Comfrey: An Overview
Comfrey is an herb that can almost be called an herbalist's "best kept secret". Like most herbs, comfrey grows wild or cultivated as a perennial plant in various places of the world. There are several varieties of this herb, and the most useful
for medicinal purposes is the Russian Comfrey, or Symphytum x uplandicum. This variety of comfrey is known by several other names too, including: Healing Herb, Blackwort, Bruisewort, and Knitbone.
While internal uses of comfrey are considered controversial even among practicing herbalists, the name "Knitbone" is one key to just how powerful this particular herb can be for particular external uses. Specifically, comfrey contains a natural compound known as allantoin, which is able to quickly speed up the replacement of cells in the body. This means it's able to produce rapid healing for broken or sprained bones, and cuts, bruises, or other open wounds.
Comfrey has restricted uses in many countries, the United States, Canada, and the U.K. included. The restrictions are generally related to internal uses only, and they're in place because comfrey contains substances known as hepatotoxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids, or PAs. These PAs can cause a liver disease which could in turn cause liver failure.
Some practicing herbalists feel that the internal use of comfrey is quite safe, while others feel that some variations of the herb are safe while others should be avoided. And there are those who simply use comfrey for external applications as well.
The external applications alone are quite amazing to anyone who has never encountered them before too. Simply mixing a bit of comfrey with oil, aloe vera, or even beeswax or petroleum jelly will create an instant useable salve which does wonders for a variety of common health problems.
Staph infections for instance, which are caused by Staphylococcal bacteria, are quickly killed by simply applying comfrey directly or comfrey salve directly to the infected area. Open wounds heal extremely fast - usually within 24 hours or less - and usually leave no scar behind as well. Broken bones are known to heal faster when comfrey is applied outside the affected area, and torn ligaments and tendons also heal quite quickly when a comfrey salve or poultice is applied externally too.
Not only does comfrey start the healing process quite fast, it also helps relieve pain as soon as it comes into contact with the injured area. It's also excellent for bringing down swelling and reducing inflammation.
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