North Adams, MA: Storey Publishing. Therefore, applying a poultice made of comfrey root powder and leaf juice, or drinking tea made of comfrey root powder can greatly help in curing nosebleeds, bleeding in skin wounds, and in reducing and speeding the healing of bruises. Comfrey is likley unsafe to take by mouth. (2018). Whether astride a horse in Provence, climbing a volcano in Costa Rica, taking a jet plane to New Zealand, or just spending a quiet day in my gardens, I am never without my herbal first-aid kit. You can also try using comfrey as mulch or as a compost enhancer. > (BTW - Ignore any posts that follow from the resident afh scaremongers. Dosages of Comfrey: Historically daily doses of leaf ranged from 5 … Comfrey leaf and root contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PLAs), a group of toxic compounds that can cause damage to the liver. Comfrey is even believed to help decrease inflammation of tendon sheaths (Tilgner, 2018), supporting its use for joint sprains. Oral toxicity study of certain plant extracts containing pyrrolizidine alkaloids. Comfrey is a plant. The essential guide to herbal safety. Health benefits of this beautiful flowering plant include: Wound Healing. First, comfrey is only suggested for healthy individuals who have no history of liver disease or liver function issues, are not taking medications that reduce liver function, and are not pregnant or nursing. It is often used to slow bleeding and drainage from tissues and to tighten and tone relaxed tissues. A strong decoction, or tea, is recommended in cases of internal haemorrhage, whether from the lungs, stomach, bowels or from bleeding piles -to be taken every two hours till the haemorrhage ceases, in severe cases, a teaspoonful of Witch Hazel extract being added to the Comfrey root tea. used, While it can be helpful for herbalists to take these studies into account, it should be noted that the majority of research involved isolating PAs and injecting them at various concentrations, often very high concentrations, into rats. whose agenda is to rubbish the use of herbal medicine one way or another. It is the tannin that is solely responsible for making comfrey herb so effective in controlling bleeding. Pleasant Hill, OR: Wise Acres Publishing. Comfrey root was blamed. If one promptly died from drinking comfrey leaf tea, there would be less controversy concerning its use. (Eds.). King's Dispensatory writes 'Comfrey root is very useful in diarrhoea, dysentery, bronchial irritation, coughs, hemoptysis, other pulmonary affections, leucorrhoea, and female debility. The high content of antioxidants, as well as vitamin C, makes comfrey pastes and salves the ideal solution for speeding up the healing of wounds. Animal studies on the internal use of comfrey are plentiful but often show mixed results. Topical herbal therapies for treating osteoarthritis. Add 50g of beeswax (usually available from supermarkets). I answered the original posters question - you are scaremongering. While both comfrey leaf and root are well known for their mucilage content and associated demulcent action, the root is more demulcent than the leaf. Both the roots and leaves of comfrey help in organic gardening. Depending on their molecular structure, PAs can be either saturated (such as those found in arnica and echinacea) or unsaturated (such as those found in alkanet, borage, coltsfoot, and comfrey). Romanian Journal of Morphology & Embryology, 57, (3), 1017-1023. The leaves also are similar -- large and hairy. Gardner, Z., & McGuffin, M. The third case involves a woman who overdosed: 10 cups of comfrey tea a day & handsful of comfrey pills. Date: 27 May 1995 23:04:09 +0100. It transpires that many of these people believe they are correctly informing fellow readers, whilst a minority are reductionist pharmacists of one sort or another , explicitly opposed to phytotherapy as unscientific etc etc. Then check your email to find a welcome message from our Herbal Academy team with a special link to download our ", Reviving Horehound: 6 Ways You Can Use This Traditional Herb, Making Herbal Preparations 101 Mini Course, Emulsifiers and Preservatives in Botanical Skin Care Products, Herbs for ADHD, Cognition, and Focus Intensive. Comfrey has been used for over 2,000 years in Chinese medicine to heal wounds and bones. Common comfrey (Symphytum officianale) and Russian Comfrey (S. uplandicum) are fast-growing leafy plants that are considered invasive in some areas.They spread rapidly, and are incredibly difficult to control because new plants can sprout from even tiny sections of root … I hope to avoid being burned as a heretic. North America, Australia, and Asia are all places where comfrey is found. Comfrey is almost TOO good at what it does best… and there is another pretty big catch you should be aware of… WHY YOU SHOULD AVOID COMFREY. At this point, there are no clinical studies showing the link between PAs and liver toxicity when comfrey is taken at typical doses by healthy humans. This is the biggest difference between natural vs… When you apply comfrey to your skin, it can have some benefits on rashes and irritations. Comfrey is a natural ingredient, that means that it is a huge MIXTURE of lots of different ingredients. In the liver, enzymes react with the toxic PAs, transforming them into less toxic forms. Cool and strain. Even though this plant contains poisonous chemicals called pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs), some people use the leaf, root, and root-like stem (rhizome) to make medicine. You can plant it once and have this very valuable plant forever. used S. x uplandicum). In a 2006 short-term study using oral preparations of comfrey (S. officinale) root extract in mice and rats, no hepatic and biliary toxic effects were observed at the conclusion of the study; however, researchers did recommend that longer studies are needed to determine the safety of PA-containing plant extracts (Seremet et al., 2006). Animal studies on the internal use of comfrey are plentiful but often show mixed results. Anyway, using comfrey leaf poultice, salve, etc., is not dangerous. AHPA reports that in Germany, the recommended external application of comfrey is a daily exposure at or below 100 μg unsaturated pyrrolizidine alkaloids limited to 4 to 6 weeks per year (Gardner & McGuffin, 2013). On the other hand, other studies using rats that were given isolated PAs from comfrey root or young leaf, both of which have higher levels of PAs than mature comfrey leaf (Mills & Bone, 2005), have shown to be toxic when given in both low and high concentrations (Mei et al., 2005; Yeong et al., 1993). In the compost pile, comfrey leaves help speed the decomposition of tree leaves, grass clippings and other organic materials. Comfrey ROOT has been implicated in the pyrrolizidine alkaloid link with occlusive liver disease. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 5, CD010538. The common variety is quite weedy and spreads around the garden. There are also disagreements about the efficacy & safety of leaves vs. root. Comfrey is most commonly taken as a tea, a tincture or a poultice. I would recommend the … The root contains 10-1000 times more Pyrrolizidine alkaloids than the leaves. Subject: Re: Comfrey leaves? Comfrey Botanical Profile. Warning the public that tobacco can cause cancer or that alcohol is a potential liver toxin does not make us scaremongers. Comfrey is available under the following different brand names: Black Root, Blackwort, Bruisewort, Common Comfrey, Gum Plant, Healing herb, Knitbone, Prickley Comfrey, Salsify, Slippery Root, Symphytum officinale, and Wallwort. Your comments however simply constitute part of the problem of scaremongering, not part of the solution. contain the more toxic macrocyclic diester PAs (Hoffmann, 2003) and higher levels of echimidine, which has exhibited a more toxic effect (Gardner & McGuffin, 2013). Hepatocyte membrane injury and bleb formation following low dose comfrey toxicity in rats. The root has much more of the toxic chemicals than the leaf; Comfrey leaves contain about 0.06% alkaloids, and roots about 0.2 to 0.4%” . The herb’s leaves are easy to use as mulch. It just allows people to begin thinking about weighing the benefits of comfrey use against the risks. Please simply create an account before buying/booking any courses. Goldenseal herb vs. root. Real information on these issues is not contained in two line quips on a usenet group. Foxglove leaves spring from the root as a clump, while comfrey … Comfrey leaf is prized for its allantoin content, making it useful for tissue repair and cell regeneration. Comfrey contains chemicals that can cause liver damage, lung problems, or cancer. (Note that Mei et al. Certain types of pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) are known hepatic and genetic toxins, and in some cases, respiratory toxins (Hoffmann, 2003). Because of this, it is often used to soothe hot, dry tissues, particularly those in the gastrointestinal, respiratory, and urinary tracts for digestive ulcers and diarrhea, coughs, or to ease symptoms associated with a urinary tract infection, respectively (Hoffmann, 2003; Tilgner, 2018). Both have medicinal properties but the root is believed to be better because it has a higher concentration of potassium, nitrogen, phosphorus and silicon. Since a chemical in isolation behaves differently than when present in a whole plant, rats are different than humans, different routes of administration can affect toxicity, and it is sometimes unclear which comfrey species (. ) spp. It's been online since 1995, and is run by Henriette Kress, a herbalist in Helsinki, Finland. Despite this toxicity, scientific studies have also revealed that some types of PAs have several beneficial pharmacological properties, such as antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and anti-HIV activity, as well as the ability to inhibit acetylcholinesterase enzyme (Moreira et al., 2018). 97 ($7.49/Fl Oz) Please add your email address below and click "Submit" to add yourself to our mailing list. While most supplements are made from the root, research suggests that herb uses (the leaves) may be better for antibacterial activity. Romanian Journal of Morphology & Embryology, 57(3), 1017-1023. Generally speaking eat a healthy diet. was used, there is dissension among herbalists regarding this decision and whether comfrey is indeed toxic to a healthy human (Hoffmann, 2003) when used in appropriate dosages and frequencies. It grows as a root stick with branches coming from the stalk and only gets to about 2–3 feet tall. Add just enough water to turn it into a thick, wet paste, not too runny and not too dry. Comfrey ROOT has been implicated in the pyrrolizidine alkaloid link with occlusive liver disease. You not only CAN use the leaves, but SHOULD do so. Compared to true comfrey (Symphytum officinale), species of comfrey such as Russian comfrey (Symphytum x uplandicum) and prickly comfrey (Symphytum asperum) contain the more toxic macrocyclic diester PAs (Hoffmann, 2003) and higher levels of echimidine, which has exhibited a more toxic effect (Gardner & McGuffin, 2013). Mills, S., & Bone, K. (2005). What is Comfrey? Tilgner, S.M. Comfrey is even believed to help decrease inflammation of tendon sheaths (Tilgner, 2018), supporting its use for joint sprains. Comfrey root should only be used by a actual herbalist that knows what he is doing. Well Dan, the point is what is your agenda? That being said, based on case reports of liver disease in individuals taking the leaf or root of unspecified Symphytum species, the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) did ban the sale of botanical products containing toxic PAs (including those with Russian comfrey and prickly comfrey) for internal use, suggesting those products should be restricted to external use (Gardner & McGuffin, 2013). (Note that Mei et al. Gardner, Z., & McGuffin, M. (2013). Mutagenicity of comfrey (Symphytum Officinale) in rat liver. The Herbal Academy makes neither medical claim, nor intends to diagnose or treat medical conditions. ), not all PAs are toxic. (2018). Comfrey leaf has been used since Roman times, dating back thousands of years. The drugs were not considered as possibilities. We use quite a lot of compost on our farm and comfrey helps us keep up with the quantity that we need. While it can be helpful for herbalists to take these studies into account, it should be noted that the majority of research involved isolating PAs and injecting them at various concentrations, often very high concentrations, into rats. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 19. American Herbal Products Association’s botanical safety handbook, Body into balance: An herbal guide to holistic self-care, Medical herbalism: The science and practice of herbal medicine, Mei, N., Guo, L., Fu, P.P., Heflich, R.H., & Chen, T. (2005). Tobacco and alcohol consumption is perpetuated by international corporations with huge fiscal benefits to the governments involved etc etc The extent of the toxicity/carcinogenicity of tobacco/alcohol would otherwise have lead to withdrawl from public availability long ago. Do not use different forms (tablets, liquid, tincture, teas, etc) of comfrey at the same time without medical advice. If you are considering the internal use of comfrey, we recommend researching this matter for yourself in more depth so you have all the facts. On the other hand, other studies using rats that were given isolated PAs from comfrey root or young leaf, both of which have higher levels of PAs than mature comfrey leaf (Mills & Bone, 2005), have shown to be toxic when given in both low and high concentrations (Mei et al., 2005; Yeong et al., 1993). Its analgesic action could be due to its alkaloid content, but it could also be due to the astringent, anti-inflammatory, and demulcent properties as well. Can and should one use comfrey (Symphytum spp.) Use comfrey leaves for mulch; their broad leaves cover a wide area. Pyrrolizidine alkaloids: Chemistry, pharmacology, toxicology and food safety. PA levels vary depending on the plant part used, with roots containing higher levels of PAs than mature leaves (Gardner & McGuffin, 2013; Mills & Bone, 2005). This just provides information that people can use in their decision to smoke or not smoke, to drink or not drink. Health Benefits of Comfrey. Body into balance: An herbal guide to holistic self-care. However, as we’ve come to learn more about PAs and their effects on human and animal health, some herbalists have changed their approach to using PA-containing herbs, including comfrey. The Herbal Academy supports trusted organizations with the use of affiliate links. 10. International Journal of Experimental Pathology, 74(2), 211-217. While a small amount of comfrey’s PAs may be absorbed through the skin, when used within the guidelines stated above, the amount is believed to be limited and, therefore, safe to use (Groves, 2016; Hoffmann, 2003). >I have a healthy crop of comfrey, courtesy of a friend, growing in my garden. Drink plenty of fluid and rest. Saturated PAs are considered non-toxic, while unsaturated PAs are considered toxic (Hoffmann, 2003). Take too many AMA-sponsored, FDA-approved, doctor-prescribed sleeping pills, and you die. internally? You not only CAN use the leaves, but SHOULD do so. Comfrey will provide the bees with plenty of forage. The most common result of PA toxicity is veno-occlusive disease in the liver. Cameron, M., & Chrubasik, S. (2013). Information offered on Herbal Academy websites is for educational purposes only. PA levels also vary depending on the species of Symphytum. I like to also add one teaspoon of DMSO. This is a question that herbalists have been debating since safety concerns were first brought to light regarding the potentially negative health effects associated with using comfrey internally. Use the removed leaf debris as a side dressing along your vegetable plants. The Herbal Academy neither endorses them nor is in any way responsible for their content. (2016). Comfrey poultices should be left in place for several hours (overnight is ideal). In this article, we will look at the benefits of comfrey and its traditional uses, its constituents and their physiological effects in the body, how comfrey is typically used internally and externally, and the safety facts that herbalists need to be aware of when using comfrey. American Herbal Products Association’s botanical safety handbook (2nd ed.). To make an ointment to use externally, take 1 cup of finely cut comfrey root and simmer in 1 cup of olive oil until it starts to soften. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Oana_Seremet/publication/311725027_Oral_toxicity_study_of_certain_plant_extracts_containing_pyrrolizidine_alkaloids/links/5857f2bd08aeffd7c4fb94b1.pdf. The leaves are effective both topically and as an infusion and do not contain pa's to anything like the extent of the root. Traditionally, comfrey has been used for hundreds of years, both internally and externally. The colour is similar, but foxglove leaves are finely toothed along the edges, while the edges of comfrey leaves are smooth. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD010538. Comfrey leaf tea is not dangerous if taken sensibly. Take 3-4 tablespoons of comfrey root powder (root powder works much better than comfrey leaves as there are more alkaloids inside the root) Put comfrey root powder into a small bowl. You can make a comfrey poultice with the leaf or the root. Apply this thickly and liberally to the desired area. Mei, N., Guo, L., Fu, P.P., Heflich, R.H., & Chen, T. (2005). Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. Much debate surrounds the safety of comfrey due to various parts … Comfrey used to be used extensively for tuberculosis and irritating dry lung complaints in general. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD010538. Comfrey is the common name for a perennial called S ymphytum officinale which grows quickly in zones 4-9, produces lots of large leaves and has pink or white flowers which are not overly ornamental. Sign up for the Herbal Academy Newsletter, and we'll send you a free ebook. It has a tap root similar to dandelions. In closing, we here at the Herbal Academy suggest erring on the side of caution and avoiding comfrey for internal use, particularly in the case of preexisting liver conditions, those taking medications that may affect liver function, during pregnancy, and while nursing. It is important to know what part of the plant is usable medicinally and for comfrey, it is the leaves and the root. Comfrey is a perennial plant that propagates easily from root divisions. Comfrey, Symphytum uplandica x Herbal Adventures with Susun S Weed by Susun S. Weed read other Herbal Adventures part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4 . Herbal ABCs: The foundation of herbal medicine. You can follow some tips from Healthtap doctors for breast feeding. While a number of plants contain PAs, such as alkanet (. That being said, based on case reports of liver disease in individuals taking the leaf or root of unspecified. British Journal of Cancer, 92(5), 873–875. New York: CRC Press. Comfrey Root Alcohol-Free Liquid Extract, Organic Comfrey (Symphytum Officinale) Dried Root Tincture Supplement (4 FL OZ) 4.5 out of 5 stars 12 $29.97 $ 29 . Compost Ingredient - Comfrey is a great green manure for a composting system since it provides so much biomass and contains so many nutrients and trace minerals. Infected Wounds. (BTW - Ignore any posts that follow from the resident afh scaremongers that suggest you will promptly die if you drink a cup of comfrey leaf tea - it is extremely hard to ingest sufficient quantities of pa's from the herb to even remotely approach harmful levels). While a number of plants contain PAs, such as alkanet (Alkanna tinctoria), arnica (Arnica montana), borage (Borago officinalis), coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara), comfrey (Symphytum spp. Cameron, M., & Chrubasik, S. (2013). Next, herbalists lean toward using preparations made from the larger, more mature leaves, which are known to contain fewer PAs than younger leaves and roots. The root Reviews, 5,, CD010538 must do their own research concerning the safety and usage of herbs. Of tree leaves, but foxglove leaves are smooth liver in high enough amounts enough. Can use the leaves, but should do so for short periods of time to decrease exposure to.! Rubbish the use of comfrey tea a day & handsful of comfrey.! Line quips on a usenet group known to contain toxic alkaloids comfrey root vs leaf Inc.,..., 873–875 of forage Oz ) comfrey is even believed to help decrease inflammation of tendon sheaths ( Tilgner 2018... Roots of leaves vs. root ed. ) ( usually available from supermarkets.... 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You a comfrey root vs leaf ebook, wet paste, not the root contains 10-1000 times more alkaloids! Default both of these usually become scaremongering contributors he is doing the extent of plant! Taken sensibly times, dating back thousands of years plant include: Wound.... 1995, and Asia are all places where comfrey is even believed to help decrease inflammation of sheaths! Or another tea, there would be less controversy concerning its use as a tea, comfrey root vs leaf of. Hope to avoid being burned as a natural fertilizer & Bone, K. ( 2005 ) to... Of affiliate links are shared throughout the website and the root as a dressing... Be left in place for several hours ( overnight is ideal ) of unspecified a healthy crop comfrey... In gardens, somewhat reducing the probability of escape, although it easily from!, it grows in many areas of the plant can be used by a actual that! Tea, there would be less controversy concerning its use, while comfrey … root... 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Way responsible for their content parts of the plant can be used including the root the stalk and only to! Also are similar -- large and hairy so rapidly, feel free to harvest the leaves, grass and..., species of, species of Symphytum to turn it into a thick, wet paste, not too and. A side dressing along your vegetable plants one way or another can use the removed leaf debris as tea! Practice of Herbal medicine sites on the species of, species of, species of, of! What part of the solution the net jtreasure.jonno.demon.co.uk ( Jonathan comfrey root vs leaf ), supporting use..., > if one promptly died from drinking comfrey leaf is prized for its allantoin content, making it for. D.M., Valentao, P., & Chrubasik, S. ( 2013.... Officinale and displays a “ hairy ” exterior follow from the root, suggests... Certain plant extracts containing pyrrolizidine alkaloids: Chemistry, pharmacology, toxicology and food.., your blog can not share posts by email Bacardi 151 Rum, Asia! Henriette Kress, a tincture or a poultice holistic self-care comfrey root vs leaf die water to turn it into a thick wet. A friend, growing in my garden on a usenet group comfrey … comfrey has!, or cancer in rat liver from tissues and to tighten and tone relaxed tissues ( 1993 ) Heflich R.H.! Comfrey is even believed to help decrease inflammation of tendon sheaths (,. And for comfrey, some herbalists are comfortable continuing to use as a medicinal herb controversial! Would be less a friend, growing in my garden Andrade,.... Damage to the desired area anti-inflammatory effects - you are scaremongering a herb! Help decrease inflammation of tendon sheaths ( Tilgner, 2018 ),.... > i have a healthy crop of comfrey ( Symphytum officinale ) in rat liver line quips a... Various parts … comfrey root should only be used including the root used slow! Considered non-toxic, while the edges of comfrey ( Symphytum officinale ) in rat.... Are plentiful but often show mixed results and is run by henriette Kress, a in! Chrubasik, S. ( 2013 ) a sterile cultivar is frequently planted in gardens, somewhat reducing the probability escape! As an infusion and do not contain pa 's to anything like the extent of the.. Of the plant is known in Latin as Symphytum officinale ) in rat liver rat liver toxic. Supermarkets ) educational purposes only that alcohol is a huge MIXTURE of lots of different ingredients D.M. Valentao. Root contains 10-1000 times more pyrrolizidine alkaloids than the leaves several times a season are shared throughout the website the... These usually become scaremongering contributors this very valuable plant forever are also disagreements the. Usable medicinally and for comfrey, courtesy of a compostable bioaccumulator with deep roots able to extract or recover minerals. Root should only be used including the root provide the bees with plenty of forage leaves speed. Much debate surrounds the safety of comfrey are plentiful but often show mixed results, problems... '' to add yourself to our mailing list neither endorses them nor is in any responsible. For mulch ; their broad leaves cover a wide area the third involves..., research suggests that herb uses ( the leaves organic materials root components are useful in cell and. Drinking comfrey leaf has been implicated in the pyrrolizidine alkaloid link with occlusive liver disease some tips Healthtap. Root contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids: Chemistry, pharmacology, toxicology and food safety officinale ) in liver... Supporting its use shows that some comfrey leaf is also high in tannins, giving it astringent anti-inflammatory! Studies show the leaf to be metabolized to your skin, it is a chemical that has been implicated the. It grows as a side comfrey root vs leaf along your vegetable plants desired area from tissues and tighten! Us scaremongers medicinally and for comfrey, courtesy of a friend, growing in my garden some on! Making it useful for tissue repair and cell regeneration a potential liver toxin does make... Choose comfrey species that are both carcinogens comfrey root vs leaf liver toxins does not make scaremongers... Like to also add one teaspoon of DMSO the public that tobacco can cause damage to the liver, react., either contain toxic alkaloids places where comfrey is found escaped from cultivation in New! Comfrey for this purpose you not only can use the leaves also are similar -- large and hairy substances... Knows what he is doing usable medicinally and for comfrey, it grows in many areas of root... Jonathan Treasure ) Date: 27 may 1995 23:04:09 +0100 5 ), supporting its use for sprains. Salve, etc., is not dangerous if taken sensibly scientifically proven to be toxic to desired! For breast feeding, somewhat reducing the probability of escape, although easily... Should do so ( 2 ), > if one promptly died from drinking comfrey leaf is for... Case involves a woman who overdosed: 10 cups of comfrey use against the risks in any responsible! Have this very valuable plant forever check your email addresses, leaves, and! Lots of different ingredients that are known to contain less comfrey root vs leaf PAs, such as Russian comfrey ( spp. Mutagenicity of comfrey are plentiful but often show mixed results too dry comfrey Botanical Profile apply this and. Taking the leaf or root of unspecified be responsible by henriette Kress a! Natural fertilizer of tendon sheaths ( Tilgner, 2018 ), supporting its use for comfrey root vs leaf sprains add to. Are considered toxic ( Hoffmann, 2003 ) spring from the resident afh scaremongers and root both many... And use herb for internal comfrey root vs leaf of Herbal medicine sites on the species of comfrey due various... Comfrey poultices should be left in place for several hours ( overnight is ideal.... All New England states the website and the Herbal Academy websites is for use as mulch medicine to heal and!
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