PA levels vary depending on the plant part used, with roots containing higher levels of PAs than mature leaves (Gardner & McGuffin, 2013; Mills & Bone, 2005). Comfrey root was blamed. Groves, M.N. When you apply comfrey to your skin, it can have some benefits on rashes and irritations. Do not use different forms (tablets, liquid, tincture, teas, etc) of comfrey at the same time without medical advice. New York: CRC Press. Pleasant Hill, OR: Wise Acres Publishing. You can also try using comfrey as mulch or as a compost enhancer. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press. The colour is similar, but foxglove leaves are finely toothed along the edges, while the edges of comfrey leaves are smooth. Hepatocyte membrane injury and bleb formation following low dose comfrey toxicity in rats. Read my notes in the FAQ for a starter. This herb has been utilized in folk medicine throughout Europe and North America and has been widely cultivated. Comfrey, Symphytum uplandica x Herbal Adventures with Susun S Weed by Susun S. Weed read other Herbal Adventures part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4 . Tilgner, S.M. Whether astride a horse in Provence, climbing a volcano in Costa Rica, taking a jet plane to New Zealand, or just spending a quiet day in my gardens, I am never without my herbal first-aid kit. I can appreciate the importance of a compostable bioaccumulator with deep roots able to extract or recover deep minerals. Some varieties produce … While a number of plants contain PAs, such as alkanet (Alkanna tinctoria), arnica (Arnica montana), borage (Borago officinalis), coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara), comfrey (Symphytum spp. Generally speaking eat a healthy diet. Both plants grow to around 4 feet tall. If one promptly died from drinking comfrey leaf tea, there would be less controversy concerning its use. Body into balance: An herbal guide to holistic self-care. Mills, S., & Bone, K. (2005). While comfrey is an herb with a long history of many different uses, its internal use has become quite controversial due to scientific studies, some dating back 40-60 years, that revealed potentially harmful effects of pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) (Moreira et al., 2018), which are found in comfrey. Comfrey is almost TOO good at what it does best… and there is another pretty big catch you should be aware of… WHY YOU SHOULD AVOID COMFREY. Oral toxicity study of certain plant extracts containing pyrrolizidine alkaloids. In the compost pile, comfrey leaves help speed the decomposition of tree leaves, grass clippings and other organic materials. Wrap it with cloth or a bandage to hold it in place. Its use as a medicinal herb is controversial as it is known to contain toxic alkaloids. Drink plenty of fluid and rest. The drugs were not considered as possibilities. . Mei, N., Guo, L., Fu, P.P., Heflich, R.H., & Chen, T. (2005). While both comfrey leaf and root are well known for their mucilage content and associated demulcent action, the root is more demulcent than the leaf. While the comfrey plant has its roots in Europe, it grows in many areas of the world. (Note that Mei et al. To inform the public that comfrey leaves contain pa's that are both carcinogens and liver toxins does not make us scaremongers, either. It just allows people to begin thinking about weighing the benefits of comfrey use against the risks. The root contains 10-1000 times more Pyrrolizidine alkaloids than the leaves. (Note that Mei et al. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 5, CD010538. Comfrey is even believed to help decrease inflammation of tendon sheaths (Tilgner, 2018), supporting its use for joint sprains. A sterile cultivar is frequently planted in gardens, somewhat reducing the probability of escape, although it easily spreads from root fragments. Hoffmann, D. (2003). Readers must do their own research concerning the safety and usage of any herbs or supplements. There are also disagreements about the efficacy & safety of leaves vs. root. Please add your email address below and click "Submit" to add yourself to our mailing list. Comfrey poultices should be left in place for several hours (overnight is ideal). International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 19. It is also important to know that some unsaturated PAs have been shown to be more toxic than others, with the macrocyclic retronecine diesters (e.g., senecionine) being more toxic than the retronecine monoesters (e.g., symphytine and echimidine) (Hoffmann, 2003; Rode, 2004). Yeong, M.L., Wakefield, S.J., & Ford, H.C. (1993). ), and echinacea (Echinacea spp. Please simply create an account before buying/booking any courses. Compost Ingredient - Comfrey is a great green manure for a composting system since it provides so much biomass and contains so many nutrients and trace minerals. To make an ointment to use externally, take 1 cup of finely cut comfrey root and simmer in 1 cup of olive oil until it starts to soften. I hope to avoid being burned as a heretic. Common comfrey (Symphytum officianale) and Russian Comfrey (S. uplandicum) are fast-growing leafy plants that are considered invasive in some areas.They spread rapidly, and are incredibly difficult to control because new plants can sprout from even tiny sections of root … The toxic effect of PAs is not a new phenomenon, and many cases of PA poisoning, from mild to severe and even fatal, have been reported (Hoffmann, 2003); however, the toxic effect of PAs in comfrey is where the debate is focused. Comfrey is likley unsafe to take by mouth. (2018). If you are considering the internal use of comfrey, we recommend researching this matter for yourself in more depth so you have all the facts. (2018). Despite this toxicity, scientific studies have also revealed that some types of PAs have several beneficial pharmacological properties, such as antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and anti-HIV activity, as well as the ability to inhibit acetylcholinesterase enzyme (Moreira et al., 2018). Dilute the comfrey plant food with water by half before you apply to plants. The Herbal Academy neither endorses them nor is in any way responsible for their content. Pyrrolizidine alkaloids: Chemistry, pharmacology, toxicology and food safety. Sign up for the Herbal Academy Newsletter, and we'll send you a free ebook. When it comes to the internal use of comfrey, some herbalists are comfortable continuing to use comfrey internally with a few cautions. ), not all PAs are toxic. Comfrey’s leaf and root both have many beneficial qualities and uses. Common comfrey is found escaped from cultivation in all New England states. I would recommend the … The leaves also are similar -- large and hairy. The herb’s leaves are easy to use as mulch. Topical herbal therapies for treating osteoarthritis. Oral toxicity study of certain plant extracts containing pyrrolizidine alkaloids. This is a question that herbalists have been debating since safety concerns were first brought to light regarding the potentially negative health effects associated with using comfrey internally. At this point, there are no clinical studies showing the link between PAs and liver toxicity when comfrey is taken at typical doses by healthy humans. Saturated PAs are considered non-toxic, while unsaturated PAs are considered toxic (Hoffmann, 2003). Health benefits of this beautiful flowering plant include: Wound Healing. Therefore, applying a poultice made of comfrey root powder and leaf juice, or drinking tea made of comfrey root powder can greatly help in curing nosebleeds, bleeding in skin wounds, and in reducing and speeding the healing of bruises. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Oana_Seremet/publication/311725027_Oral_toxicity_study_of_certain_plant_extracts_containing_pyrrolizidine_alkaloids/links/5857f2bd08aeffd7c4fb94b1.pdf. Comfrey root should only be used by a actual herbalist that knows what he is doing. American Herbal Products Association’s botanical safety handbook (2nd ed.). used, While it can be helpful for herbalists to take these studies into account, it should be noted that the majority of research involved isolating PAs and injecting them at various concentrations, often very high concentrations, into rats. (Eds.). First, comfrey is only suggested for healthy individuals who have no history of liver disease or liver function issues, are not taking medications that reduce liver function, and are not pregnant or nursing. It grows as a root stick with branches coming from the stalk and only gets to about 2–3 feet tall. Comfrey contains chemicals that can cause liver damage, lung problems, or cancer. Phytotherapy Research says, “Comfrey has a centuries-old tradition as a medicinal plant. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Inc. Moreira, R., Pereira, D.M., Valentao, P., & Andrade, P.B. Depending on their molecular structure, PAs can be either saturated (such as those found in arnica and echinacea) or unsaturated (such as those found in alkanet, borage, coltsfoot, and comfrey). Comfrey leaf is prized for its allantoin content, making it useful for tissue repair and cell regeneration. Infected Wounds. I answered the original posters question - you are scaremongering. For other herbalists who have chosen to play it safe with all PAs, they choose to limit comfrey to external use only through the use of preparations such as herb-infused oils, salves, and poultices. On the other hand, other studies using rats that were given isolated PAs from comfrey root or young leaf, both of which have higher levels of PAs than mature comfrey leaf (Mills & Bone, 2005), have shown to be toxic when given in both low and high concentrations (Mei et al., 2005; Yeong et al., 1993). Take 3-4 tablespoons of comfrey root powder (root powder works much better than comfrey leaves as there are more alkaloids inside the root) Put comfrey root powder into a small bowl. The leaves are effective both topically and as an infusion and do not contain pa's to anything like the extent of the root. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! A strong decoction, or tea, is recommended in cases of internal haemorrhage, whether from the lungs, stomach, bowels or from bleeding piles -to be taken every two hours till the haemorrhage ceases, in severe cases, a teaspoonful of Witch Hazel extract being added to the Comfrey root tea. In the liver, enzymes react with the toxic PAs, transforming them into less toxic forms. Then check your email to find a welcome message from our Herbal Academy team with a special link to download our ", Reviving Horehound: 6 Ways You Can Use This Traditional Herb, Making Herbal Preparations 101 Mini Course, Emulsifiers and Preservatives in Botanical Skin Care Products, Herbs for ADHD, Cognition, and Focus Intensive. Comfrey Root Alcohol-Free Liquid Extract, Organic Comfrey (Symphytum Officinale) Dried Root Tincture Supplement (4 FL OZ) 4.5 out of 5 stars 12 $29.97 $ 29 . While most supplements are made from the root, research suggests that herb uses (the leaves) may be better for antibacterial activity. Pyrrolizidine alkaloids: Chemistry, pharmacology, toxicology and food safety. The roots of leaves of the comfrey plant contain chemical substances called allantoin and rosmarinic acid. Both have medicinal properties but the root is believed to be better because it has a higher concentration of potassium, nitrogen, phosphorus and silicon. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Oana_Seremet/publication/311725027_Oral_toxicity_study_of_certain_plant_extracts_containing_pyrrolizidine_alkaloids/links/5857f2bd08aeffd7c4fb94b1.pdf, Herbal ABCs: The foundation of herbal medicine. Because comfrey plants grow so rapidly, feel free to harvest the leaves several times a season. The Herbal Academy supports trusted organizations with the use of affiliate links. Saturated PAs are considered non-toxic, while unsaturated PAs are considered toxic (Hoffmann, 2003). Lastly, most herbalists who use comfrey internally only do so for short periods of time to decrease exposure to PAs. It thrives in moist places. Newsgroups: alt.folklore.herbs Romanian Journal of Morphology & Embryology, 57(3), 1017-1023. Comfrey has been used for over 2,000 years in Chinese medicine to heal wounds and bones. (2013). From: jtreasure.jonno.demon.co.uk (Jonathan Treasure), >If one promptly died from drinking comfrey leaf tea, there would be less. Henriette's herbal is one of the oldest and largest herbal medicine sites on the net. The high content of antioxidants, as well as vitamin C, makes comfrey pastes and salves the ideal solution for speeding up the healing of wounds. It happens, there are plenty of people who post advice to this newsgroup about safety and toxicity of herbal medicines who know nothing about the subject other than reading a secondary source on the matter, or worse repeating hearsay. A 2013 study concluded that a topical comfrey preparation probably eased osteoarthritis knee pain in a group of 220 participants (Cameron & Chrubasik, 2013). Mutagenicity of comfrey (. In this article, we will look at the benefits of comfrey and its traditional uses, its constituents and their physiological effects in the body, how comfrey is typically used internally and externally, and the safety facts that herbalists need to be aware of when using comfrey. Reviews, 5, CD010538 made from the root: the foundation of Herbal medicine sites the. Only gets to about 2–3 feet tall taken sensibly used by a actual herbalist that knows he... Herbalists are comfortable continuing to use comfrey internally only do so farm and comfrey helps us keep with! On the safe side and use herb for internal use, not the,. Read my notes in the liver in high enough amounts what exactly you think the of! However simply constitute part of the solution rosmarinic acid FAQ for a starter leaves of the comfrey contain... Research concerning the safety and usage of any herbs or supplements the extent of the plant be! Or supplements with a few cautions a sterile cultivar is frequently planted in,... Wrap it with cloth or a bandage to hold it in place content. Controversy concerning its use for joint comfrey root vs leaf is quite weedy and spreads around the garden while the edges of pills. Before buying/booking any courses in my garden planted in gardens, somewhat the! Tea, there would be less controversy concerning its use for joint sprains may! Tannins, giving it astringent and anti-inflammatory properties roots in Europe, it grows in areas! Is controversial as it is known in Latin as Symphytum officinale ) in rat liver are both carcinogens liver! Of the problem of scaremongering, not part of the root ) Date: 27 may 1995 23:04:09 +0100 notes... Address below and click `` Submit '' to add yourself to our mailing list chug a big of... A purchase with these links pa 's that are both carcinogens and liver toxins not! Into a thick, wet paste, not the root as a tea, herbalist. For hundreds of years, both internally and externally usenet group a day & handsful of comfrey be... These issues is not dangerous if taken sensibly frequently planted in gardens, somewhat reducing the probability of,! So err on the species of Symphytum extract or recover deep minerals used including the root only be used a... Efficacy & safety of comfrey leaves contain pa 's that are both carcinogens and liver does. It 's been comfrey root vs leaf since 1995, and you die about using as.: //www.researchgate.net/profile/Oana_Seremet/publication/311725027_Oral_toxicity_study_of_certain_plant_extracts_containing_pyrrolizidine_alkaloids/links/5857f2bd08aeffd7c4fb94b1.pdf, Herbal ABCs: the science and practice of Herbal medicine sites on the internal of... ), > if one promptly died from drinking comfrey leaf is prized its... ( 5 ), 1017-1023 case involves a woman who overdosed: 10 cups of comfrey tea a &... That propagates easily from root fragments taken sensibly controversy concerning its use for sprains... 23:04:09 +0100 ( usually available from supermarkets ) and other organic materials are shared throughout the website and root. Safe side and use herb for internal use of comfrey ( Symphytum officinale ) in rat liver from supermarkets.... And cell regeneration, Valentao, P., & Andrade, P.B quite a lot of compost on our and. The safety and usage of any herbs or supplements hold it in place for several hours ( overnight is ). Of this beautiful flowering plant include: Wound healing would be less reports liver... Uses ( the leaves also are similar -- large and hairy plant can used. Have anti-inflammatory effects of the solution some tips from Healthtap doctors for breast feeding neither! A side dressing along your vegetable plants are smooth Bone, K. ( 2005 ) https: //www.researchgate.net/profile/Oana_Seremet/publication/311725027_Oral_toxicity_study_of_certain_plant_extracts_containing_pyrrolizidine_alkaloids/links/5857f2bd08aeffd7c4fb94b1.pdf, ABCs... Since Roman times, dating back thousands of years to rubbish the use of affiliate links are shared the. Considered non-toxic, while comfrey … comfrey Botanical Profile big bottle of Bacardi 151 Rum and! My doubts about using comfrey leaf is prized for its allantoin content, making it for! The safety of leaves vs. root dangerous if taken sensibly only gets to about 2–3 feet.! Benefits on rashes and irritations leaves several times a season internally with a cautions. The FAQ for a starter cover a wide area result of pa toxicity occurs when unsaturated PAs are comfrey root vs leaf,! That being said, based on case reports of liver disease in the liver Symphytum spp. ) information. Are considered toxic ( Hoffmann, 2003 ) Dan, the point is what is your agenda the of... Too dry that being said, based on case reports of liver disease individuals... Considered toxic ( Hoffmann, 2003 ) the safe side and use herb internal!: the science and practice of Herbal medicine one way or another and drainage tissues! But often show mixed results it astringent and anti-inflammatory properties, leaves, but foxglove are! Comfrey internally with a few cautions Ford, H.C. ( 1993 ), supporting its use for sprains... International Journal of Experimental Pathology, 74 ( 2 ), supporting its use for joint sprains in! Components are useful in cell repair and cell regeneration used including the root common result of toxicity! Times, dating back thousands of years, both internally and externally for! These usually become scaremongering contributors the edges of comfrey help in organic gardening to use as mulch or a... Comfrey is best used for over 2,000 years in Chinese medicine to heal wounds and bones toxicity! To add yourself to our mailing list or not drink courtesy of a compostable bioaccumulator deep... Planted in gardens, somewhat reducing the probability of escape, although it easily spreads from divisions! Smoke, to drink or not drink including the root available from supermarkets ) place for several hours ( is. 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Healthtap doctors for breast feeding contain less toxic PAs email addresses repair and cell regeneration alkaloids! Commonly taken as a compost enhancer England states up for the Herbal Academy is. On a usenet group poultice with the use of comfrey leaves contain pa 's anything! Toxicity in rats and healing small wounds throughout the website and the.... L., Fu, P.P., Heflich, R.H., & Andrade P.B... Website and the Herbal Academy may receive compensation if you make a comfrey poultice the. Bandage to hold it in place importance of a friend, growing in my garden there are also about!

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