Home Medicinal Plants Comfrey against muscle and joint pain

Comfrey against muscle and joint pain

by Josephine Andrews
Published: Last Updated on 228 views

Common comfrey ( Symphytum officinale) is used for inflammation, bruises, muscle and joint pain, among other things. The medicinal plant is only used externally. Read more about the comfrey effect and the use of the medicinal plant here!

What is the effect of comfrey?

The old medicinal plant comfrey ( Symphytum officinale) has a pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory, decongestant, wound-cleansing, wound-healing and blood circulation-promoting effect.

The allantoin contained in comfrey is particularly responsible for the wound-healing effect. In the pharmaceutical industry, allantoin is added to a large number of ointments and creams for wound healing.

Other active ingredients of the medicinal plant are

  • mucilage (soothing)
  • Tannins (anti-inflammatory)
  • Terpenes (antibacterial and antifungal)
  • rosmarinic acid (anti-inflammatory)

However, the pyrrolizidine alkaloids also contained are considered liver-toxic, mutagenic and carcinogenic. They serve the plant primarily as protection against feeding. They are toxic to humans and animals if consumed in excess.

What is comfrey used for?

It is classified as a traditional herbal medicine and is mainly used for:

  • bruises
  • strains
  • sprains
  • Pain and swelling of muscles and joints
  • acute back pain
  • joint osteoarthritis
  • tendonitis
  • Shoulder joint inflammation (periarthritis)
  • Golfer’s and tennis elbow (epicondylitis)

The medicinal plant is also suitable for promoting local blood circulation. Some traditional healers have also used it to treat diarrhea and other stomach ailments.

How is comfrey used?

Common is the external use of comfrey creams, ointments and poultices, which are usually made from the fresh comfrey root (Symphyti radix).

Sometimes the parts of the plant above ground (Symphyti herba) are also used. Because of the pyrrolizidine alkaloids it contains, you should not collect comfrey yourself and process it into poultices, but use ready-made preparations. Comfrey tea is also strongly discouraged.

Finished preparations are mostly free of pyrrolizidine alkaloids. Information on the use and dosage of the preparations can be found in the leaflet.

Note: Never take comfrey by mouth.

What side effects can comfrey cause?

Very rarely, external use of Symphytum officinale causes reddening of the skin.

Symptoms of poisoning can occur if you take comfrey orally.

What you should consider when using Comfrey

Externally, you should use comfrey preparations that contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids for a maximum of four to six weeks per year. In addition, do not apply such preparations to open wounds.

Most of Comfrey’s finished medicinal products are now free of pyrrolizidine alkaloids and can be used without restrictions – or according to the information in the package leaflet.

You must not use comfrey preparations during pregnancy and breastfeeding or in children under the age of three: Up to now there have been no clinical studies on the effectiveness and safety of use in these patient groups.

How to get comfrey products

You can get comfrey ointments, creams or poultices/compresses in pharmacies and drugstores. Give preference to ready-made medicinal products, as these usually do not contain the harmful pyrrolizidine alkaloids.

What is comfrey?

Comfrey is a herbaceous plant from the borage family (Boraginaceae). It is native to Eurasia, but has since become naturalized in North America. Comfrey prefers to grow in damp meadows, on ditches and banks. As a popular garden plant, it can also be found in many gardens.

Symphytum officinale grows up to 1.50 meters high. The elongated narrow leaves and stems are bristly-hairy. Between May and July, the plant produces reddish-purple (sometimes yellowish-white) bell-shaped, nodding flowers.

The Greek word symphytos (grown together) is in the Latin name of the plant. It indicates the effect as a wound healing agent. Also, the specific species name “officinalis” was only given to those plants that were used for medicinal purposes.

The German name ” Comfrey ” and the popular names “Wallwurz” and “Comfrey” also indicate the healing effect. The expression “the wound is surging” used to mean that the wound is growing.

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