Symphytum officinale uses, benefits and side effects (Comfrey)

Symphytum officinale is a bushy, perennial herb which grows to a height of 24 -42 inches. Here, we will talk about Symphytum officinale uses, benefits and side effects.

Symphytum officinale uses, benefits and side effects

Comfrey plant leaves are basal, alternate on the lower stem and might be opposite on the upper part. The lance-elliptic leaves are 2-10 inches long and ¾ – 4 inches wide. Sometimes it may be egg-shaped.

It has blue, pink, and white flowers. The bloom time is late spring to early summer. The bell-shaped flower has 5 distinct lobes that are strongly curled back; calyx remains fused. The calyx and flower stalk have bristly hair.

Symphytum officinale common names

The common name of this plant is comfrey. Other names are bruisewort, common comfrey, Black Root, Knitbone, Healing Herb, Wallwort, and Slippery Root.

Botanical name and family of common comfrey plant

The botanical name is Symphytum officinale. It belongs to the Borage family, Boraginaceae.

Geological places where Comfrey plant grows

This is a native to Europe including Britain, but people have grown it in America also. It grows in some places in Georgia and Louisiana. You find it growing from Spain to Scandinavia, Siberia, and Turkey.

Symphytum officinale uses and health benefits

Comfrey flower and root

  • Anodyne: The main effect you get from using comfrey is relief from pain. You can tie a poultice and use it over the painful regions. Healing gets speeded by the presence of Allantoin in comfrey. 
  • Antidiarrheal: Prepare comfrey leaf tea with the fresh leaves of comfrey. Have it twice a day and get relief from diarrhea. It has mucilage that helps settle the stomach. 
  • Anti-rheumatic: Symphytum officinale has the ability to control inflammations. You can use the paste prepared from the leaves on the joints of the hands and legs to get relief from the swelling and joint pain. 
  • Astringent: The astringent action of the herb is useful for drying the wounds and speeding the healing process. So, you can use the comfrey plant for the healing of minor internal and external wounds. This vulnerary action of healing of wounds is helpful if you have small bruises or cuts only. 
  • Demulcent: The mucilage in the comfrey coats and soothes the irritated tissues. Have a glass of comfrey root tea to get fast relief from upset stomach. 
  • Emollient: The allantoin in comfrey forms a coating over the cells of the skin, moisturizing and protecting it. It is soothing and stops the further damage to the skin.
  • Expectorant: This is again due to the mucilage that helps soothe the throat and the airways. This stopscough and gives relief to the person. 
  • Haemostatic: The symphytum officinale helps the blood clot. This helps to preserve the internal stability of the blood and the tissues. 
  • Homeopathy: The speed of healing of broken bones is so great that people with fractured bones get cured almost overnight. This homeopathic agent is much respected; people call it the Knitbone for this reason. 
  • Refrigerant: You can use comfrey herb to get relief from heat and fever. For external application, use a poultice made with fresh leaves. For internal use, make tea and have it twice a day. 
  • Back pain: It has analgesic action so you can use the poultice for your back pain. Apply it with some heat to get a good effect. 
  • Gum disease: Due to its antiseptic property, you can use the comfrey infusion as mouthwash. This will kill the bacteria in the mouth and make your mouth fresh. 
  • Swollen veins: Due to the healing action of comfrey herb, people use the paste of the leaves on varicose veins to help ease the swelling. 
  • A sore throat: Steep the symphytum officinale leaves in hot water and drink the tea to get relief from a sore throat. 
  • Sprains: The poultice can help ease sprains. The comfrey eases the muscles and helps the person regain normal function. 
  • Chest pain: It is useful for those who suffer from chest pain. It opens the blood vessels and helps ease the pressure. 
  • Cancer: Comfrey helps stop the growth of cancer cells. Patients drink comfrey tea for help in dealing with cancer. 
  • Heavy menstrual period: For those who suffer from unusual bleeding, use of symphytum officinale can help stop this. It regularizes the period. 
  • Bloody urine: you can use comfrey as a tea if you have bloody urine. It heals the internal injuries and helps the person recover quickly. 
  • A persistent cough: For curing persistent cough, you can have the decoction of the leaves of comfrey. It will soothe the airways and help to ease a cough. 
  • Painful breathing: If you have swollen tissues in the airways, then the cure is in having the tea of comfrey. This will soon reduce the swelling and make you whole again. 
  • Upset stomach: If you experience any discomfort of the digestive system, you can use symphytum officinale to become well again. It helps soothe the lining of the stomach and intestine. This settles the stomach and improves the appetite. Have the comfrey tea twice a day or until you have recovered.

How to use comfrey for treatment

Use a cream containing comfrey extract for pains and osteoarthritis. For osteoarthritis, you can add Aloe Vera gel and eucalyptus oil to the cream. You can also add tannic acid and frankincense. If you do not have a readymade cream, you can make a poultice of the fresh leaves or a liniment. Also, the infused oil has a good effect.

Soak some leaves in an essential oil such as lavender or rosemary essential oil. Crush the leaves and soak them in the oil. Cover the jar and leave aside. Open the jar daily and shake it. When you see the colour change, the oil is ready. Filter and set aside.

To make a poultice, crush the leaves and wrap it in any soft cloth. Press this bundle to the place where you have pain.

Side effects of comfrey plant

The small amount of toxic alkaloid in the symphytum officinale increases the chances of damage to the liver. So, one should avoid consuming comfrey for a long time. Young leaves do not have the toxin. Side effects include vomiting and abdominal pain.

Do not use on deep wounds as it will heal the top skin first. This will result in an abscess.


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Anoop Sharma

About Anoop Sharma

Anoop Sharma is an IT professional, freelance health writer and creator of He is passionate about helping others learn about health issues and their natural remedies, yoga and healthy food.

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