August 02, 2012

The Wonders of Comfrey

Comfrey is also called knitbone, knitback, consound, blackwort, Ass Ear, Slippery Root, boneset, yalluc (Saxon), gum plant, consolida and bruisewort.

From the pattern of these names, you’ve probably guessed that comfrey can do more than benefit your garden. It also has powerful healing properties, supporting the body’s ability to repair damaged tissue and bones.

Comfrey roots and leaves contain a substance called allantoin, which, along with other beneficial compounds in the plant, supports healthy cell growth and reduces inflammation. Comfrey has been used externally as a poultice or ointment to heal bruises, broken bones, closed wounds, pulled muscles and ligaments, fractures, as well as reducing inflammation from sprains and more.

There is some controversy over comfrey though, because it also contains poisonous substances called pyrrolizidine alkaloids that have been shown to be toxic to the liver when ingested. For this reason, oral comfrey products have been banned in many countries, including the U.S. It is reported that some of the pyrrolizidine alkaloids can be absorbed through the skin as well, but there are varying opinions as to the actual risk of poisoning through topical use. It is best to find a knowledgeable herbalist or naturopath who can teach you the correct way to use this wonderful herb. Most recommend using comfrey externally, for no more than 10 days at a time and no more than 4-6 weeks out of the year. While many feel that caution with this herb is important, it is also a powerful healing tool if used correctly.

So now that you know all about this wonderful herb, weed, and garden companion, get out there and get growing!*

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