Comfrey is a tall, rough-leaved plant found growing in fields and considered nuisance weed.
Comfrey stems and leaves are covered with coarse, bristly hairs. Rough leaves are large and up to 12 inches long. Commonly, the leaves, stems, and roots produce viscid juice when broken. Plant grows up to 3 or 4 feet. Comfrey flowers are purple, sometime blue to white.
The plant is distributed in temperate regions of Europe and Asia. The scientific name of comfrey is Symphytum officinale. The other common names for this plant are blackwort, bruisewort, knitbone, slippery root, boneset, yalluc, gum plant.
The plant has had various uses, not only as a medicinal herb but also as food and drink. The roots, leaves of the plant are most commonly used.
The chemicals in the plant have unique healing effects and reduce inflammation when used externally and internally. When applied directly to the skin the plant is effective against wounds, joint pain, skin ulcers, phlebitis, gout, fractures, bruises and rheumatoid arthritis.
Comfrey contains the substance called allantoin that helps to grow new skin cells. It possesses the ability to regenerate connective tissues. Comfrey also contains rosmarinic acid and tannins that help skin restore easily.
Other important ingredients and compounds found in comfrey include hydroxy cinnamon acid derivatives and mucopolysaccharides, protein, antioxidants and vitamin B12.
The roots and the leaves of the plant are used in herbal remedy preparations including teas. Still the use of the plant should be carefully considered in some groups of patients. The plant contains the poisonous pyrrolizidine alkaloids.
The proper time of harvesting the plant can prevent the high concentration of dangerous alkaloids in comfrey. In Siberian Collection of Monastery Teas this plant is used in some of the tea blends. The plant is collected only in certain time of the year. The older plants are not collected for the teas as they contain larger amounts of alkaloids. The proper dosing is the other important thing. The dose of this plant in Siberian teas is specially calculated to make the tea blends absolutely safe for use.
Comfrey in the tea form is used for stomach upset, colitis, gallstones, ulcers, heavy menstrual periods, diarrhea, coughs, pneumonia, bronchitis, chest pain and cancer.
Herbalists recommend using comfrey for the treatment of osteoarthritis and painful joints, sprains and back pain, muscle pain, hematomas in the form of ointments and creams. Traditionally comfrey has been applied for the treatment of burns and bruises.
The ingredient rosmarinic acid in the plant can be beneficial for inflammatory processes in the body. Comfrey is effective in the treatment of pain and inflammation in acute and chronic conditions. Rosmaricnic acid also has astringent, antioxidant, antimutagen, antibacterial and antiviral benefits.
Comfrey useful components such as saponins have antibacterial and anti-edemagenic properties. The plant also contains choline which produces vasodilatation.
Before starting the treatment with comfrey teas or other preparations, it is advised for all individuals to ask for recommendations at a doctor or trained herbal specialist.
Comfrey has lots of beneficial uses on tissue regeneration, osteoarthritis, pain management and other conditions, it should be used with caution in certain groups of patients including children, people with allergic reactions to herbs and hypersensitive reactions. Pregnant and breast-feeding women should not use products with comfrey.

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