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Mills, S., & Bone, K. (2005). It is used as a tea or vegetables by humans. Symphytum officinale has been used for thousands of years in traditional Western herbalism for its valuable, healthful properties.Our comfrey root powder is ground from organically cultivated roots. The tea can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 6 months for cool, soothing use. You can chop the leaves and dry in a dehydrator on low heat or in a warm oven. Dr. Kirschner used comfrey in his medical practice to promote the healing of ulcers and wounds. When it comes to the internal use of comfrey, some herbalists are comfortable continuing to use comfrey internally with a few cautions. You can get around the comfrey problem for internal use as comfrey's active ingredient is allantoin. Comfrey illustration from Kohler’s Medicinal Plants, 1887. For internal application, comfrey is claimed to benefit gastritis and gastroduodenal ulcers, though its effects have never been demonstrated in controlled investigations. Hot comfrey tea is wonderful for a cough, especially with a bit of raw honey. Traditional uses. Heat 1 cup of water to just shy of boiling. Comfrey tea is readily available at most health stores. When herbs are used in place of drugs, the pharmaceutical companies lose money. Comfrey is not recommended for internal use because of the liver damage caused by its pyrrolizidine alkaloids. (2018). 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). 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, Herbs for ADHD, Cognition, and Focus Intensive. 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). Avoid using comfrey gratuitously. I use two cloths so I can keep one immersed in the tea and then continually switching them out. External Healing. Comfrey Root Tea - Not For Internal Use by TerraVita 25 tea bags: Currently not available for purchase. Comfrey is even believed to help decrease inflammation of tendon sheaths (Tilgner, 2018), supporting its use for joint sprains. Pyrrolizidine alkaloids: Chemistry, pharmacology, toxicology and food safety. In addition, herb practitioners recommend comfrey capsules for the treatment of rheu-matoid arthritis, bronchitis, various allergies and for diarrhoea, regardless of the pathogenic cause. Comfrey is not recommended for internal use because of the liver damage caused by its pyrrolizidine alkaloids. While a number of plants contain PAs, such as alkanet (. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press. Veno-occlusive disease (VOD) manifesting in people using comfrey has been reported (see Case Reports). Although, liver damage can only be definitively determined by visual inspection of tissue obtained from a biopsy, serum markers for liver pathology are a good indication of liver disease. Case Reports of Toxicity with Internal Use of Comfrey. It can grow up to 5 feet tall. It is above all demulcent, emollient and mucilaginous; the root is slightly astringent. While comfrey is an herb with a long history of many different uses, its internal use has become quite controversial due to scientific studies, some dating back 40-60 years, that revealed potentially harmful effects of pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) (Moreira et al., 2018), which are found in comfrey. International Journal of Experimental Pathology, 74, Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window), Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window), Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window), Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window), Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window), Please add your email address below and click "Submit" to add yourself to our mailing list. 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). Taken internally as decoction (boiled root tea), comfrey is described as effective against tuberculosis, internal tumors and ulcers, and promotes the healing of bone fractures. ), not all PAs are toxic. spp. Comfrey Contraindications. As a tea, Comfrey is surprisingly used more for external applications rather than internal ones. Do not take internally. Comfrey leaves are succulent and difficult to dry at normal room temperatures. Much debate surrounds the safety of comfrey due to various parts … Perhaps one of the easiest ways to use comfrey is in a tea. There are two things you could try – create a compress – using comfrey leaf, make a tea, soak a cloth in the tea, and then apply to the bruise. Comfrey is Excellent for Healing Bruises Topical herbal therapies for treating osteoarthritis. Allow steeping for at least 10 minutes. ), not all PAs are toxic. A comfrey tea or decoction can be used in the mouth as a rinse or gargle. 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). Herbal ABCs: The foundation of herbal medicine. Comfrey is used as an aid for humans. The publication of the rodent toxicity studies in the 1970's and 1980's led to the obvious question of comfrey safety in humans. Moreira, R., Pereira, D.M., Valentao, P., & Andrade, P.B. Saturated PAs are considered non-toxic, while unsaturated PAs are considered toxic (Hoffmann, 2003). Yes, this is a weak tea by most standards. Pyrrolizidine alkaloids are a group of 660 phytochemicals found in over 6,000 plants. International Journal of Experimental Pathology, 74(2), 211-217. The herb has become a topic of considerable debate, as it contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs), which have been shown to pose a real risk of hepatotoxicity. The presence of PAs in comfrey does present a health risk to humans that ingest it. Allantoin makes it effective for softening skin and hair. Comfrey is without a doubt a prime example of the healing paradox, and has been the subject of considerable debate in recent years. Comfrey is traditionally used to treat wounds and bone fractures. There are some companies making and selling comfrey products with no/low PAs (this will be listed on the label) that can be safely used for internal and external uses. The leaves are high in potassium and make excellent fertilizer. Plant-based creams and balms that can soothe the skin but also poison the internal organs if used in excess quantities. Please simply create an account before buying/booking any courses. Certain types of pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) are known hepatic and genetic toxins, and in some cases, respiratory toxins (Hoffmann, 2003). (2013). General Information about Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids (PAs). Comfrey is an herb that grows in temperate areas of western Asia, Europe, Australia and North America. It is above all demulcent, emollient and mucilaginous; the root is slightly astringent. Comfrey is sometimes used as a mild analgesic. Long term internal use is discouraged due to the potential of toxic alkaloids. However, health officials now strongly discourage any internal use of comfrey. Do not take internally. Pour water over the tea leaves. It primarily grows in marshes and wet soil. Definitely do not use during pregnancy or nursing, with infants, and if you have liver or kidney disease. Allow the leaves to wilt for a few hours after cutting, and then dig them into the soil to … Oral toxicity study of certain plant extracts containing pyrrolizidine alkaloids. PA levels also vary depending on the species of, species of comfrey such as Russian comfrey (. ) You can use comfrey leaves in tea, and you can use your comfrey in a bath. Allantoin makes it effective for softening skin and hair. Groves, M.N. But dried comfrey can be used with success as well. Topical herbal therapies for treating osteoarthritis. Comfrey or Blackwort is used in health and its properties are almost the same as those of Borage. Do not use comfrey in the presence of active liver disease or in conjunction with medications that impair liver function. Despite safety concerns, comfrey is used by mouth for stomach ulcers, heavy menstrual periods, diarrhea, bloody urine, cough, bronchitis, cancer, and chest pain (angina). Romanian Journal of Morphology & Embryology, 57(3), 1017-1023. Also keep in mind who profits and doesn’t from the use, or defilement, of comfrey. However, I would not suggest that for everyone. Cooled tea can be applied to bruises and burns to speed healing and help prevent infections. Comfrey tea can be taken internally or it can be used topically on any external inflammations. Patients with hypersensitivity or allergic reactions to the plant should also avoid external use. Cameron, M., & Chrubasik, S. (2013). He ... (boiled root tea), comfrey is described as effective against tuberculosis, internal tumors and ulcers, and promotes the healing of bone fractures. It’s useful for healing bleeding gums, soothing a hoarse voice, and relieving … St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Inc. Moreira, R., Pereira, D.M., Valentao, P., & Andrade, P.B. However, it is soluble in DMSO and this can help with fractures. Cher D. on June 22, 2016: I have comfrey powder, how would i make a poultice? While comfrey pills are no longer available, the plant itself is not a controlled substance. Traditionally called knitbone or boneset, the tea was reportedly used by ancient Greeks and Romans to heal injuries after a bad fall or accident. Pregnancy/Lactation Cooled tea is used to treat bruises and burns; it soothes the damaged skin, stops the itch, prevents infection, and speeds healing. Use comfrey for no more than 10 days in a row. For centuries, comfrey was considered a safe medicine, and in some cases even a food. . Comfrey as a natural hair rinse. Readers must do their own research concerning the safety and usage of any herbs or supplements. Nevertheless, sometimes the leaves are harvested and Pleasant Hill, OR: Wise Acres Publishing. Oral toxicity study of certain plant extracts containing pyrrolizidine alkaloids. Most medical herbalists I know will politely to vigorously disagree, but the law restricts the root. British Journal of Cancer, 92(5), 873–875. For internal applications, comfrey has been used as infusions and extracts for the treatment of gastritis, gastroduodenal ulcers, and lung congestion (Roeder, 1995). Gardner, Z., & McGuffin, M. In herbal medicine, it was used for treating tendon damage, broken bones, lung congestion, ulcerations in gastrointestinal tract, joint inflammation, lung congestion and also promotes wound healing. Alternatives to comfrey tea for internal use. (2018). Herbalists also choose comfrey species that are known to contain less toxic PAs. 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 (S. officinale or S. uplandicum) 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. This healing herb may be the ideal remedy to mend and soothe your aches and pains. The commission said the company falsely claimed it was safe to take comfrey products orally, as suppositories or to apply them to open wounds. (Eds.). (2018). Medical records dating back to the Middle Ages commonly make reference to herbalists prescribing comfrey for a wide range of ailments, and up until the 20th century, it was considered to be “one of nature’s greatest medicinal herbs.” Then check your email to find a welcome message from our Herbal Academy team with a special link to download our "Herbal Tea Throughout The Seasons" Ebook! I sweeten it with a few drops of honey and drink each morning. Over the years there has been some controversy regarding the internal use of this tea, despite it being uncommon to experience side effects while using this tea. Comfrey is perfectly safe to use externally and is a first choice remedy for fractures and slow healing wounds. The tea can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 6 months for cool, soothing use. However, the extent of this risk has not been determined and there is a great deal of evidence suggesting safe use in humans is possible. Preparation and Dosage. MARY Sarvino@Gmail.com on June 10, 2016: I have three plants I received the root years … Information offered on Herbal Academy websites is for educational purposes only. Comfrey Root Tea - Not For Internal Use by TerraVita 25 tea bags: Currently not available for purchase. Hepatocyte membrane injury and bleb formation following low dose comfrey toxicity in rats. 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. Animal studies on the internal use of comfrey are plentiful but often show mixed results. Mutagenicity of comfrey (Symphytum Officinale) in rat liver. 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. A 2013 study concluded that a topical comfrey preparation probably eased osteoarthritis knee pain in a group of 220 participants (Cameron & Chrubasik, 2013). All measurements in this small uncontrolled study were within normal ranges. Humans have consumed comfrey widely as a vegetable and have taken comfrey formulations of tea or tablets. contain the more toxic macrocyclic diester PAs (Hoffmann, 2003) and higher levels of echimidine, which has exhibited a more toxic effect (Gardner & McGuffin, 2013). The publication of the rodent toxicity studies in the 1970's and 1980's led to the obvious question of comfrey safety in humans. 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). Comfrey, a perennial herb native to the ditches and riverbanks of Europe, has long been used in traditional medicine. 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).