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What herb or remedy treats what condition? Let’s dive deep into research, folk lore and herbalism to... View more
What herb or remedy treats what condition? Let’s dive deep into research, folk lore and herbalism to learn how effectively plants can heal.
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- OrganizerJune 22, 2023 at 12:34 pm
Clinical and Research Information on Drug-Induced Liver Injury
Comfrey is an plant belonging to the Borganinaceae family, extracts of the leaves and roots of which has been used as an herbal to treat wounds and to decrease pain and inflammation associated with arthritis, sprains and bone fractures. Comfrey, however, also contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids and, when taken orally, can cause sinusoidal obstruction syndrome and severe liver injury.
- OrganizerJune 22, 2023 at 12:36 pm
Comfrey (Symphytum spp.) as a feed supplement in pig nutrition contributes to regional resource cycles
In smallholder agriculture, the fast-growing and perennial accumulator plant comfrey (Symphytum spp.) was used to supply pigs with protein and minerals. Comfrey leaves show similar values in dry matter as soybean or blue lupine in crude protein content, but much higher levels of calcium and phosphorus. However, in terms of increased efficiency in animal husbandry, comfrey has been displaced by mainly soybean and cereals. Due to its profile of macro- and micronutrients the use of comfrey could have the potential to re-establish local resource cycles and help remediate over-fertilized soils. The aim of the study was to evaluate whether a modern pig breed accepts a continuous feed supplement of dried comfrey leaves. After an initial adaptation period post-weaning, German Landrace piglets were subjected to either a standard control diet or a diet supplemented with 15% dried comfrey leaves for 4 weeks. Body weight was reduced in comfrey-supplemented piglets compared to controls, which might be attributed to reduced palatability in the experimental setting. Nevertheless, comfrey-supplemented piglets exhibited adequate bone mineralization and intestinal integrity. The microbiome profile in feces and digesta revealed higher diversity in comfrey-supplemented piglets compared to controls, with pronounced effects on the abundances of Treponema and Prevotella. This may be due to described bio-positive components of the comfrey plant, as data suggest that the use of comfrey leaves may promote intestinal health. Digestive tract phosphorus levels were reduced in piglets receiving comfrey supplementation, which may ultimately affect phosphorus levels in manure. Results indicate that comfrey leaves could serve as a feed component in integrated agricultural systems to establish regional nutrient cycles. The trial provides a basis for further work on comfrey as a regionally grown protein source and effective replacement for rock mineral supplements.”
- OrganizerJune 22, 2023 at 12:38 pm
Comfrey (Symphytum spp.) as an alternative field crop contributing to closed agricultural cycles in chicken feeding
Local cultivars of comfrey (Symphytum spp.) have been used to cover protein and mineral requirements of farm animals in low-input systems. Due to its known health-promoting (e.g. allantoin), but also anti-nutritive ingredients (e.g. pyrrolizidine alkaloids), multidisciplinary approaches are essential in order to quantify the nutritional value and the potential of its use in poultry and farm animals in terms of meeting animal needs, using local resources as well as remediating over-fertilized soils. Focusing on animal effects, here one-day old sexed Cobb500 broiler chickens were subjected to either a standard control diet or a standard diet supplemented with 4% dried comfrey leaves for 32 days. Performance traits indicate good acceptance of supplementation with comfrey leaves. Parameters for liver function, mineral homeostasis, bone mineral density as well as intestinal microanatomy revealed no signs of impairment. Quantified pyrrolizidine alkaloids were below the detection limit in liver and breast muscle (<5 μg/kg tissue). Comfrey supplemented male broiler chickens showed higher ash content in breast muscle and revealed altered gene expression profiles for metabolic pathways in blood cells. In healthy broiler chickens, the transcriptome analyses revealed no aberrations in the immune-related pathways due to comfrey supplementation. The results imply that the use of comfrey leaves in a high-performance broiler line seems feasible and offers the potential for closed nutrient cycles in site-adapted local agricultural systems. Further analyses need to focus on possible growth-promoting and health-improving components of comfrey and the safe use of chicken products for human consumption.
- OrganizerJune 22, 2023 at 12:40 pm
Mutagenicity of comfrey (Symphytum Officinale) in rat liver
Comfrey is a rat liver toxin and carcinogen that has been used as a vegetable and herbal remedy by humans. In order to evaluate the mechanisms underlying its carcinogenicity, we examined the mutagenicity of comfrey in the transgenic Big Blue rat model. Our results indicate that comfrey is mutagenic in rat liver and the types of mutations induced by comfrey suggest that its tumorigenicity results from the genotoxicity of pyrrolizidine alkaloids in the plant.
- OrganizerJune 22, 2023 at 12:44 pm
In Edward Shook’s Advance Course In Herbology, he has this to say about comfrey:
“Now let us continue our study of – DEMULCENTS.
COMFREY: Latin name, SYMPHYTUM OFFICANALE.
Natural Order: Boraginaceae. This is one of Nature’s great master-pieces, and one of the most important therapeutic agents even discovered by man. It has been used for thousands of years, and during that time by millions of people.
SYNONYMS: Comfrey, consound, knitbone, bruisewort, yalluc (Saxon), slippery root, black root, etc.
HABITAT: A native of Europe, but has become naturalized in America and grows in moist soil and low ground in almost all parts of U.S.
PARTS USED: Roots and Leaves.
CONSTITUENTS: Mucilage 70 to 80%, tannin, aspargine, sodium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and from 0-5 to 0-7% of Allentoin. Iron and a little starch.
ALLANTOIN, (C-4, H-6, N-4, 0-3), is a most remarkable substance found plentifully in the urine of pregnant women and animals, also in the urine of newly born babies. It has been found in the germ of wheat, in French peas and several other legumes. Allantoin is undoubtedly a cell proliferant, having something to do with genesis of cells, and it seems to act on both animal and vegetable cells. It has been injected into hyacinth bulbs and caused them to flower more rapidly.
PROPERTIES: Demulcent, nutrient, astringent, vulnerary, expectorant, haemostatic.
The reputation of comfrey as a vulnerary, from ancient times right up to the present is unique, and it will be worth our while to spend a few minutes glancing at its history and folklore.
In an old book written by the English Herbalist, Baker (1567), occurs the following short reference to comfrey: “The water of the greater comfrie druncke helpeth such as are bursten and that have broken the bone of the legge.”
The world famous English Herbalist, Culpepper of the Middle Ages says, “The great comfrey root boiled in water or wine and the decoction drank, heals inward hurts, bruises, wounds, and ulcers of the lungs and causes the phlegm that oppresses him to be spit-forth. A syrup made thereof is very effectual in inward hurts and the distilled water for the same purpose also and for outward wounds or sores in the fleshy or sinewy parts of the body and to abate the fits of agues and to allay the sharpness of humours. A decoction of the leaves is good for those purposes, but not so effectual as the roots. The roots being outwardly applied, cure fresh wounds and cuts immediately, being bruised and laid thereto and is specially good for ruptures and broken bones. So powerful to consolidate and knit together that if they be boiled with dissevered pieces of flesh in a pot, it will join them together again. The roots of comfrey taken fresh, beaten small and spread upon leather and laid on any place troubled with the gout, presently gives ease, and applied in the same manner it eases pain in the joints and tends to heal running ulcers, gangrenes, mortifications for which it hath by often experience been found helpful.”
So, all through the Middle Ages and right up to the present, comfrey has been extolled for its great curative properties. Dr. MacAlister, an English chemist and scientist was quoted in the English Medical Journal, January 6th, 1912, as saying, “Allantoin (from comfrey root) in aqueous solution in strengths of 0.3%, has a powerful action in strengthening epithelial formations and is a valuable remedy not only in external ulceration, but also in ulcers of the stomach and duodenum.”
The discovery of allantoin in comfrey root and the investigation of its cell proliferating action has led to the belief that comfrey root owes its powerful healing virtues to allantoin. The Chemist and Druggist, of August 13th, 1921, published an interesting article on comfrey as follows:
“Allantoin is a fresh instance of the good judgments of our rustics, especially of old times, with regard to the virtues of plants. The great comfrey, or consound, though it was official with us down to the middle of the 18th Century, never had a prominent place in professional practice, but our Herbalists were loud in its praise and the Country Cullers of Simples held it almost infallible as an external and internal remedy for wounds, bruises and ulcers, for phlegm, for spitting of blood, ruptures, hemorrhoids, etc. — for ulcers of the stomach, and liver especially, the root was regarded as being of sovereign virtue. It is precisely for such complaints as these that allantoin obtained from the rhizome of the plant is now prescribed.”
The world famous English Herbalist, Henry Box, in his book says, “A question often asked–What is the best thing for spitting of blood from the lungs?”. “Comfrey root. I have never known it to fail. I am glad to learn that several private persons are distributing it among those suffering from bleeding of the lungs and stomach or the bursting of other blood vessels and they too state that it never fails.” Again he says, “My consumptive mother had a large cavity in her left lung. The hemorrhage was often alarming and there was no hope. I had the happiness of curing her with comfrey root and clowns woundwort, a strong decoction almost as thick as treacle was taken freely. It wrought a complete cure.”
The following short quotations are from the English Medical publication called “The Lancet” (1/99 910) “Symphytum Officinale”– The comfrey plant and root boiled, as a poultice for sarcomatous or cancerous tumors: One such cured, and in the same issue on page 939 –for haemoptysis and kidney disease with blood in the urine, as a decoction or syrup.
I have taken up this valuable time in order to firmly impress upon your mind some facts regarding this truly remarkable Herb, Comfrey. And now to its uses, formulas, methods of preparation and administration.”
- OrganizerJune 22, 2023 at 12:45 pm
Recommended by one of our members, a complete modern course on comfrey: https://www.wisewomanschool.com/p/the-comfrey-conference
- OrganizerJune 22, 2023 at 12:50 pm
Krystal in THG FB had this to share:
“Thanks to your experience, I tried this with my LGD after he had a muscle related injury and noticed quick improvements after beginning the tea on day 2 of his limp! He was happy to drink it up mixed with milk, also your advice! I made sure he had lots of good protein and lots of tea and he was able to begin bearing weight again within 36 hours of the tea!”
- OrganizerJuly 17, 2023 at 5:19 pm
One of the things I appreciate about building out this community is the ability to preserve the information we find intact, along with source info. I’m currently going through my computer files to gather up anything useful and am finding a serious lack of attention to sourcing in my previous data saving. This is another, a great little discourse on the topic of comfrey. I wish I knew the source, but don’t want to lose the info so will include it here.
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