Comfrey remedies are popular natural skin treatments because comfrey contains allantoin, a compound that has been shown to accelerate skin healing and help wounds close faster. Comfrey is an herb that has large, broad leaves that can be applied directly to the skin to minimize infection and scarring. The leaves can also be chopped and mixed with olive oil to create a salve or poultice.
History of Comfrey
Various cultures have used comfrey remedies for centuries as an herbal first aid to heal skin wounds and bones. Chinese traditional medicine used the herb for over 2,000 years. Some cultures ingested the herb to treat internal conditions such as arthritis and ulcers, but herbalists no longer recommend ingesting comfrey. Some of the earliest modern day comfrey uses come from the 19th century when botanic physician Samuel Thomson used comfrey to heal a foot injury, which saved his foot from amputation, according to Dr. Christopher's Herbal Legacy.
Comfrey is commonly used in herbal pastes, ointments and salves, which are applied topically to the skin to treat a number of different conditions. Comfrey is also rich in vitamins A, C and B12, in addition to allantoin.
Comfrey remedies are particularly beneficial for healing bruises and contusions. Allantoin is the healing compound in comfrey that has been shown to break down red blood cells and accelerate the production of new cells to speed healing. Comfrey also reduces the swelling that often accompanies a bruise.
Wounds and Burns
Comfrey has many natural soothing and anti-inflammatory properties to help heal inflamed tissues, making it an ideal treatment for wounds and burns. Comfrey is an effective wound and burn treatment because allantoin protects skin against irritants and helps heal burns and close wounds faster. Vitamin C also boosts collagen production, which is essential for wound and burn healing.
Comfrey remedies can help heal a number of different skin conditions including eczema, (a chronic skin disorder that causes scaly, itchy skin); and dermatitis, a general term for inflamed skin and viral skin infections. Allantoin helps keep skin soft and smooth, and vitamin A is an antioxidant that helps alleviate eczema symptoms such as dryness and itchiness.
Do-It-Yourself Comfrey Remedies
Comfrey can be purchased at health food stores. It's fairly easy to make your own comfrey remedy at home by using the roots of the herb to create a compress or poultice. The first step to creating a comfrey remedy at home is to thoroughly clean comfrey root with a scrub brush under running water, according to Comfrey: Herbal Remedies, by Jennifer Brett, ND. Place comfrey in a blender or food processor and cover with olive oil. Grind the mixture as finely as possible, then transfer to a large glass jar and soak for several weeks. Strain the mixture through a wire mesh strainer with cheesecloth or in a coffee filter. Use the oil as a compress or poultice to treat wounds, burns or skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis or to speed bruise healing.
If a do-it-yourself remedy sounds a bit too complicated, prepared comfrey ointments are sold at health stores. The prepared formulas use comfrey as a key ingredient, combined with other skin soothers, so the formula is not as potent as a homemade treatment only containing comfrey.
- Burt's Bees Res-Q Ointment is an all natural skin treatment that contains comfrey to soothe irritation, act as an anti-inflammatory and speed wound and burn healing.
- Gaia Herbs Comfrey Compounded Salve is a natural comfrey-based skin salve that treats minor wounds and infection and supports the natural healing process.
Comfrey should be used on superficial cuts and wounds only. It is not for use on deep wounds or severe burns. If you develop a fever, the wound begins draining pus, or lines and redness develop near the wound, this can be a sign of a serious infection, and you should seek treatment immediately from a physician or at the nearest emergency room. Always consult a physician if wounds do not heal or worsen, and do tell your doctor about any herbal remedies, vitamins or supplements you are using. Seek medical treatment for deep cuts, severe burns, or any wounds that do not heal within a reasonable amount of time.
Natural Skin Healer
Comfrey is considered exceptionally safe when you use it as a topical treatment. It can be applied to any skin type, and is even safe for the elderly and infants. Experts no longer recommend using comfrey internally, as studies show that taking comfrey in large doses over long periods of time can lead to potentially fatal liver problems.
Comfrey has many healing properties and benefits and can treat a number of conditions such as burns, wounds and eczema. You can apply comfrey either directly to skin in its natural leaf form or as a salve or ointment to heal skin conditions. It's fairly quick and easy to create a natural, potent comfrey remedy at home, but there are also prepared ointments with high percentages of comfrey sold at health stores.