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Health Benefits and Uses of Comfrey (Symphytum)

Comfrey is an herb that is harvested from the perennial plant with thick roots and leaves. It is an herb that has literally been used for hundreds of years for a variety of reasons. It goes by many names, some of them being Blackwort, Black Root, Knitbone, or Wallwort, among others.

Health Benefits and Uses of Comfrey

Below is a brief list of the many benefits and uses of comfrey.

1. Treats Stomach Issues

Comfrey has successfully been used to treat indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, and other digestive tract GI system complaints. Comfrey can also be utilized to treat and prevent ulcers, diarrhea, hernias, and more.

2. Respiratory Aid

This herb is often used to treat respiratory infections and soothe sore throats and coughs. Comfrey has long been used to treat lung issues, sinusitis, and irritation of the esophageal membranes.

3. Healing of Wounds

Comfrey can be applied directly to cuts and other wounds to draw out infection and expedite the healing process. It has even been used in civilizations to heal broken bones. It has been used this way for almost 2500 years, since approximately 400 BC. Poultices can be made from the leaves and applied to the affected area for treatment. Because comfrey should not be ingested, however, this poultice should not be used on openly torn skin, as it increases the risk of the body absorbing too much of the herb.

4. Aching Joints and Swelling

A poultice made from the fresh leaves can be applied to achy, stiff joints for immediate soothing. A regular application may also reduce swelling, this reducing symptoms of pain. If you can find a cream made from the herb in your health food or herbal store, you can also apply this to joints affected by arthritis and osteoporosis.

5. Skin Health

Poultices of the herb can also be applied to skin rashes and inflammation. A tincture made from the herb is believed to be incredibly effective in treating acne. The skin-healing properties of comfrey even extends to bedsores and skin ulcers.

How to Use Comfrey

Comfrey is typically applied only externally to the affected area. Seek the opinion of a trained herbalist to get advice on how to incorporate confrey correctly into your medicine cabinet when needed. While a poultice of comfrey can sometimes be messy, you can also use comfrey oil instead for the same purposes.

In most countries, you will only find comfrey available as a tincture, cream or ointment, however, and will thus have to make your own oil at home.

An infusion (tea) can be made by adding 1 to 2 teaspoons for dried Comfrey leaves to 1 cup boiling water. The water should be poured over the leaves and left to steep for about 5 to 10 minutes. This can be consumed 3 to 4 times a day.

A decoction of the root can be made by adding 1 teaspoon of dried comfrey root to 1 cup water, simmered for 5 to 6 minutes. Strain the decoction to drink 3 to 4 times a day.

The tea can be made into a higher strength and used externally as a wash, or it can be left to dry a bit and used as a salve. It is possible to use the leaf fresh by bruising it and applying it to the skin, while crushed root can be used on a minor wound or burn if needed.

Caution

In laboratory tests, there was an isolated compound that, when used in large doses, tumors developed. While no problems have been reported by humans while using the leaf or root, caution should be had, and the plant should be internally taken for just short periods of time. Comfrey should not be used by pregnant women.

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