and burns, broken bones to the core.
The heart should rejoice and the bones flourish like an herb. ISAIAH
Symphytum is from the Greek SUMPHEIN meaning “to grow together”, or SYMPHYTO “to unite”, in reference to the healing of wounds.
Comfrey is derived through the French and Medieval Latin, CONFERVA, to boil together and hence confirmare, which means “to grow together”. Comfrey comes down from the Middle English, CUMFIRIE, and in turn from the French, FEGIER, “to cause coagulation of wounds”.
Or, it comes directly from the Latin CON FIRMA, meaning “with strength”, as in confirmed, or chronic, as in disease.
Dioscorides called the plant SUMPHUO and wrote that the roots “beaten small and drunk are good for the blood spitters and ruptures, and being applied they close up new wounds. And being sodden with them they join pieces of flesh together”.
Comfrey is native to Europe, but naturalized here for several hundred years. It will grow to three feet tall, and quickly fill in with prickly dark green leaves. The flowers have a white to pink/blue appearance that reminds you that comfrey is in the same family as Borage. Russian Comfrey flowers are only purple. They unfurl from bottom to top on one side of the raceme in an arrangement called scorpoid, due to its resemblance to a scorpion’s tail.
In magic, the herb is associated with Capricorn and Saturn.
In fact, the Germans jokingly refer to East Prussians as Comfrey eaters, due to their culinary choice. The physician to King Henry II of France recommended comfrey to doctors in treating fractures, traumas, and to speed up healing after surgery.
In 1694, John Pechey recommended boiling the flowers in red wine to “unite broken bones”.
Gerard had earlier written about Comfrey, that the “slimy substance of the root made into a posset of ale, and given to drink against the pain in the back gotten by overmuch use of women, doth in four or five days cure the same”.
In France, nursemaids would cure cracked nipples by inserting a hollow section of the fresh root over the sore area.
Comfrey leaves were popular additions to toast and dessert pancakes, as well as valuable fodder for farm animals.
When I lived near Joussard, on Lesser Slave Lake, I raised rabbits. Fresh comfrey leaves in summer, and dried forage in winter was a treat quickly polished off. Comfrey is believed to prevent hoof and mouth disease, if fed regularly to livestock. Pigs, cows, chickens and horses are less sensitive to pyrrolizidine alkaloids than rats, rabbits, goats and sheep. Purified PA studies were conducted on rats. More about this later.
Upon its introduction to North America, the Cherokee began using the plant. They named it O SE E O SE, and used it in a tonic formula for ceremony and for “little wars”, or ball playing. One elder said comfrey was used “for women who had bad dreams”.
A recent Swiss study by Bee et al, compared pigs with a finishing diet consisting of 10% comfrey, or without. Animals fed comfrey had lower stearic and palmitic acid in the back fat, but higher oleic and linolenic acid. Taste panels could not detect any difference in taste.
Tests on crude protein digestibility for comfrey hay show 45.5%, with digestible energy at 2202 kcal/kg. Wheat bran rates are 2928 kcal/kg, or some 25% higher.
In a Russian study by Beloborodov, comfrey silage, replaced clover and timothy silage in milk cows.
There was no difference for milk colour, odour or consistency, including vitamin and mineral content. Milk fat was 3.33% for clover/ timothy and 3.30% for comfrey. Allantoin is believed useful for maintaining a healthy digestion in cattle.
Comfrey is good for racehorses, and helps cure laminitis, and septic sores.
Comfrey adds much needed lysine and alanine to animal feed, two amino acids missing from alfalfa.
Comfrey is a rich addition to compost piles, helping increase mineral content and speeding up fermentation. See liquid manure below.
Comfrey is a semi-sterile plant, so it is best to propagate spring or fall by root division. Once planted, you have it for life, the taproot going down six feet. Plant the cuttings two to three feet apart, and they quickly fill the space.
Although it will grow in soil pH from 5.5-8.7, it does best around neutral.
Harvest the leaves as the flowers begin to bud (less than 10% flowers) and then every 7-10 days throughout the summer. Each cutting from a quarter acre plot will yield 60-80 pounds of dried leaf. The plant is hardy to -40°C, and will grow anywhere on the prairies.
An interesting article by Gary Steuart appeared in The Herb, Spice and Medicinal Plant Digest 1987 5 4-9 on Growing Alkaloid Free Comfrey.
He suggests that alkaloid development in the leaf is affected by time of harvest. The first spring cutting showed 0.026% PAs; while harvest later in season showed only 5 ppm; confirming that the first leaf harvest is best for compost or mulch.
The Henry Doubleday Research Association, of which I was once a member, was formed in 1954 to honour the American farmer and Quaker minister who worked to develop comfrey into a major agricultural crop. Henry Doubleday used comfrey mucilage for stamp glue, in place of the hard to get gum arabic. His work was continued by Lawrence D. Hills, one of the fathers of organic gardening in UK.
One of his hybrid strains Bocking 14 produced yields of forty tons per acre.
Comfrey was tested for pesticide potential by Mansingh and Williams at the U of the West Indies, Jamaica and showed a mortality rate of 99, as compared to Tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) at 95 and castor plant at on 82.
Other work showed comfrey leaf extracts inhibit pathogenic fungi and greatly diminish the growth of powdery mildew in both greenhouse and field trialed wheat seedlings.
The leaves must be dried in the shade or will turn black. Leaf extracts are used in the personal care industry for hair shampoos and conditioners, including brands by Paul Mitchell, Aussie, Salon Selectives, as well as Village Naturals Bubble Bath liquid.
The root is dried at 40-50º C to ensure maximum content of allantoin, tannins and mucilage; with good air circulation. Scientists at the University of Minnesota have reported growing comfrey with no detectable pyrrolizidine alkaloids.
Work is ongoing, but no definitive success as yet. Adequate levels of cobalt in soil are necessary for B12 levels in comfrey.
CONSTITUENTS- S. officinale leaf- various unsaturated pyrrolizidine alkaloids, including minor amounts of echimidine, and symphatine; allantoin (0.3-0.46%), consolidin, caffeic acid, carotene, rosmarinic acid (0.5%), tannins, steroidal saponins, fatty acids (18:3 n-3 54.5%), up to 35% protein, mucilage, zinc, B12 (0.07 mg/100 g in fresh leaf; 0.24 in dried) , gums; germanium 0.1 ppm; iron 1200 ppm, manganese 100 ppm. Leaf is approx. 82% moisture. Leaves contain 1.2% GLA (gamma linolenic acid).
root- various unsaturated pyrrolizidine alkaloids, with symphatine at 0.38% and lasiocarpine at 0.0058%; echimidine; symlandine. Various saturated PAs including sarrecind and platyphylline; allantoin (up to 2.55%), caffeic acid, carotene (0.63%), rosmarinic acid, pyrocatechol tannins (2.4%), triterpenoids such as isobauerenol; beta sitosterol, phytosterols and steroidal saponins; fatty acids (18:3 n-3 3.8%), mucilage (29%), composed of polysaccharides of glucose and fructose triterpenoids (isobauerenol); asparagine (1-3%), choline, volatile oil, and gums (5-10%) such as xytol, rhamnnose, arabinose, mannose, galactose, and xylose; chlorogenic and glycuronic acid ; lithospermic acid steroidal saponins, germanium 2 ppb; B12 ( 2.5 nanog/g in fresh root; none in dried). Shoots and roots contain from 12-16% GLA. Root is 86% water.
seed- gamma linolenic acid (27%) in mature seed; 7.6% in green immature seed 3 weeks after flowering, and 19% six weeks after bloom.
S. uplandicum- all above as well as uplandicine and other alkaloids. Total alkaloid levels are 0.003% in largest leaves, 0.049% in smallest. In spring the small leaves have 0.115%; the fall small leaves only 0.019%.
It should be noted that the PA content in fresh root is about 10 times higher than fresh leaves. The fresh young spring leaves contain 0.22% PA, while young fall leaves are only 0.05% PA, and mature leaves just 0.03%.
Two investigations of dried leaves, showed no PA at all. Roitman, Lancet, 1981 1944.
S. asperum root- glucofructans
leaf- hydroxycinnamate derived polymer
Comfrey has a long and well-earned reputation for wound healing. Perhaps the most important herb compound, along with mucilage and silicic acid, is allantoin, a known proliferator of new cells.
Allantoin is also found in the seeds of corn, barley, peas, wheat, bearberry, borage, clover, plantain, horse chestnut bark, the root of Brassica napus, as well as an oxidation of uric acid from maggots, and the urine of dogs.
The root is much richer in allantoin, than the leaf, but each has their place.
For one thing, the leaves grow thick and aggressively, and weekly cuts do the plant no harm.
The leaves contain more tannins, or pyrocatechins and are much more astringent. This helps wounds to close and constrict more quickly, to stop oozing and bleeding. Silica and allantoin are a good combination for wounds with tissue loss.
To summarize. The allantoin repairs, the mucilage soothes, protects and absorbs acid, while the tannins tighten mucous membranes and tissue.
Specifically, it binds cornified layers together, moistens and prevents drying and has a positive effect on keratin and skin in general by holding moisture. It increases epithelial skin tissue growth, increases leukocyte infiltration and reduces growth of necrotic tissue. Allantoin increases granulation tissue in wounds and reduces inflammation.
It is best to combine an anti-bacterial herb such as Oregon grape root, St. John’s wort or usnea with comfrey in treating open wounds. If sealed too quickly, especially in burns, there is a danger of sealing in bacterial infection.
Midwives make great use of comfrey to quickly heal vaginal tears from birthing. In some cultures, the hymen was reputed to repair from repeated use of comfrey leaf bolus.
The high mucilage content helps soften, soothe and protect irritated skin and mucous membranes. Comfrey paste will harden like plaster, and has been used traditionally as a temporary cast to immobilize fractured limbs.
Matthew Wood issues a warning about comfrey related to its exuberant growth. Unlike yarrow, plantain or calendula that heal from the inside up, comfrey causes growth from the top down.
In The Earthwise Herbal he cites two instances where the vaginal lips of infant girls grew together when comfrey was used for diaper rash, requiring surgery to release.
It can cause an overgrowth or callus when used to heal bone or skin. Care is advised.
Comfrey is especially important in the cases of chronic coughs, with bloody sputum; or intestinal inflammation with bloody stools. For the latter, combine with burdock root for additional support.
As a lung support, combine comfrey root with elecampane root, ground ivy, and boneset. Drink warm. In cases of pleurisy or pneumonia, combine with pleurisy root, vervain and Petasites.
Krasnoborov and Kaznacheev, in Herbs of Siberia Used for Cardiovascular Diseases, mention that comfrey can treat hypertension and improve respiratory health.
Ridker et al, Gastroenterology 1985 88 found comfrey to possess anti-inflammatory properties. This has been since confirmed by in vivo and in vitro in studies by Gracza et al, Arch Pharm 1985 312 12, and Mascolo et al, Phytotherapy Res 1987 1:1.
Other, older studies have shown comfrey inhibits prostaglandins, which can cause inflammation. Furuya and Asaki, Chem Pharm Bulletin 1968 16:12.
This may be due, in part, to the presence of rosmarinic acid; which possesses anti-inflammatory activity, and inhibits micro-vascular lung injury, according to a study by Gracza et al, Archiv der Pharmazie 1985 318. Herbal infusions also stimulate the release of a prostaglandin-like material from gastric mucosa, explaining its use as a gastric sedative and regenerator.
Caffeic acid and GABA also provide neuropeptide linkage and help increase production of endorphins; thus aiding in pain relief.
Allantoin, taken internally, increases the number of circulating neutrophils.
Other studies by Ridker and McDermott, Lancet 1989:1 found long-term use of comfrey led to hepato-occlusive disease, in which the liver vein drainage is blocked due to clotting. Investigations on pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PA) show that over 200 different types occur in about 3% of the world’s plants, including Comfrey.
The highest content of alkaloids in the root is found during flowering; highest in the central root and lower in lateral branches.
All PAs are potentially toxic to the liver, but not all pyrrolizidines are equally dangerous, and of course, different concentrations are in different part of the plant.
From most toxic to least of PAs is macrocyclic diesters>retronecine and heliotridine diesters>heliotridine monoesters>retroecine monoesters. Comfrey PAs are retronicene mono- and diesters. Symphytine and echimidine are derivatives of retronecine. The most toxic is echimidine. Only minute amounts are found in
S. officinale, but large amounts in Russian Comfrey and Prickly Comfrey leaves. It is believed by some taxonomists that Russian Comfrey is a hybrid of the other two. Symphytine (7-tiglylretronecine viridiflorate) is the major alkaloid of S. officinale.
Lasiocarpine has only been found in studies of Comfrey root in Poland, and in leaves of Russian grown S. officinale. Lasiocarpine has been shown to be strongly mutagenic and carcinogenic in rat studies.
However, the accuracy of identification by TLC has been called into question by some scientists, since it is a derivation of heliotridine and ALL other alkaloids in comfrey are derivatives of retronecine; which itself is not hepatotoxic.
Note also that saturated PAs such as sarrecind and platyphylline help reduce stomach ulcers as well as spasms and irritation.
Echimidine in fresh comfrey has been misidentified in TLC. One study of different ploidy races of S. officinale shows echimidine content depends on the cytotype.
When 2n=24 or 40, echimidine is frequently absent, but at 2n=48 or higher it is almost always present.
Echimidine containing products are banned in Canada; while England, France, and Germany restrict comfrey use to external application for 4-6 weeks.
In one rat study, in which 33% of the diet was comfrey over long term, liver cancer developed in some animals. Hirono et al, J of Nat Cancer Institute 1979:62.
Another rat study in Japan, by Hikino et al, found that unspecified comfrey leaf or root at 8% of diet, created liver tumours within six months.
Ironically, a study by Furuya & Araki, Chem Pharm Bull 1968:16, found echimidine slightly inhibitory to Ehrlich ascites tumour and sarcoma 180.
In humans, only four possible cases of comfrey poisoning have been reported, since the mid 1980s.
The National Institute of Medical Herbalists in the UK take exception to the lab research on comfrey.
There are “two insupportable assumptions. First, that the naturally occurring complex in the plant...can be regarded as a mere physical dilution of alkaloids; and secondly that the human metabolism is identical with that of the rat which is susceptible to these alkaloids, and not with the sheep which is resistant to them”.
Margaret Whitelegg, director of research with NIMH writes. “Tea, almonds, apples, pears, mustard, radishes, and hops, to list only a few items, all contain substances which, if extracted, can be shown to be poisonous when tested under conditions similar to those used in the comfrey experiments. Must we then ignore our experience of the usefulness and wholesomeness of these foods because controlled trials and scientific evidence have not been published to establish their safety?”
The “comfrey eaters” of Prussia, are a large group of humans who have been exposed to the supposed carcinogenic potential of comfrey for a long time. It is interesting to note that there is no epidemiological evidence of increased cancer in human or animal consumers of comfrey. Liver function tests in 29 chronic comfrey users, showed no abnormalities. They consumed from 1-10 mg PAs daily for one to 30 years (21 for 10 years or less) and showed normal liver function tests including GGT and alpha-feto protein. Anderson et al, Human Toxicol 1989 8.
Furthermore, primary hepatocellular carcinoma, independent of liver cirrhosis is extremely rare in European populations.
As mentioned, not all PAs are hepatotoxic. Both sarracine and platyphylline have been used, in clinical studies, to treat peptic ulceration and gastrointestinal hyper-motility.
To help keep things in perspective, research shows that a cup of comfrey tea possesses about one hundredth less cancer causing potential than a can of beer.
Work by Dr. Ames at the U of California, Berkeley estimated one cup of comfrey tea has the same cancer risk as one peanut butter sandwich, and one-third the risk of eating one raw button mushroom.
In Germany, the amount of pyrrolizidine alkaloids is limited internally, to 10 micrograms daily of comfrey tea.
In one case, often cited, a thirteen year-old boy from the U.K. ate it regularly for about three years, but researchers cautioned that he “may have been more susceptible...because of his underlying IBS (inflammatory bowel disease)”.
One study by Taylor and Taylor, Proc Soc Exp Biol Medicine 1965 114 found that water extracts of the leaves actually decreased tumour growth and survival time in cancer patients. In fact, the Ames test for toxicity showed comfrey produced less mutants than the control, suggesting it may have anti-cancer activity.
Comfrey is active against Lewis lung carcinoma, adenocarcinoma 755 and Walker carcinoma cell lines. Yeong et al, Pathology 1991 23; Awang et al, Can Pharm J 1987 120.
Goldman et al, demonstrated that comfrey extracts, when applied to an open wound, caused significant increase in the number of blood vessels around the wound at day 7, and followed by significant decrease by day 14. This suggests that the damaged tissue is provided with nutrients and oxygen more efficiently when treated with comfrey.
In this same study, the analgesic effect of oral comfrey supplementation was studied, and found to be 65% of a reference drug in a pain threshold test.
Work by van den Dungen et al, Planta Medica 1991 57 showed 30% alcohol root extracts strongly inhibited C3 and C4 of the complement pathway involved with immuno-regulatory effects during wound healing.
Used externally, comfrey is very popular in skin creams and ointments for rashes, varicose veins, and hemorrhoids. Susun Weed mentions that comfrey ointment helps give skin more flexible strength. “Rub in morning and evening and use as a lubricant for love play. The vulva will be noticeably plumper and moister within three weeks”.
Comfrey salve can be used for scar pain, phantom pain, athlete’s foot, heel pain, and nail bed infections.
Parasitic eczema of hand and feet, with cracks, showed 90% improvement in 24 weeks. HPV of the hand showed a 25% improvement, as reported by Godrey and Saunders.
The leaves possess anti-fungal activity. Karavaev et al, Akad Nauk Ser Biol 2001.
Comfrey root sitz baths also help keep vaginal tissue flexible, strong and soft in menopausal women.
In one study both a 0.4% allantoin solution and a 2% allantoin ointment applied locally helped heal crushing injuries, burns, chronic skin ulcers, osteomyelitis and radiation burns. Greenbaum, Amer J
of Pharmacy 1940 112. Several prescription medications, including Herpecin and Vagimide Cream contain allantoin.
In one study 69% of psoriasis patients had complete disappearance when applied externally, and 12% relapse rate within six months. Only 5% got worse.
A DB randomized, controlled study of 108 children aged 3-8 with skin abrasions found a 10% comfrey ointment called Traumaplant significantly sped up healing. Barna et al, Arzneimittel Forschung 2012 62:6 285-9.
Forty-one patients were treated topically for musculoskeletal rheumatism with a PA free ointment or placebo. Patients with epicondylitis and tendovaginitis reported improvement compared to control. Peterson et al, Planta Med 1993 59.
Koll et al, Zeitschrift-fur-Phytotherapie 2000 21:3, in a double-blind, multi-centre, randomized, placebo-controlled study found statistically significant differences between comfrey extract ointment on ankle sprains and placebo.
A follow-up study in Phytomed 2004 11:6 on 142 patients with acute ankle sprains showed significant improvement in pain reduction, ankle mobility, and global efficacy in treated patients, with no adverse reactions.
A concentrated topical cream ameliorated pain on active motion, at rest and pain on palpation in myalgia patients. Kucera et al, Ad Ther 2005 22:6.
Work by Grube et al, J Phytomed 2007 14:1 looked at comfrey ointment and its effect on osteoarthritis of the knee in 220 patients in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial. The ointment was found to reduce pain, improve mobility and increase quality of life in patients using the comfrey.
Comfrey root extracts, in an external ointment were tested against placebo in a double-blind, multi-centered, randomized and parallel trial for acute back pain in 120 patients. The ointment or placebo was applied three times daily with improvement in 95.2% of comfrey users and only 37.8% in placebo patients. Giannetti et al, Br J Sports Med 2009 May 21.
Taken internally, the herb helps heal both peptic and duodenal ulcers as well as colitis; and is considered very useful in helping heal broken bones. Chronic bone conditions such as Paget’s disease are an example of considered benefit/risk.
Various practitioners, including chiropractors, have noted the benefit of comfrey in decreased bone density in the lower lumbar, or in chronic lumbo-sacral instability and particularly soreness of the fourth and fifth lumbar process.
Comfrey is not the only source of allantoin. In fact, humans convert uric acid, from cell metabolism into allantoin. This conversion happens when uric acid traps free radicals, indicating that high levels of allantoin in the body suggest high levels of oxidative stress.
Comfrey appears to assist the body in removing lead from tissue, combining well with houseleek and marshmallow root.
For inflamed kidneys, combine comfrey and gravel root as a warm decoction. Allantoin helps stop the movement of white blood cells into the lining of reproductive organs, thereby limiting inflammation. Shipochliev et al, Veter Medin Nauki 1981 18:6. This suggests use in pelvic inflammatory disease.
We have found comfrey gel, which we purchase from Oregon, is a very valuable product for all manner of skin conditions. The viscosity and hydration of the product is a perfect medium for essential oils and their application for assorted skin, bone and tendon problems.
The B12 content of comfrey, long toted for vegetarians, was found to be very low in a 1977 report in the British Medical Journal. But it was present.
The root of S. asperum contains a crude gluco-fructan with strong anti- complementary and anti-oxidative activity. Barbakadze et al, Trans Causasian J Immunology 1999 1.
The leaf contains a water soluble dihydroxy-cinnamate derived polymer with strong ability to inhibit lipid peroxidation. Barbakazde, Mendeleev Commun 2000:4.
Moreover, it is a potent anti-inflammatory and vaso-protective agent.
Prickly Comfrey root contains the highest level of allantoin.
At concentrations of 0-200 micrograms per millilitre, there was no observed cytotoxicity on normal human fibroblasts and neither proliferation activation, nor anti-proliferative effects on neoplastic cells.
Lithospermic acid has anti-gonadotrophic activity. See Gromwell under Reproductive System. Wagner et al, Arzne Forschung 1970 20.
Symphytum (Comfrey-Knitbone) is of great use in wounds penetrating to the perineum and bones, and in non-union of fractures. It also helps the phantom pain of amputated limbs, in some cases.
In tincture form it may help in the treatment of gastric or duodenal ulcers, and externally in anal pruritis. For joints and injuries to tendons, ligaments and sinews, it can be helpful.
It also is used for pain in the occiput, top and forehead; or pain coming down the nose. Inflammation of the inferior maxillary bone, with red, hard swelling will also be afforded relief.
Symphytum promotes callus formation, as does Calc Phos cell salt.
Traumatic injuries to the eye also benefit from this remedy. Sexual excess that leads to backache will be helped.
There are a number of issues associated with the mind from recent proving.
Aliments from reverse of fortune, anger, remorse, domination, aversion to males in females, delusions of being newly born into the world, acting like child, indifference to business, opinions of other, irritability after coffee, trifles, work.
DOSE- Tincture and lower potencies. The mother tincture is prepared from the fresh root, gathered before flowering. First proving by Macfarlan with 5c and 15c in 1890s, and more recently by Peter Friedrich proved by ten females and three males at LM 30 in 1998.
Its traditional use as a vulnerary reported by Hering, Boericke, Allen, Tyler and others.
Use lower potencies internal, and diluted tincture (1-5) in warm water for compresses for dressing sores, ulcers and pruritis ani.
Comfrey 6CH has been found to promote bone density around titanium implants in animal studies. Sakakua et al, Clin Oral Implant 2008 19:6.
A gel containing homeopathic comfrey, poison ivy and labrador tea was found as effective as piroxicam gel in a Cochrane review of a randomized, controlled trial. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2005:3.
The distilled water of comfrey root is good for healing all internal and external injuries, ruptures, and sprains. It also checks blood-spitting, consumption, all manner of fluxes of the belly, pissing blood, and bloody flux. The dosage for these conditions is one half gill (two ounces) taken frequently. If a cloth is moistened with this water and laid over the affected place, it will heal wounds, abscesses, chapped lips, cracked nipples, and cracked skin on the hands and feet. SAUER
The water of Comfrey solders broken bones, being drank, helps ruptures, outwardly it stops the bleeding of wounds, they being washed with it. CULPEPPER
Comfrey root water is good for healing cleft palate in young babies, applied frequently. It is combined with wine for gout, wild fire in the forehead, and broken leg or bones. It is also good for eating sores on privates of women. BRUNSCHWIG
Comfrey flower essence is a toner for nerves, and helps heal nerve mis-function. It also helps heal traumas from present or past lifetimes. It is a master healer and powerful grounding force. RUNNING FOX FARM
Comfrey is a powerful tonic for the nervous system. It increases neurological response, and it invigorates the activity of the synapses between nerve cells.
Any disease such as shingles, can be treated with comfrey. If a person is trying to regain use of the nervous system after it has been in an atrophied state from, for instance, muscular degeneration or being in a wheelchair from an accident, this would be a powerful remedy to re- educate the body. Comfrey eases phantom limb pain because it heals nerve endings.
Comfrey can also be used when brain tissue has been damaged or destroyed. Comfrey does not rejuvenate brain tissue, but it allows dormant or atrophied portions of the brain to be used.
Comfrey helps re-channel brain messages. In balancing the left and right brain, it increases physical coordination. It enables one to gain better control over the body processes. GURUDAS
Comfrey flower essence is for those individuals having difficulty putting life’s circumstances in their place and integrating with the whole; or those who resist making personal sacrifices even when they know it is for the highest good of all involved. LIVING FLOWER
Comfrey flower essence repairs the nervous system, and problems of memory, coordination, reflex response, biofeedback shut down due to repression. Comfrey heals neural pathways that are shutdown, assisting one in gaining access to these memories. With the release of memories, feelings and information in the conscious mind, the individual is able to process and release the pain associated with the experience. DALTON
Comfrey (S. asperum) essence is for knowing that everything happens at the right time – and that where we are now, and how we are is precisely where we need to be for our continuing understanding and growth. LIGHT HEART
Comfrey essence helps one speak their truth and brings out assertiveness. CHOMING
Comfrey has a tendency to segment the individual, so that various aspects of the inner being that you wish to know better may be temporarily compartmentalized and then integrated.
For instance, if in meditative states one sees difficulty, one can separate this from the states in which one is dreaming or imagining or when wishful thinking is going on.
Ultimately, the focus on meditation is enhanced, and when combined with states of reverie, dreams and astral travel, these things are seen in their true light and are integrated in a constructive manner.
Comfrey assists in releasing things that stand in the way of developing any psychic ability.
The gonorrhea miasm is eased, and for those particularly associated with the tenth and 11th rays, there is some benefit. Comfrey is quite useful for most animals that get worms or many physical complaints. In working with your pets, if comfrey is to be used, look for behavioral properties and it may assist. GURUDAS
Comfrey’s key word is integration. Comfrey is a powerful integrator as it knits broken tissue, broken emotions and broken thoughts. It helps to connect human consciousness with the divine. EVELYN MULDERS
Comfrey is a spiritual medicine that does not require ingestion. This plant is capable of healing through the vibration of sound, but you have to slow down if you want to hear it… Comfrey so loves the ground in which she grows that she holds open a door for us, a green healing door, into the deeper truths of who we really are. THEA SUMMER DEER
DOCTRINE OF SIGNATURES
The division of the sepal, the striking division of the flower’s unique segments, and the structure of the leaves’ veins represent proficiency for putting things into perspective; while acknowledging integration and harmony of the whole.
The tubular, clustered flowers droop toward the ground and are protected by the plant’s leaves, making a statement of protection, surrender and service for the highest good.
The lavender colour of the flowers represents the sixth chakra of comfrey’s spiritual vision, wisdom and clairvoyant perceptions that are especially needed during times of sacrifice for the greater good.
The rough, prickly underside and the soft, fuzzy topside of the leaves symbolize the coming together of opposites, building a bridge of healing from within to without, transcending emotional barriers with spiritual guidance.
The protruding tongue-like center of the pistil emerging from the core of the flower symbolizes our inner voice and the taste and expression of our sweet essence that comes from deep within; this signature guides us to access prayer and meditation to help us speak our spiritual truths, and to communicate sensitively with others. PALLAS DOWNEY
In the case of comfrey, the leaf bases seem to flow into a stem, suggesting that broken bones could be flowed together again.
Comfrey heals the skin
Demulsifies and soothes
The queen of muciligen
Apply to sores and wounds
The controversy there
To take or not to take
Some say you must beware
Your liver don’t forsake
Certain harmful alkaloids
Can cause you ill effect
Topically, no concern Internal use, suspect
Comfrey helps the bones
Heals wounds and ulcers too
Promotes cell proliferation
But do not overdo
With Foxglove we confuse
The leaves are very similar
Guess wrong and you shall lose
Comfrey is a gem
For those who know it well
Its roots, oils and teas
Wisely used are swell!
INFUSION- One part dried leaf to 16 parts of boiled water. Drink warm, not hot for internal problems. Start with one cup several times daily.
DECOCTION- One part root to 32 parts water. Bring to a simmer for 20 minutes, strain and take up to four ounces four times daily.
TINCTURE- Make a 1:5 at 35% of the dried root or leaf. Dosage is 2-4 ml several times daily. The fresh leaf is very high moisture content so takes a long time to dry well.
No advantage to fresh tincture of either root or leaf. Remember that PAs are alcohol soluble, and water extracts should be used when possible to minimize exposure. Limit tincture use to two weeks or less.
Fatal dose for humans would theoretically be two leaves per day for two years. Maybe.
DRENCH FOR CATTLE- Take one pound of comfrey leaves, and boil slowly in two litres of water for one hour. Add handful of ground ivy and two ounces of wild licorice root, and simmer for one more hour. Give eight ounces up to three times daily. For internal ulcers, add one tbsp. of molasses to equal parts of above and raw skin milk.
LIQUID MANURE- Put 14 pounds of fresh cut comfrey leaf in a 20 gallon tapped fibre glass barrel. Fill with rainwater, and cover with lid. In one month, a clear liquid, rich in potassium and other nutrients, can be drawn off, for tomatoes, onions, gooseberries, and beans.
Or take a plastic container and punch a small hole near bottom. Fill with fresh comfrey leaves and weigh down with bricks. Cover and in 2-4 weeks, depending upon weather, a thick black liquid will begin dripping out of hole into small container. Dilute 1:40 parts water. Both of these methods are odiferous, so place accordingly.
CAUTION- Do not use comfrey in cases of lung edema. Comfrey root contains unsaturated pyrrolizidine alkaloids that may cause liver toxicity. Avoid taking it with any medications that may interfere with liver enzyme action.
Petasites, Inula and Echinacea species contain saturated PAs, which are considered safe by many authors.