Comfrey (Symphytum officinale)
Comfrey is one of the best herbs to use for the respiratory system. Comfrey has many different names on is the healing herb and it lives up to its name. Comfrey has many therapeutic action, demulcent (reduces inflammation), cell proliferant, pectoral, astringent, nutritive, tonic, expectorant, hemostatic, alterative, vulnerary, mucilage and styptic.
Dr. Shock wrote the following on Comfrey: “It does not seem to matter much which part of the body is broken, either internally or externally; Comfrey will heal it quickly. It is a great cell proliferant or new cell grower, it grows flesh and bone alike, stops hemorrhage, and is wonderful for coughs, soothing and healing the inflamed tissues in most remarkable manner”.
The root and young leaves contain a toxic alkaloid which, according to some modern research may cause liver damage if taken in large amounts. If the liver is congested or weak, it is better to use the mature leaf for internal use, avoiding the root and young leaf. The roots and young leaves are most beneficial as a poultice in healing any obstinate or ulcerous wound. The chief healing element in Comfrey is allantion, a cell proliferant which promotes the gramulation and formation of epithelial cells.
With regards to the warnings that Comfrey can cause cancer and liver disease, most herbal practitioners point out that those results were from studies that isolated the pyrrolizidine alkaloids and fed or injected them into animal subjects in doses far higher than any typical usage of Comfrey leaf, and that Comfrey leaf has been regularly ingested by thousands of people around the world without reported ill effects. I personally have not heard of someone using Comfrey and developing cancer or liver disease.
Comfrey has bone mending properties and should be one of the reasons to keep Comfrey in your home. Comfrey is not recommended internally. Not recommended for use in pregnant women, even externally. As always, consult a doctor and/or qualified herbalist before using this or any herb!