Nutritional Supplements Library
What is comfrey?
Comfrey (also comphrey) is a herb. It has many medicinal and fertilizer uses. It is native to Europe, growing in damp, grassy places, and is widespread throughout the British Isles on river banks and ditches. It is a perennial herb of the family Boraginaceae with a black, turnip-like root and large, hairy broad leaves that bears small bell-shaped white, cream, purple or pink flowers. However, recently the FDA and the FTC decided that Comfrey was a dangerous herb, because when it is a young plant it has a high Pyrrolizidine alkaloid (Liver-toxic/damage) content. This has led the FTC and the FDA to believe that Comfrey is dangerous. Mucilage and allantoin are considered the major constituents in comfrey responsible for the herbs soothing and anti-inflammatory actions.
What is the effective dosage of comfrey supplementation?
The tea of dried leaves up to 2-3 cups a day, or the tincture of the fresh root, from 30 to 60 drops, 3 to 5 times daily for a period not more than three weeks. Due to variations in pyrrolizidine alkaloid (liver toxic/damage) content of camfrey, root preparations are unsafe for internal use unless they are guaranteed pyrrolizidine-free. Although comfrey root tea has been used traditionally, the danger of its pyrrolizidine alkaloids is significant. Therefore, comfrey root and young leaf preparations should not be taken internally.
What are the benefits of comfrey supplementation?
• Dried comfrey leaves are especially popular for treating lung ailments.
• The mucilage (major constituents) as a gum-based substance relieves diarrhea and also helps with the digestion of food, may delay the emptying of the stomach and reduces after-meal peaks of glucose and insulin.
• Comfrey is an anodyne (alleviates pain), astringent (constricts blood vessels), expectorant (expels mucous), emollient (used to soften body tissues including skin), haemostatic (helps blood clotting), proliferant (increases cells growth), refrigerant, mild sedative, and vulnerary (ability to heal injuries).
• Comfrey is used to treat minor bruises Sprains and Strains Wounds.
• It is also used to treat minor skin irritations and inflammation.
What are the side effects of comfrey supplementation?
The roots contain higher levels of pyrrolizidine alkaloid (liver toxic) and mature leaves contain very little, if any, of these alkaloids. Fresh young leaves contain higher amounts (up to 16 times more than mature leaves) and should be avoided. Other related forms, such as Russian comfrey (Symphytum uplandicum) and prickly comfrey (S. asperum), are sometimes available or mistakenly sold as regular comfrey but contain higher levels of these alkaloids. Several cases of people who developed liver disease or other serious problems from taking capsules or tea of comfrey have been reported over the years. External use of comfrey is very safe and effective.
• Most comfrey products do not list their pyrrolizidine alkaloid(liver damage) content on the label. Therefore, it is best to avoid internal use of products made from comfrey root or young leaves altogether.it is not recommended for use during pregnancy or lactating women.