Comfrey Benefits and Side Effects

health benefits and side effects of comfrey

There are several health benefits of comfrey, including decreasing inflammation and improving skin health, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). But regrettably, comfrey can be harmful to the liver and can also be toxic even when only used externally if used for an extended period of time. The UMMC advocates employing only modest quantities of comfrey externally for 10 days or less and for a maximum of six weeks total within any given year. People also should never apply comfrey to broken skin where it may become absorbed into the bloodstream. It is never recommended to take the herb internally.

Pain and Swelling Decrease
Poultices of comfrey leaves and roots can help cure and supply pain relief for bruises, mild burns, and traumas that cause swelling. Topical comfrey has been traditionally used by people for decreasing pain involved with a pulled muscle and bone fractures, and to alleviate swelling of a vein brought on by a blood clot (thrombophlebitis).

Arthritis Advantages
Topical comfrey also has traditional uses for alleviating symptoms of gout and osteoarthritis, a kind of acute inflammatory arthritis. Using a German comfrey salve merchandise called Kytta Salbe for three weeks, one study showed participants that experienced substantial reductions in pain, together with developments in their standard of living and knee mobility when compared with the placebo group. These factors continued improving for the entire period of the procedure.

Helps With Back Pain 
Comfrey root extract ointment proved better than a placebo ointment in individuals experiencing acute lower or upper back pain in a study published in an issue of the British Journal of Sports Medicine. The ointment was used three times per day, and also the comfrey treatment created an “unexpectedly powerful” (their words) effect in decreasing back pain.

Ankle Sprain Advantages
Research suggests an external comfrey infusion also is successful at treating ankle sprains, another use for the herb. A total of 82 participants used the gel with beneficial results.

Topical Advantages
Comfrey is used topically to encourage the healing of, and decrease the redness of, strains, fractures, broken bones and muscles that have been pulled, states the University of Maryland Medical Center. It’s also used to lessen the irritation and pain associated with osteoarthritis, as mentioned above. Comfrey can be utilized for treating bruises, bites and stings, bedsores, inflamed bunions, burns, dry skin, leg ulcers, nosebleeds, and itches.

Possible Comfrey Side Effects

Topical use of comfrey is normally considered safe, however materials called pyrrolizine alkaloids are seen in comfrey and they can be dangerous when used in big quantities. It can develop within the body and become hazardous when comfrey is applied to an open wound or employed excessively. As such, the UMM says that with comfrey products you need to follow the instructions, ensuring to not use more than is recommended. Also, do not use comfrey for more than 10 days at the same time. If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, you need to avoid comfrey products completely.