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The discovery of comfrey

Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) is a medicinal plant that has been valued for centuries and is native to Europe and Asia. Even the ancient Greeks and Romans used comfrey to heal wounds and treat broken bones. The plant was highly valued for its healing properties. The name “symphytum” is derived from the Greek word “symphyo” meaning “to grow together” and refers to the healing properties of the plant.

Dosage forms and dosage

Comfrey can be taken in various forms:

  • Tea: Comfrey tea is prepared from the dried leaves or roots. To do this, pour hot water over 1-2 teaspoons of the dried herb and leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes. It is recommended not to drink more than 2-3 cups per day.
  • Tincture: A tincture can be used externally for skin problems. The tincture is usually applied to the affected area 2-3 times a day.
  • Ointments and creams: Comfrey ointments and creams are particularly effective for skin injuries, bruises and inflammation. They are applied several times a day as required.
  • Capsules and tablets: They are also available in capsule form. The dosage varies depending on the product, so the package leaflet should be observed. A usual dosage is around 300-500 mg per day.

Healing effect and areas of application

Comfrey has a wide range of healing properties and can be used for various conditions:

  • Wound healing: It promotes tissue regeneration and accelerates wound healing. This is particularly helpful for cuts, abrasions and burns.
  • Bone fractures and sprains: Due to its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, it is traditionally used for broken bones and sprains. It promotes healing and reduces swelling.
  • Joint complaints: For arthritis, rheumatism and other joint problems, it can relieve pain and improve mobility.
  • Inflammation: It has an anti-inflammatory effect and can help with inflammation of the skin and muscle tissue.
  • Skin problems: Eczema, psoriasis and acne can be alleviated by applying comfrey ointment.

How it works in the body

The healing effect of comfrey is mainly attributed to the ingredients allantoin, rosmarinic acid and mucilage:

  • Allantoin: promotes cell regeneration and supports the healing of wounds and broken bones.
  • Rosmarinic acid: has an anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effect, which is helpful for joint complaints and inflammation.
  • Mucilage: forms a protective film on the skin and soothes skin irritation and inflammation.

When should comfrey be taken or supplemented?

It should be used when:

  • Acute skin injuries are present
  • Joint pain or inflammation is present
  • Rapid wound healing is required
  • Skin problems such as eczema and psoriasis are to be treated.

Who is comfrey not suitable for?

Comfrey is not suitable for everyone. The following people should exercise caution or avoid taking it:

  • Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers: safety during pregnancy and breastfeeding has not been adequately studied.
  • Children under 12 years of age: Due to lack of safety data, use in children is not recommended.
  • Persons with liver disease: It contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which can damage the liver if used excessively.
  • Long-term users: It should not be taken over a long period of time to avoid possible liver damage.

Food supplements and medicinal plants

The following dietary supplements and medicinal plants can be used to support the healing effect of comfrey:

  • Vitamin C: supports the immune system and promotes wound healing.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: have an anti-inflammatory effect and support joint health.
  • Arnica: Can also be used externally for bruises and sprains.
  • Aloe vera: Promotes skin regeneration and relieves inflammation.

Foods with comfrey

Comfrey is not directly contained in food, but the healing ingredients can be supported by a healthy diet. Foods rich in allantoin or anti-inflammatory substances include:

  • Oatmeal: Rich in allantoin, it supports skin health.
  • Green leafy vegetables: Provides anti-inflammatory antioxidants.
  • Fish: Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce inflammation.

Possible side effects

The following side effects may occur when using comfrey:

  • Skin reactions: Sensitive skin may experience redness and itching.
  • Liver damage: With excessive or prolonged use, the pyrrolizidine alkaloids can damage the liver.

Overdose and its consequences

An overdose of comfrey can lead to serious damage to health, particularly due to the pyrrolizidine alkaloids it contains. Symptoms of an overdose are

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Liver damage, which can be manifested by jaundice or dark urine

Comfrey in naturopathy

In naturopathy, comfrey is mainly used as an ointment or tincture. These forms are particularly effective for external use for skin and joint complaints. It can also support healing in the form of compresses and poultices.


Comfrey is a valuable medicinal plant with a long tradition in naturopathy. Its wide range of applications and healing properties make it an indispensable remedy for treating skin injuries, joint complaints and inflammation. However, care should be taken when using it in order to avoid possible side effects and health risks. In combination with other medicinal plants and dietary supplements, it can develop its full effect and help to promote health.

Published on: 15. May 2024


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