Comfrey root and leaf have been used since Roman times, dating back thousands of years. This herb has been utilized in folk medicine throughout Europe and North America and has been widely cultivated as a garden medicinal specifically for its reputation for healing various internal and external wounds.
Much debate surrounds the safety of comfrey due to various parts and preparations containing potentially toxic alkaloids. It is important to understand that the part used, species, and time of harvest all come in to play when determining the safety of this herb. A large body of traditional use supports its safety and efficacy if used intelligently and cautiously.
Traditionally in Europe, the root and leaf were used in cases of sprains or strains or broken bones. Due to the roots high mucilage content, it was often utilized in the same way as marshmallow root (Althaea officinalis).2
The root is considered nutritive, cooling, and moist in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).9 It is a yin tonic that has been utilized for wounds, however when there is concern about the pyrrolizidine alkaloids contained in the root, often Rehmannia glutinosa is substituted as it has similar energetics.9
Comfrey root is a source of the constituent, allantoin, which is a cell proliferant used in many cosmetic and dermatological preparations, although allantoin can also be derived from several other natural sources (including mammal urine) and is made synthetically as well.
Dried leaf as a salve.
Dried root as a salve, fresh or dried as root a poultice.
Dried leaf and root infused in carrier oil for topical use
Specific: For external use only. Do not apply to broken or abraded skin. Do not use when nursing.
General: We recommend that you consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.