Comfrey’s name derives from the Latin ‘confervere’ which means ‘to bring together’. This leafy perennial herb has been used for centuries for its swelling-reducing capacity when bones were to be set and the healing process accelerated, thus earning the herb has also be known as Knitbone, Bruisewort and Boneset.
Comfrey is renowned for its anti-inflammatory and wound-healing properties
and belongs to our most valuable herbs nature has in store for us. The impressive healing properties of comfrey are partially due to the presence of allantoin, a chemical that stimulates cell proliferation and so augments wound-healing. Allantoin is also found in many proprietary brands of medicines. The roots and leaves of comfrey are used externally to help relieve the pain and swelling of bad bruises, sprains and fractures. Comfrey leaves are of much value as an external remedy, both in the form of fomentations, for
and as a poultice to severe cuts, to promote suppuration of boils and abscesses, and gangrenous and ill-conditioned ulcers.
The whole plant, beaten to a cataplasm and applied hot as a poultice, has always been deemed excellent for soothing pain in any tender and in any kind of inflammatory swelling.
A poultice of the fresh leaves is excellent for ruptures, fresh wounds, moist ulcers, burns, bruises, sores and boils.
The leaves can also be used as a poultice for eruptions, dermatitis, and other skin problems.
The hot pulp of the rootstock can be applied externally for
- painful inflammations
- pulled tendons
To fully relax, the decoction of the rootstock may be added to your bath. Comfrey is native of Europe and temperate Asia. It thrives in almost any soil or situation, but does best under the shade of trees.
The plant is erect in habit and rough and hairy all over. There is a branched rootstock, the roots are fibrous and fleshy spindle-shaped, an inch or less in diameter and up to a foot long, smooth, blackish externally, and internally white, fleshy and juicy.
Interested in learning about the power of herbs similar to Comfrey? Take our Fundamentals of Herbal Medicine Lesson 1 today!