Comfrey - Research seems to bear out the claims for the healing properties of comfrey leaf. In one major European study, with over 300 participants, showed that comfrey leaf treatments of varying types (ointments, salves, compresses and other topical applications), were very effective in treating eczema, dermatitis, viral skin infections and ulcers of the lower leg. In another study on comfrey root, ointment based, proved more effective at relieving both pain and swelling in 142 patients with sprained ankles.
More recent research in the United States has shown that allantoin, one of comfrey's main constituents, breaks down red blood cells, which could account for its ability to help heal bruises and contusions as well as promoting the growth of muscle, cartilage, and bone growth.
With regards to the warnings that comfrey can cause cancer and liver disease, most herbal practitioners point out that those results were from studies that isolated the pyrrolizidine alkaloids and fed or injected them into animal subjects in doses far higher than any typical usage of comfrey leaf, and that comfrey leaf has been regularly ingested by thousands of people around the world without reported ill effects.
Precautions: Not recommended for internal use. Not to be used while pregnant. Not to be applied to broken or abraided skin.
Comfrey was widely used and recommended until the mid-1980s, when reports began to surface about the possibility of liver damage from the pyrrolizidine alkaloids that some plants contain. In 2001, the FTC and FDA combined to issue an injunction against products containing comfrey that were meant for internal use. This view has been countered by herbalists, who state that common comfrey, the plant most often used for medicinal purposes, contains only negligible amounts of those alkaloids.
In fact, one laboratory study of three different sources of comfrey found no pyrrolizidine in one sample, and only negligible amounts in the other two. Still, many herbalists recommend that comfrey preparations should not be taken internally because of the possibility of liver disease and damage. Comfrey should also not be used by pregnant or nursing women.
For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Disclaimer: Apple Tree makes no medical claims that the herbs, herbal products or suggested uses on this website are intended to diagnose, prevent, cure or treat any health problem or disease. Content herein is provided for informational purposes only. Please do further research on your own.