Comfrey - Editor's Choice

Over the years, Earth Clinic readers have sent us many reports about their treatments for Comfrey. The editors at Earth Clinic consider the below posts to be some of the most helpful and informative and have named them 'Editor's Choice'. We hope that you will find this useful.

Internal Use

Posted by Mama to Many (TN) on 04/23/2022
5 out of 5 stars

Dear Radiance Swan,

As Paracelsus said, "The dose makes the poison."

There are quite a few controversial remedies discussed on this website that are difficult to find discussed in other places. Borax, for example. I am thankful that there is a place to discuss and learn about their uses even when various organizations might villainize or ban them.

In his tome, "Medical Herbalism, " David Hoffman, FNIMH, AHG says, "Long-term studies with rats have demonstrated that the pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) in comfrey are hepatotoxic, carcinogenic, and mutagenic...The herb must therefore be recognized as a potentially genotoxic carcinogen in man. However, the risk of genetic damage from these PAs appears to be low...To minimize potential risk, lengthy internal use is to be discouraged." He does go on to describe ways to use it internally.

I have found that many herbalists seem to agree with this approach. Few seem to be inclined to completely ban internal use (except for the root, which is generally considered to be used only externally.)

Recently I used fresh comfrey leaves internally when I had a suspected ulcer (from a prescription I was taking.) I felt that the risk of using comfrey internally was probably less than the risk from another prescription. And all ulcer symptoms did resolve in short order.

I would hate to see the feedback about the internal uses erased from this site, as that would reduce our power as consumers to make our decisions about the remedies we use. And the article that mentions comfrey tea does state, "While comfrey is a folk remedy that is still commonly recommended by herbalists, some scientists are concerned about the safety of comfrey, believing it to be harmful to the liver. You should do your own research and use wisdom and common sense about the use of any herbs. A natural practitioner will be able to help you understand any specific concerns about comfrey use for your own situation."

Definitely everyone should do their own research about what works best for them. No one should use a remedy that they are uncomfortable with.

~Mama to Many~

Deep Wounds, Tennis Elbow

Posted by Joy G. (VIC Australia ) on 02/04/2021
5 out of 5 stars

Many years ago, I think it was around 1972 my husband tried to break up our two dogs that had a disagreement and he accidently got bitten on the wrist ---the local DR stitched his wrist and after it healed he was in a lot of pain when he moved his hand ---the Dr wanted to operate on it because he thought he may have stitched the tendon ---I asked him to get a second opinion from my Dr [who was a surgeon] he told him what had happened was that crystals had formed and if it was re opened more crystals would again form. I had just done a herbal medicine course --for the home as I did not want to treat people and I asked him if he would try something out of my witches books [ as he called all my alternate medicine books ] and he said yes so I got some comfrey capsules [ which were available then] and some vitamin E capsules dosage was one in the morning and one at night --- after about 4-5 weeks it had completely healed up and no more pain.

Unfortunately, not long after you could no longer buy the Comfrey capsules.

I also used them for Tennis Elbow, which was also successful.


Ankle Sprains

Posted by JoCarol (United States) on 04/10/2019
5 out of 5 stars

I had an individual sprain his ankle really bad, it had a huge knot on the side of the ankle and was swelled up the side of the leg. I sent him home with some dried comfrey and told him to make a large kettle of comfrey tea and add some apple cider vinegar. By the end of the evening the swelling was almost all gone. And the next day the swelling was all gone and he could walk on it with no pain, as if nothing had happened.

Cartilage Damage, Scars

Posted by Kitchen Witch (New York) on 07/05/2017
5 out of 5 stars

Comfrey leaf for cartilage repair

I have a lipoma and I heard comfrey leaf might help. I ordered some comfrey leaf plantain leaf tea from someone on etsy and comfrey leaf tablets and took them three times a day and drank a pot of tea daily. Well, it did nothing for my lipoma but I had an indented scar on the side tip of my nose that dug into my cartilage from a cancerous growth being removed. After two weeks it started filling in.

I've had this scar for four years, got injections used salves oils and creams and nothing a big hole in my nose. Now its almost filled in and I am shocked. Doctors said I would need an implant.

Comfrey Smoothie for Women

Posted by Mama To Many (Tennessee) on 04/06/2017
5 out of 5 stars

Well, my smoothie picture today doesn't have a sunny background. It is chilly and drizzly this morning. But I still made a smoothie this morning; it is one of my favorite breakfasts. My son with poison ivy is doing so much better, so I am back to making smoothie that has what I like and think I need in it (Thought I loved the Pina Colada Smoothie). Every day my smoothie is different but here is today's recipe (approximately.)

  • 2 medium sized comfrey leaves
  • 3/4 cup yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon Gelatin
  • 1/4 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/4 cup almond milk (maybe a little more)

Blend all in a blender.

It wasn't very sweet; some honey could be added.

Benefits of this smoothie for women:

Comfrey is good for strong and flexible bones, healthy skin and good digestion. Herbalist Susun Weed says it contains special proteins for short term memory brain cells.

Susun Weed also recommends regular consumption of yogurt for menopausal women.

Blueberries are tasty antioxidants.

Chia seeds are good for digestion and give you Omega 3's.

Gelatin is good for the health of joints, skin, hair and nails.


~Mama to Many~


Posted by Mama To Many (Tennessee) on 04/04/2017
5 out of 5 stars

Well, its that time of year again. Everything is growing, including the poison ivy. My 11 year old has it pretty badly. Yesterday his face was quite swollen. Time to continue the tweaking of my poison ivy protocol.

I made a strong plantain/comfrey tea and keep it in the fridge. He uses a cotton ball to apply the tea to his face when it is uncomfortable. I had him wash his face with fels naptha soap. I put dmso on his face and then a plantain/comfrey salve. I had him take a baking soda bath and drink a comfrey smoothie. He thinks the bath helped the most. I think the DMSO helped the most. He said that the DMSO burned (I used 70%) which is why I applied the salve afterwards. I am also giving him bromelain and turmeric capsules to help reduce inflammation.

Today the poison ivy is drying out some and looks less red. I am hopeful that he is on the mend. He has some in the corners of his mouth, making eating uncomfortable. I made him a comfrey Pina Colada which he could drink through the straw. He wasn't thrilled about the comfrey but his little brothers (and I) think it tastes delicious.

I made a large batch in my blender -

  • 5 or so comfrey leaves
  • 2 small cans pineapple with juice
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 frozen bananas

~Mama to Many~

Bone Fractures

Posted by Cloe Jazwinski (Los Angeles)
5 out of 5 stars

Sent to Earth Clinic in 2002 by Cloe Jazwinski of Los Angeles, CA. Cloe knows a thing a two about healing a bone fracture. Cloe is a 2nd Dan black belt in karate who's used comfrey salves to heal two bone fractures.

She writes, "Comfrey is one of the most well-known healing plants, especially for its ability to heal tissue and bone (due to its allantoin content, which promotes the growth of connective tissue, bone, and cartilage, and is easily absorbed through the skin). Besides broken bones, these externally poulticed leaves and roots are also used for cuts, bruises and sprains."

Recipe: Comfrey is best used fresh and simmered. Use the sticky paste to make a compress and attach it with an elastic bandage. Use every night. This will speed the healing of the fracture dramatically.

To heal her fractures, every night Cloe would grind several tablespoons of comfrey with a mortar and would bring it to a boil with a few spoons of water. She then would make a paste out of it, spread the paste on a cotton cloth, wrap it around her arm, and put elastic bands or safety pins in to secure it. Even though she had 2 fractures, Cloe decided not to wear a cast but a sling, which is why she could take off the sling at night.

Writes Cloe, "The feeling of that compress was heavenly. Even though everyone said I'd always know where my arm was broken (rain and humidity brings back the pain for the rest of your life), I never felt it and I attribute that to the comfrey compress routine. It's known to heal wounds extremely fast as well (I use a pre-made ointment of comfrey and aloe on scratches and minor wounds and they disappear overnight). I see comfrey as the crazy glue of broken bones and skin..."

Comfrey Caveats:

Not recommended for internal use as there is some controversy about carcinogenic effects. The controversy around the use of this plant concerns its pyrrolizidine alkaloid components, which are considered carcinogenic to the liver; however, these studies have been performed on rats that were fed up to 33% of their diet in comfrey leaf. Studies done with the whole plant (rather than with isolated constituents) do not show carcinogenic effects but rather the opposite. In fact, the Japanese use comfrey vinegar extracts for treating cirrhosis of the liver.