Updated: Aug 2, 2019
History of comfrey:
Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) is a perennial plant that’s a member of the borage family. It’s been used medicinally since the Middle Ages for a variety of ailments and injuries, including topically for sprains, breaks, and bruises. (1) Its healing properties have even earned it the nickname of “knitbone” in folk medicine. (2)
Uses of comfrey:
Modernly, the healing power of comfrey is primarily harnessed in a salve, cream or gel and is then applied to the skin. (3)
When used topically comfrey can:
Provide pain relief. Multiple scientific studies have concluded that applying comfrey to the skin reduces pain and inflammation resulting from arthritis, sprains, and bruises. Studies have even been conducted specifically on pesky lower back pain. The conclusion was that comfrey quickly provides noticeable pain relief for those suffering from common lower back pain. (4)
Speed healing. Comfrey contains allantoin which naturally promotes skin regrowth. For that reason, allantoin has been used in a variety of over-the-counter medications for skin issues. Researchers understand that comfrey also helps improve collagen production and wound healing when used topically, but it’s important to note that comfrey shouldn’t be used on open wounds. For at-home use it’s crucial to let wounds close on their own before experimenting with comfrey applications. Anecdotally, people claim that topical use of comfrey can speed healing of broken or fractured bones - though this hasn’t yet been proven scientifically. (4)
Soothe skin. Comfrey has been studied for its ability to soothe irritated skin. Specifically, it was compared to a common over-the-counter medication that’s used to calm sunburn. The study concluded that a comfrey application was just as helpful, if not more so than the commonly prescribed diclofenanc. Another team of researchers intentionally irritated skin on adults and then applied liquid extract of comfrey to the area. The conclusion in this case too was that comfrey shows great promise for calming irritated skin. (4)
If you’re looking for alternative pain relief or skin support, comfrey could be helpful. As with any addition to your healthcare routine, we recommend doing your own research and consulting with your physician, especially in the case of comfrey because using it is controversial.
What other natural options do you have?
If you or your physician aren’t open to using comfrey, you’ve still got all-natural options you can try. Our topical Dead Sea magnesium supplements can provide relief for a variety of health conditions because they can reduce inflammation, provide pain relief, soothe certain skin conditions and more.
When you do your research on magnesium, you’ll soon see that your body quite literally can’t function without access to magnesium. And fortunately, there aren’t scary side effects that come along with using topical magnesium. So go ahead, rub a few sprays into your skin or soak in a magnesium bath - we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!
Warnings: Please note, before using new herbal supplements we recommend checking with your doctor. Comfrey use is controversial primarily because comfrey contains toxins that can cause severe liver damage if used internally. For that reason it is not considered safe to ingest. Comfrey should not be used on young children or on women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. To avoid toxicity issues with topical use, it is recommended to not use comfrey for more than 10 consecutive days or for more than 4-6 weeks of the year. (4)