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Comfrey can be planted any time soil is not frozen.
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Comfrey History & References
Plant Overview & Growing
General Comfrey Information
How to Grow Comfrey
3 Types of Comfrey
 
Soil, Fruit Trees, Animals
Improving Soil with Comfrey
Permaculture & Fruit Trees
Comfrey as Feed for Poultry
Comfrey as Feed for Livestock
Comfrey: Animals & Health
 
Human Health
Comfrey & Healing
Comfrey Soap & Infused Oil
Comfrey Safety: Overview
Comfrey Safety: Processing
Comfrey Safety: Research
Comfrey: Need Studies

COMFREY AND HEALING     Prices & How to Order
Medicinal Comfrey (Symphytum sp.)
Long History of Comfrey as Medicine

Comfrey has been grown and used as an healing herb since at least 400 BC.

Comfrey has been used in China for healing purposes for 2,000 years. Dioscorides, an ancient Greek physician, used comfrey to heal the troops of Alexander the Great.

Medieval monks grew S. officinale in their gardens to use medicinally. It has been used for centuries in Europe, Asia and the United States.

Comfrey Used by Famous, Old-Time Herbalists

"Comfrey's been a favorite herb of most early herbalists and has been written about for centuries in the famed old herbals. Hildegard of Bingen, famous visionary, saint and herbalist of the Benedictines, recommended it for wounds in the 11th century. Paracelsus, Pliny, Gerard, Dioscoriedes, and Culpepper were all fans of the herb and recommended it highly."

"It's no wonder comfrey's been extolled as one of the renowned healing herbs of all times. Its very name, Symphytum, means 'to heal'."


(The Comfrey Controversy by Rosemary Gladstar as quoted in Urban Herbalist, http://urbanherbalist.me/?paged=2. She wrote the popular books: "Rosemary Gladstar's Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health", "Rosemary Gladstar's Medicinal Herbs", "Herbs for Natural Beauty", "Herbs for Stress and Anxiety", "Herbs for Common Ailments", "Herbal Healing for Women".)

Comfrey is Medicine: Use Wisely

All comfrey (Russian, True/Common) contains Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids (PAs) and can be toxic if used internally in large doses for a long time. It is hard on your liver. Consult your health practitioner if taking internally. Like all medicine, use with care.

There is a lot of controversy about the safety of using Comfrey as medicine. Research by respected scientists and institutions contradict each other about amounts/types of chemicals in the plant, and how healing or toxic it is.

True/Common comfrey (Symphytum officinale) is usually suggested as the best one to use internally medicinally. However, there is some controversy about whether Russian comfrey is better.


External Uses of Comfrey

Externally any cultivar of comfrey can be used. Always consult your doctor or herbalist before using as medicine.

Common comfrey has been used as a poultice for treating burns and wounds for centuries. A poultice is made by chopping up comfrey leaves into a soft, moist mass and applying it externally to the injured area.

"The external use of comfrey preparations should not be hazardous since the alkaloids are converted to toxic metabolites by liver enzymes only after being ingested."
(FDA Poisonous Plant Database, www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/ plantox/detail.cfm?id=962)

"I'm a cold process soap making enthusiast. I am currently getting ready to make a new batch of soap that calls for fresh comfrey leaves. In the future, I'd like to grow herbs for my soap and this year I grew calendula. I soak the comfrey leaves in water for 2-3 days before adding it to the soap. I'm going to make an oil infusion with the avacado oil and the comfrey and prepare an herbal infusion to try and extract the color of the comfrey to color the soap." -Christina, Lewistown, Pennsylvania


External Use is Safer than Internal Use

"Until now only rudimentary data concerning absorption of PAs through the skin exist. The study by Brauchli et al. (1982) suggests that at least in rats, the dermal absorption could be 20-50 times less than absorption via the intestinal route."
(European Food Safety Authority, Scientific Opinion on Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids in Food and Feed, 2011, www.efsa.europa.eu/en/search/ doc/2406.pdf)

Bumble bees love Comfrey. You can see the pollen on the bee's side.

Good for Skin Conditions

WebMD.com:
"Comfrey is applied to the skin for ulcers, wounds, joint inflammation, bruises, rheumatoid arthritis, swollen veins (phlebitis), gout, and fractures."

University of Maryland Medical Center (UMM.edu):
"Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) is sometimes used on the skin to treat wounds and reduce inflammation from sprains and broken bones. Comfrey roots and leaves contain allantoin, a substance that helps new skin cells grow, along with other substances that reduce inflammation and keep skin healthy. Comfrey ointments have been used to heal bruises as well as pulled muscles and ligaments, fractures, sprains, strains, and osteoarthritis."

Comfrey, Honey, Wheat Germ Oil

"Received your Comfrey roots yesterday, planted today about 4 feet apart. I'm looking forward to seeing growth this spring. I have cellulitis on my lower leg which allopathic medicine can't seem to deal with, the result of a staph infection and antibiotic reaction."

"So will be using tincture of the dried Comfrey root now and will be using the fresh leaves in a Honey, Wheat Germ Oil, Comfrey paste, as soon as I can harvest some leaf. Thank God for herbs and essential oils! [neem, tea tree, oregano etc]."
-Bob, Murphy, North Carolina

"To equal parts of liquid honey and wheat germ oil, blend in finely chopped or powdered fresh or dried comfrey leaf or root. When the mixture is the consistency of a heavy spreadable paste it is ready to use." (Dr Christopher's Herbal Legacy, http://www.herballegacy.com/ Burns_Sunburns.html.)

Soothing, Healing Comfrey Root

All cultivars of Comfrey contain mucilage (mucopolysaccharides) that is a moisturizing agent. It is good for skin and sore throats.

Much more mucilage is found in the roots than in the leaves.
(Cornell University, Medicinal Plants for Livestock, www.ansci.cornell.edu/plants/ medicinal/comf.html.)

Mucilaginous roots coat and soothe the digestive (stomach/intestines) and respiratory systems. The mucilage makes comfrey a demulcent (relieving inflammation or irritation).

Comfrey root is good as a tea (decoction), used in moderation. Or use as a poultice on your chest. Good for applying to sprains and bruises.

Healing Tannins in Comfrey

Tannins are in the roots and leaves. They act as a styptic (stops bleeding) by tightening the tissues. It is astringent (causing the contraction of body tissues). Wounds heal faster.

"Love your website and all the wonderful information on comfrey. And thank you so much for propagating and offering plants that can heal our planet!" -Joe, Burnsville, Virginia

Healing Allantoin

All comfrey (True and Russian) contains the healing chemical allantoin (stimulates cell growth/repair, cell proliferant) in both roots and leaves.

Wounds heal faster because cells regenerate faster. It is used in skin care products.

Allantoin is found in the placenta of pregnant women and animals, and later in their milk. It helps babies grow.

It heals digestive problems. Comfrey leaves have been fed to horses, cows and pigs to reduce scouring (diarrhea).

More Allantoin in Roots than Leaves

Comfrey roots contain a greater percent of Allantoin than comfrey leaves.
(Reported by Steven Foster, 1999, Georgetown University Medical Center. http://units.georgetown.edu/gumc/ urbanherbs/Comfrey.htm)

"The roots contain about twice as much Allantoin as the leaves." (Herbal Encyclopedia: Common Medicinal Herbs, www.cloverleaffarmherbs.com/comfrey. And in "The Healing Herbs" book by Michael Castleman.)

"The Allantoin in comfrey, found abundantly in the flowering tops, has been identified as the source of much of the herb's healing actions."
(Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine, 2005, www.encyclopedia.com/topic/ Comfrey.aspx)

True/Common Comfrey, Allantoin in Leaf: .30% to 1.30%

Fresh True comfrey leaves contain about 0.3% allantoin. Fresh True comfrey root contains 0.6 to 0.8% allantoin.
(From 'The Comfrey Report' by Lawrence Hills, 1975.)

R.H. Hart in 'Crops and Soils' (1976) reported that dry True/Common Comfrey leaves have 0.1 to 1.6% allantoin and dry roots have 0.4 to 1.5%. Since fresh leaves are 85% water, they would contain around 0.2% allantoin.
('Alternative Field Crops Manual' by University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension.)

Allantoin in leaf 13,000 ppm (1.3%); in root 6,000-8,000 ppm (0.6-0.8%).
(Cornell University, Medicinal Plants for Livestock, and Dr. Duke's Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases www.ars-grin.gov/duke/.)

The constituents of (True) comfrey root include 0.64.7% allantoin.
(US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ pmc/articles/PMC3491633/)

Russian Comfrey, Allantoin in Leaf: .34 to .44%

According to the 'The Comfrey Report', page 47: "Dried Russian Bocking #14 leaves have 0.44% allantoin. Dried Russian Bocking #4 leaves have 0.34% allantoin. In True Comfrey leaves it is 0.30%."

"Russian (S. x uplandicum) comfreys have the highest levels of protein and allantoin (more than True Comfrey). Bocking No. 14: This type has the most allantoin (more than Bocking No. 4)." (Golden Harvest Organics, www.ghorganics.com)

It is much easier to find research on True/Common Comfrey than it is on Russian Comfrey. Scientific studies vary a lot in their results.



Comfrey Alkaloids: Least in Mature Leaves

Small young leaves have higher concentrations of toxic Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids (PAs) than larger, older leaves. (Young leaves may contain more beneficial Allantoin.)

The PAs in roots are concentrated more in small young roots. (Young roots may contain more Allantoin.)

Roots contain more than leaves. (Roots do contain more Allantoin, perhaps twice as much.)

Depending on the study, comfrey leaves have from 0.02% to 0.18% alkaloids. Roots have about 0.25-0.40% alkaloids.

"The highest Alkaloid concentration is in the root, having almost twice as much as in the aerial parts." (Herbal Encyclopedia: Common Medicinal Herbs, www.cloverleaffarmherbs.com/comfrey.)

There are studies that indicate that Russian Comfrey has fewer of the toxic alkaloids than True Comfrey. Other studies indicate the opposite.



Does More Alkaloids Mean More Allantoin?

I could not find any research as to whether young or mature leaves have the most Allantoin. Since Allantoin causes cell growth, it seems that since young leaves are growing more, they would have more Allantoin than mature leaves.

Research indicates that comfrey roots contain more Allantoin and more Alkaloids than the leaves.

It seems like roots are concentrated leaves. You would need fewer roots than leaves to get the same healing effect.


Perhaps it does not matter a lot whether roots or leaves are used if mucilage is not needed. And young or old growth may not matter. Because it looks like when the Alkaloids are higher so is the Allantoin, and vice versa.

We need more research. Always use in moderation. Consult your health care provider.


Acres USA Magazine: The Voice of Eco-Agriculture

"A customer came into my health food store and told me about her experience with a brown recluse spider bite that she got while pulling weeds. She snipped off a leaf of comfrey, rolled it between her hands until the juice began to flow, and then bandaged it around the bite."

"When she took off the leaf that night, it was black and running with poison. She got a fresh leaf and repeated the treatment. The next morning the leaf was black and running with poison. She repeated the treatment that night, and when she took off the leaf, it looked fresh and green as if it had just been picked. No loss of flesh, no pain."

Acres USA Magazine, April 2017

Always consult your health care provider.

Herbal Healer

From the book "Comfrey Report: The Story of the World's Fastest Protein Builder and Herbal Healer" by Lawrence Donegan Hills:

"Most testimonials (1958-1966) were related to Comfrey ointment, because this is used for skin conditions against which Allantoin, the healing principle in Comfrey appears to be most effective."

"I have decided to pass on the knowledge that has been given me by those who are grateful for the help that Comfrey has given them. I did not help them, Comfrey did, and I hope that it will help you."





Buy Live Comfrey Roots for Planting

Grow your own Comfrey: True/Common Comfrey, Russian Bocking #4, and Russian Bocking #14. Your order includes a flyer about how to take care of your plants.
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$30.80: WiseWays Organic Comfrey Oil, 4 ounces + Frontier Comfrey Root, Dried, Cut & Sifted, Organic, 1 pound. Shipping is $7.
 
 

 
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Topton, North Carolina 28781
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