Comfrey | Symphytum spp
Traditionally known as “Knitbone”, Comfrey | Symphytum spp. is often used for bone and joint support where there are breaks, joint distortions and soft tissue support for bruising and sprains, or over-exercise from sports or gardening. It is traditionally known for easing stiff and tired joints and muscles.
Comfrey is a shrub like plant that produces purple, blue and white flowers - and is widely grown across the continents.
A wonderful green leafed herb that comes forth in spring and rests in winter, the leaves depict the clear venous structure similar to the musculo-skeletal structure this herb is so good at supporting. A native to Europe, I first encountered this herb as a support for horses and overstrain through too much work. This herb has met some opposition for internal use, however in New Zealand it is still permitted to use it externally and only the leaves.
Topically, Comfrey is used for bruises, muscle soreness, sprains, back pain, joint pain and stiffness, tendinopathy, venous leg ulcers, wound healing, varicose veins, and fractures. It may also support skin conditions caused by irritants or atopic dermatitis (eczema).
Comfrey’s active ingredients include allantonin, mucilage, pyrrolizidine alkaloids, tannins, phytoesterols, and phenolics. The pyrrolizidine alkaloids found in comfrey mean it is not suitable for long term use beyond 6 weeks and must not be used on broken skin.
The herb is deemed likely safe when used topically on unbroken skin and for less than 6 weeks.
Not suitable for pregnant women or those breast feeding. Not for use on children.