Comfrey: A Plant of Topical Value
Disclaimer: This article is meant to be for the discussion of and the medicinal uses of a plant and not medical advise. Those who choose to test run such is doing so at their own discretion. It isn't recommended to just go out and grab plants to test with if you aren't an experienced hiker or botanist or know what you are doing. It also is not advised to use in the instance of a serious medical emergency or as a treatment for underlying conditions. You have been warned.
When it comes to this plant, the name Comfrey encompasses a number of different plants under the genus Symphytum, but generally those that fall into such serve virtually the same purpose in the world of herbalism. Hailing from Europe, this plant serves a number of purposes. From fertilizer to control in the garden, this plant is much like Broadleaf plantain in terms of practical uses in the garden, but this plant also has a use in terms of being medicinal.
Nicknamed bone set, bone knit, and a plethora of other names, the old world used for this plant use to heal fractures or aid in the acceleration of the healing process outside of setting the bones of course. This was often the common use of this plant, however, recent studies in the plant shows that it can do a multitude of other things when it comes to the aiding and healing of the body. It has also been shown to reduce wound sizes when there was a break in one's skin, help with inflammation, pains in the joint and back, and much more. Such was generally done through the application of topical cream made from this plant, however, there is one thing to keep in mind when it comes to this plant.
Being from a broad plant family with many different forms and versions, one thing to be watched for is the toxicity it can induce if one isn't careful. Some versions of this plant contains a chemical known as pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) which if ingested or if applied via topical ointment from a non-depleted source or a source completely free of it can cause damage of the liver. Such chemicals can also damage the lungs too if ingested or applied in large amounts or on unbroken skin if the product contains any PAs. So it is wise to really investigate into those who offer such products to prevent accidental death or bodily harm in the long run. To learn more about the studies is a link below to an overview of the plant used in double studies for different injuries and more.