Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) is a herb that has been used for centuries for it’s wound healing abilities.
It’s also known as Bruisewort, boneset and knitbone. Historically, comfrey was used to treat bone fractures, back pain, varicose veins, bruises, sprains and strains and skin ulcers.
The FDA has warned that it should not be used internally or liver damage my result. It is also considered to be a carcinogenic substance. There are still some uses for it externally though it’s safety is not quite known.
The ancient Greeks and Romans used the root extract to treat wounds. They boiled it and applied it to bandages to make the flesh bind together better from sword slashes. Comfrey is effective for minor cuts and major wounds.
It was at one time used internally to treat gastrointestinal and respiratory ailments. This is a practice that modern science has proven to be unsafe.
Comfrey contains a chemical called allantoin. It helps promotes growth of new cells and is most likely what is responsible for it’s wound healing abilities. It is also believed to reduce inflammation of the wounded area and has pain-relieving action.
Cuts were often treated by putting a small amount of powdered comfrey directly on the afflicted area. The powder was also mixed with water and made into a paste that would better stick to the skin.
Comfrey cream may still be available for external use, but I would advise extreme caution when using. This herb contains a substance called pyrrolizidine alkaloids. In large amounts it may cause severy liver damage and death. Animals giving this substance got very ill and some even died as a direct result.
At one time, not to long ago, you could purchase comfrey tea and capsules. Due to the wide reports of liver damage, these are no longer available.
With so many other safe remedies for cuts and other skin conditions, I see no reason to risk serious health problems or even death by taking comfrey internally. In my opinion, it’s just not worth the risk. Many people still safely use it externally though in creams and salves.
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