Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Comfrey: Nourishing Herbal Infusions (part 9)

Symphytum officinale

Comfrey is well known under its other names such as knitbone or bruisewort. It’s a champion for healing superficial scratches and cuts, bruises, broken or fractured bones, and torn tendons and ligaments. Commonly used externally for all of these ailments, the leaf can be taken internally as well for additional benefit*.

Comfrey leaf is a strong ally against osteoporosis. Its high calcium content is readily absorbed into our
systems, creating strong and flexible bones.
A comfrey nourishing herbal infusion is also powerful in healing bronchial conditions and lung congestion, and its demulcent and wound healing qualities are useful for gastric ulcers and colitis.

Parts used
Relaxing expectorant, demulcent, alterative, astringent, vulnerary, cell proliferant, nutritive

Special Considerations
Comfrey has gained some negative attention lately in regards to alkaloids found within the plant; pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PLAs) can cause silent liver disease. You will find herbalists who claim that the internal use of comfrey poses absolutely no threat, while others absolutely refuse to use it internally at all. Every person who wants to use comfrey needs to come to their own conclusions on this matter. I find myself more middle of the line.

The risks of using comfrey seem to be rare, but real. The roots have more PLAs than the leaves and the young leaves contain more PLAs than the mature leaves. With these considerations in mind, the internal use of comfrey is definitely contraindicated for pregnancy, children, alcoholics (including a history of high alcohol use) and those with liver disease.  

Keep it simple
Although we now know we need to approach this herb with caution, comfrey leaf remains a powerful herb for healing our skin, ligaments, and bones as well as for strengthening our lungs.

Want to explore other herbs to use for nourishing herbal infusions? 

I've got you covered! Click the links below to see other nourishing herbs.  

Where to buy your herbs
I buy all of my herbs for nourishing herbal infusions at Mountain Rose Herbs. They have high quality and organic herbs at a great price. 

Bulk organic herbs, spices and essential oils. Sin