Herb of the Month: Comfrey

Common Names: Knitbone, Boneset Latin name: Symphytum officinale

Despite it’s prickly nature when being harvested, I love collecting it and drying the leaves to use in compresses and salves. Comfrey is a drawing herb so it will pull out infections and anything that is lodged in the skin.

One of my favorite comfrey experiences was with a patient a number of years ago. She was a young woman driving home one summer night and a moose ran out in front of her car. The car was totaled and she was lucky to have only minor injuries. A few weeks after the accident she came to talk with me about the shards of glass that were lodged in the palms of her hands. There were hundreds of raised bumps diffusely spread throughout both palms. The docs at the emergency room had done their best but hadn’t gotten all of it out. She’d seen a hand surgeon who wouldn’t take her case due to all of the innervation of the palm and the massive number of pieces. He felt surgery would just shred her hand. But the bumps were very irritating to her. I advised her to make comfrey compresses and apply them twice/day to both hands. After a short time the glass began to come out. It was a bit traumatic for her when the moose hair also started to come out. But after a few weeks she returned at the roughness of her hands from the glass was completely gone.

Comfrey has a long historical use for sprains, strains, joint inflammation, bruises, rheumatoid arthritis, phlebitis, gout, and fractures.

Comfrey root contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids that can be damaging to the liver, so should never be taken internally. You will find oral comfrey in homeopathic form, and due to it’s dilution it is safe to take internally, and works well for healing broken bones and sprains.

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