"Natural Healing with Herbs for a Healthier You"
THE BENEFITS OF THE USE OF COMFREY
IN HERBAL PREPARATIONS
MEDICINAL QUALITIES OF COMFREY
The various chemical constituents responsible for the medicinal qualities of comfrey were discussed in the last section. This section will contain a discussion about those properties in relation to comfrey’s healing effects.
Both comfrey root and leaves are used medicinally. The mucilage contained primarily in the root makes it demulcent, and often used for intestinal troubles. It is used liberally in remedies that soothe diarrhea and dysentery. It has a long history of use for lung ailments and whooping cough. A preparation called comfrey mucilage, made by soaking the root in distilled water, simmering, filtering, and adding honey and glycerin, is an excellent remedy for lung ailments.
Comfrey’s astringency makes it ideal for arresting internal hemorrhage. As such, it is highly prized for its ability to stop bleeding in the lungs, and is often used for pulmonary complaints and consumption. Comfrey will stop hemorrhage in other parts of the body, as well, such as the stomach, bowels, kidneys, or hemorrhoids. The tannins, which make comfrey astringent, also give comfrey the properties of being antiseptic. Therefore it is used in “herbal antiseptic healing tinctures for wounds, sore throats, toothaches, bruises, etc.”
The allantoin in comfrey gives it the ability to promote healing through tissue regeneration. Therefore, it is known as one of the best cell proliferants in the herbal kingdom. It is “used internally and topically to heal cuts, abrasions, burns, ulcerations, bruises, broken bones, and strained ligaments and tendons.” The great herbalist, Culpepper, used it to heal “any place troubled with the gout…it eases pained joints and tends to heal running ulcers, gangrenes, mortifications, for which it hath by often experience been found helpful.” Dr. Christopher’s BF&C formula, which uses comfrey as its base, “is to be used wherever there is any injury to bones, flesh, or cartilage. It penetrates through the skin, muscle and even reconstructs bone that has disintegrated from disease when properly used.”
Culpepper said further: “The great Comfrey restrains spitting of blood. The root boiled in water or wine and the decoction drank, heals inward hurts, bruises, wounds and ulcers of the lungs, and causes the phlegm that oppresses him to be easily spit forth…A syrup made thereof is very effectual in inward hurts,…and for outward wounds or sores in the fleshy or sinewy parts of the body, and to abate the fits of agues and to allay the sharpness of humours. A decoction of the leaves is good for those purposes, but not so effectual as the roots. The roots being outwardly applied cure fresh wounds or cuts immediately, being bruised and laid thereto; and is specially good for ruptures and broken bones, so powerful to consolidate and knit together that if they be boiled with dissevered pieces of flesh in a pot, it will join them together again.” I do not know the validity of his last claim, but the other uses for comfrey that he mentions have a long, documented history.
The following was obtained from an old herbal. (Recall that other old names for comfrey are consound and con firma.) This summarizes comfrey’s main medicinal quality quite nicely: “Madam Susanna Avery, Her Book, May ye 12th Anno Domini 1688. ‘From the French conserve, Latin conserva - healing: conserves - to boil together; to heal. A Wound Herb.’”
by Janet Ollman