Comfrey is an unfairly forgotten plant.
Until recently, it was considered a remedy for many ailments, but research has shown that it can be very harmful to health when taken internally. However, there is nothing stopping you from using it on the surface of your skin, where it can provide many benefits. What properties does comfrey have and how can it be used?
What is Comfrey?
Comfrey (Latin Symphytum officinale) is a perennial plant. It is also called “larkspur”. It can usually be found in Europe and Central Asia. It was also brought to North America at one time. In Russia, it grows throughout the country, mainly near rivers, ponds and lakes. It can reach a height of 1.5 meters. During flowering, comfrey produces purple flowers, collected in drooping inflorescences.
The medicinal properties of comfrey have been used in folk medicine for centuries.
The root powder of this plant was used for diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. It was used to prepare ointments for bruises, as well as for the preparation of medical compresses. With the development of medicine, it has been discovered that comfrey can harm your health. The alkaloids it contains are toxic. Their constant use can lead to liver damage, nervous system pathologies and the development of cancer. For this reason, the internal use of comfrey is contraindicated, but it can still be used on leather surfaces, albeit to a limited extent.
What does comfrey contain?
In the case of comfrey, the medicinal raw material is its root. It looks like long thick shoots of brown, almost black color. It contains allantoin, amino acids, asparagine, phenolic acids, tannins, essential oils, saponin and numerous mineral salts.
Common comfrey for joints
Comfrey root is prized for its pain relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. It is used for various muscle and joint problems. The use of comfrey oil or an ointment with its addition can relieve pain in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, as well as relieve painful symptoms in cases of degenerative changes, bruises, and joint and muscle injuries, including sprains and deformities. It can also be used as an aid in recovery from bone fractures.
Comfrey for leather
Allantoin contained in comfrey has a strong proliferative effect. It acts on skin cells, regenerates, soothes and smoothes and softens the skin. Due to this, comfrey root is widely used in cosmetics for the care of problem and damaged skin.
The use of comfrey extract speeds up the healing process and soothes skin irritations, including those caused by sunburn. Due to the allantoin content in comfrey, it is used as a sedative for irritations and frostbite.
Comfrey gel helps to treat psoriasis, eczema, atopic dermatitis. The plant oil used as a cosmetic moisturizes, smoothes and softens the skin.
Comfrey in pharmacies
There are many comfrey products available in pharmacies. It is sometimes part of a multicomponent ointment with a warming or cooling effect. It is also added to gels and creams with a soothing and regenerating effect.
At the pharmacy, you can buy dried comfrey root, from which you can prepare, for example, a relaxing bath that relieves muscle tension and various pains. Baths with the addition of medicinal comfrey are effective for rheumatic pains, varicose veins, ulcers and eczema.
Contraindications to the use of comfrey
When used externally, comfrey is considered safe. But you should take into account the content of alkaloids in it, which can be harmful. Therefore, it is recommended to use comfrey for a short time. Pregnant and lactating women are not recommended to use comfrey preparations.