Comfrey is an herb that has been known for its medicinal uses ever since the ancient Greece. This herb is mostly used for its amazing bone and joint repairing abilities and it is one of the herbs that naturopaths appreciate the most.
The scientific name of this plant is Symphytum officinale and it belongs to the family of boraginaceae. It can grow up to five feet, its root is beet-shaped and it branches into black finger-like roots while the stalk is bristling and straight, with leathery branches on the top. The flowers of comfrey are shaped like a funnel and they are usually purple, white, pink or violet.
For a long time, for centuries actually, comfrey’s leaves and roots have been used to heal a number of ailments, especially those regarding bones and joints, like fractures, sprains and tears.
This plant originates from Europe and Asia and it is easily grown. Even though it has many beneficial properties, some of its species are poisonous. The name “comfrey” derives from the Latin word “comfera”, which means “to knit together”.
Comfrey was widely used by ancient Greek and Romans, mainly to heal wounds, alleviate bronchial problems, heavy bleeding and broken bones. It was very popular in the Middle Ages as it was used mostly to treat fractures.
Comfrey contains allantoin, a compound that stimulates cell production. This comes useful when the body needs to replace cells damaged due to illnesses and injuries. It also boosts the immune system and makes it more able to fight infections.
Another important component of comfrey is mucilage. Like allantoin, it has anti-inflammatory properties and it helps with gastrointestinal disorders.
Allantoin and mucilage work together to alleviate pain and inflammation due to fractured bones, sprains, wounds, arthritis and similar problems.
Roots and leaves of comfrey can be used in the form of wash, ointment and poultice to treat ulcers, gangrene, diarrhea, bleeding gums, as an expectorant and a mild sedative.
Comfrey is also beneficial for a number of skin ailments, especially acne, boils and abscess.
This herb is believed to be beneficial even for the people who suffer from diabetes, and for those who need to regulate their cholesterol levels in the blood. It can also be used to treat indigestion, bowel problems, hernia, cough, lung problems and even cancer.
Comfrey is rich in essential nutrients. It is a great source of vitamins A and C, and it is one of the rare plant sources of vitamin B12. In addition, it is rich in calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, zinc, selenium and germanium.