Symphytum officinale has long been known by the name of “comfrey” and is thus often referred to in old scientific and natural medicine manuals. It is a perennial shrub native of Europe, growing in moist ground in many areas, and known to Dioscorides in the first century AD. Other names indicative of its activity are healing herb and bruisewort. It has been hailed as one of the best herbs for the lungs, especially where there is hemorrhage and one of nature’s greatest healers. The primary active constituents are allantoin, various tannins, mucilage, phosphates of calcium, potassium and sodium, iron, etc.
- Cell proliferant. The herb stimulates new cell growth, and is thus very helpful as a poultice and/or taken internally, in cases of broken bones, bruises, burns, cuts, fractures, ruptures, sprains, swellings, torn ligaments, varicose veins, etc. For external use, apply pure olive oil before the herbal poultice to prevent sticking.
- Anti-inflammatory. Symphytum soothes and heals inflamed tissues in a remarkable way. It has been extensively used for stopping hemorrhages, but especially from the lungs, which are difficult to treat directly. Its anti-inflammatory activity has been found effective against asthma, bronchitis, pleurisy, pneumonia, tuberculosis, but also for inflamed bowels and stomach, diarrhea, dysentery, ulcerated kidneys, bloody urine. It has been also used against gangrene, gout, leukorrhea and scrofula.
- Nutritive. The herb appears to be also highly nutritive, and old herbology texts advise that when it is taken internally no food is necessary, as the patient is well fed for the next 12 hours and excessive nutrition is bound to interfere with the healing process.