Comfrey plant also referred to as Symphytum officinale, is a perennial herb and belongs to the family Boraginaceae. Both the root and the leaves of the plant have various medicinal properties. The roots are black and have turnip like appearance. The plant grows in damp environment and is native to Europe, especially England and Ireland.
The plant is also referred to by common names like bruisewort, blackwort and knitbone. These names are attributed to the medicinal properties possessed by the plant roots.
Comfrey herb has several healing properties and these healing properties are attributed to the compounds allantoin, mucilage, tannic acids and caffeic acid found in the roots.
The leaves of comfrey also have great medicinal value as it contains higher concentration of allantoin and also has rosmarinic acid which is not found in the roots.
Comfrey roots are used in a wide range of skin care products including bath soaps, lotions and moisturizing creams. The keratolytic properties of the ingredients of the root help soothing, moisturize and heal the skin. It is beneficial for individual with a dry and sensitive skin and is also considered to be beneficial as an anti aging product.
Health Benefits Of Comfrey Root Powder
Here are some of the medicinal benefits of Comfrey root:
- The ingredients of the root are beneficial in the management of inflammation, as they induce vasoconstriction. This makes it a very useful herb in the management of conditions like hemorrhoids. In addition, due to its anti-inflammatory properties, it has been found to be beneficial in the management of chronic conditions like gout and arthritis. It also helps manage varicose veins effectively.
- Comfrey roots are also considered beneficial in the management of gastric disturbances like stomach upset and diarrhea.
- Comfrey roots can help in the management of chronic cough (not attributed to infection) and are also beneficial in reducing heavy menstrual bleeding, due to its vasoconstriction properties.
- Comfrey root can be crushed in boiling water. This water can be used for gargling and is an effective treatment of periodontal disease and sore throat conditions.
Medicinal Properties Of Comfrey Root
Comfrey root powder has potent medicinal uses:
- It is used as a traditional remedy for the management of broken bones and fractures. It hastens the healing of sprains and other joint injuries.
- In addition it is used for the treatment of burns, cuts and bruises. It has profound effect on the skin and reduces thickening of the skin and hence is used as an anti-aging agent.
- Its ability to reduce scarring of the skin makes it effective in the management of skin disorders like acne and dermatitis.
- Comfrey roots are beneficial in the management of acute gastrointestinal disorders like stomach upset and diarrhea. However, the use should be restricted, especially in individuals who suffer from some form of liver disorder. The Pyrrolizide alkaloids found in the roots are considered to have a damaging effect on the liver.
Though available in the form of liquid extract and oil, using dried roots is preferable. One can prepare a poultice using the dried roots or root powder and can be applied locally on to the skin.
In addition there are comfrey ointments and creams that are available in the market, which are specifically designed to reduce pain and swelling of joint inflammation. Ingestion of the herb in dried form should be limited, primarily due to its detrimental effect on the liver.