The Benefits Of Comfrey Ointment

Comfrey ointment is made from a plant that was used by the Greeks over three thousand years ago. When applied as a poultice it can reduce the swelling around fractures, help heal those fractures.

Comfrey, Symphytum officinale, is a plant that was used by the Greeks over three thousand years ago. During the Middle Ages, comfrey was a popular remedy for broken bones. In fact, it earned the nickname "knitbone" because its leaves, when applied as a poultice to reduce the swelling around fractures, did a good job of healing those fractures.

Comfrey grows in wet meadows from Newfoundland south to Georgia, and west to Ontario and Louisiana. It is also a common plant in Europe. Comfrey is a large, hairy perennial plant that can grow up to 5 feet high. The narrowly oval, alternate dark green leaves grow on the erect, upper branching stem, with downy, pale yellow to purplish bell-shaped flowers that bloom from May through September. The rootstock of comfrey is black on the outside, fleshy and cream colored on the inside, and contains a glutinous juicy substance.

Comfrey's properties are anodyne, astringent, demulcent, emollient, expectorant, hemostatic, refrigerant, and vulnery.

Although today, there is some belief that comfrey taken internally over a longer period, may be carcinogenic, comfrey root decoctions are used to treat dysentery, diarrhea, and stomach ulcers. Comfrey root tea has also long been used to treat lung problems and whooping cough. And fresh comfrey was eaten as a cure for circulation problems, especially in Ireland. A decoction of comfrey root is said to be effective as a mouthwash and gargle for throat inflammations, hoarseness, and bleeding gums.

The tea is also said to be effective in most digestive and stomach problems, for excessive menstrual flow, and to stop the spitting of blood. Comfrey's powdered rootstock has been used internally for bloody urine, gastrointestinal ulcers, dysentery, and persistent coughs. But, comfrey should not be taken internally over an extended time.

However, as an external remedy, comfrey has many uses, and has demonstrated amazing healing properties. A poultice made from the fresh leaves, is said to be excellent for bad bruises, sprains, swellings, sprains and boils. A poultice of the fresh leaves is also said to be excellent for sore breasts, ulcers, burns and gangrene. Heating the pulp of the root makes it an effective external poultice for bronchitis, pleurisy, and for pulled tendons. And the rootstock added to one's bath water, is said to make the skin more youthful.

Comfrey's most important ingredient is the substance, allatoin. Allatoin is believed to be a cell proliferator, able to strengthen skin tissue and help heal ulcers, and is often used in ointments for skin problems. Because allatoin is present in the urine of pregnant women, in their milk, and in those parts of plants which are related to growth, it is believed that allatoin is closely related to the growth and multiplication of cells.

To grow comfrey in your own garden, you can order root cuttings through the mail, for it's difficult to start it from seed. It will be a fast grower. The allatoin is in the part of the plant which is growing most rapidly. Sometimes it is in the rootstock, sometimes in the buds. It is best to harvest the roots before spring growth. Later the leaves and buds will be rich in the substance.

After harvesting the roots, clean and allow to dry in the sun, slowly, turning them often. Once the roots are dried, store in a tightly covered container. Powder or grind the dried root, when ready to use, and dissolve in hot, but not boiling water. Always use distilled water for this purpose. A mucilage will form in the water that can be applied directly to the skin, or consumed internally as a tea, for various ailments.

Comfrey is an amazing, natural healer!

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