From sprains, strains, and sports injuries to broken bones, joint pain, bruises and wounds, comfrey is ages old in treating and healing these traumas of the body. For millennia, peoples and cultures around the world have utilized comfrey as food, medicine, and spiritual healing. These days, with the comeback of natural and holistic healing, using herbal remedies in the household and by herbalists is becoming more and more favored over modern pharmaceuticals. And comfrey is no exception.
What is Comfrey?
Comfrey is a perennial herb, belonging to the family Boraginaceae—this family also includes borage. It’s a hardy plant, growing to about 3 feet high, and very thick. So thick, in fact, that its roots can grow deep down, as far as 12 feet, into the ground, with nothing being able to grow underneath of it. Dark green leaves taper much like a lance or spade, and are hairy and bristly to the touch. Comfrey’s flowers are beautiful bell-shaped blossoms, showing colors of white, blue, pink, and purple.
The word itself—comfrey–can tell us a lot about this plant: The word comfrey originates from the Latin word conferta, which means “to unite”. When looked at in this light, it is easy to see why this perennial herb got its name. It mends or stitches broken bones back together–‘uniting’ them once again in new health. The official botanical name for comfrey is Symphytum officinale. Some common names that also impart comfrey’s healing powers include: knitback, bruisewort, knitbone, and boneset.
Believed to have started its origins in Asia (China, Russia, and eastern Europe), comfrey’s roots enabled this herb to spread easily and rapidly—then moving throughout the whole of Europe and Asia. This herb seems to favor more temperate areas, sometimes found growing wild near lazy streams.
Comfrey’s Special Traits
What makes this herb such a special one? For one thing, it is a quick healer, and offers pain relief, slowing of further damage to tissues, speeds up the production of cartilage, tendons and muscles, and efficiently rebuilds damaged bone, blood, and flesh.
Comfrey holds a powerful healing ingredient within its stalks, leaves, roots, and flowers: allantoin. This chemical is what makes comfrey such a useful healer. It promotes rapid cell growth which in turn also promotes wounds to heal faster. White blood cell production is also enhanced, making it easier for the body to ward off further infections.
Comfrey also holds a multitude of healing vitamins. Nice healthy doses of Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, C, and E are found within comfrey’s healing properties. Essential minerals can also be found and utilized from comfrey: calcium, phosphorus, potassium, chromium, cobalt, copper, magnesium, iron, manganese, sodium, boron, lead, sulphur, molybdenum, and zinc.
As we can see, this herb should be among the favorites for healing and supplementing the healing process of trauma to the skin, bones, muscles, and other tissues.
So What is Trauma Comfrey?
Put simply, this type of comfrey is a very special one: grown in a very special place located in the foothills of the Bavarian Alps. Belonging to the Benedictine Monastery, this garden grows only organic and naturally cared-for comfrey. No pesticides, fertilizers, or herbicides ever touch these precious plants, and even though there can be found more than three dozen varieties of comfrey, this garden boasts a type of comfrey that holds high levels of its major healing constituents:
Allantoin-stimulates rebuilding of cells, regenerates damaged tissue quickly, and can literally ‘travel’ throughout the skin all the way to tendons, cartilage, and bone.
Choline- an essential nutrient that actually ‘kick-starts’ the healing and recovery process; helps injured blood vessels (especially useful when treating bad bruises) and nerve endings, and improves the circulation of healing blood through inflamed tissues.
Rosmarinic acid- fights inflammation, acts as a ‘stopper’ to fluid discharge resulting from injury, slows down damage of cells.
Healing with this specific variety of comfrey can pretty much guarantee positive healing results: mending of broken bones much quicker, fading of atrocious bruises much faster, and a boost of nutrients vital to healing physical trauma to the body.
Why is Trauma Comfrey Safer & Easier to Use Than Traditional Varieties?
The reason this unique variety is used above all others, is mainly because it is free of a constituent that is found throughout the other varieties grown wild, in nurseries, and for landscaping purposes. This constituent is called pyrrolizidine alkaloids, or PA’s for short, and can actually cause liver disease and tumors in the liver, when used in high quantities over long periods of time. Because of this, comfrey was banned in products designed for internal use and use on open wounds throughout many countries, United States, Canada, and Germany to name a few. External use of these comfreys, though, has not been banned, as these PA’s are not absorbed into the skin. Trauma comfrey is grown, harvested, and processed into a potent extract, using the leaves, flowers, and stems, and is meticulously checked and double-checked, to ensure that it is free of these PA’s, and thus completely safe to use.
How To Use/Apply Trauma Comfrey:
Trauma Comfrey is a registered product from the Bavarian comfrey gardens (namely called TraumaPlant), and is processed within hours of harvest. Double-checked for untraceable amounts of harmful PA’s, the extract is processed into an easy-to-apply cream. This cream can be purchased from many sources online and in your local health food store (just be sure to check with your store clerks to ensure they carry the Traumaplant product).
The simplicity is in the application: for your bodily injuries, wounds, broken bones, etc. just apply directly to the malady. That’s it!
For ongoing use, consult a physician or your local certified herbalist/herbal practitioner, just to be sure there will be no adverse effects of using Traumaplant. However, this product was specifically designed to be completely safe for medicinal and healing uses, and therefore, will be a very beneficial medicine to include in your home first aid kit.
More Valuable Healing Properties of Comfrey:
Antibacterial- kills/slows growth of unfriendly bacteria
Anti-exudative- acts as a ‘stopper’ to fluid leakage due to damaged tissues and cells
Antifungal- fights fungus such as yeast, mold, and rot
Anti-inflammatory- can prevent/reduce inflammation in cells
Anodyne- acts as a pain reliever
Antiseptic- kills/retards growth of infectious microorganisms
Astringent- restricts blood flow by drawing tissue together
Alterative- gets the body back to healthy function
Demulcent- comforts pains in inflamed tissues, particularly in mucous membranes
Emollient- skin softener
Expectorant- helps expel phlegm and mucus within respiratory system
Homeostatic- stress balancer, internally and externally within the body
Pectoral- relieves chest and respiratory disorders (i.e., colds, coughs, fluid buildup, pneumonia, etc.)
Styptic- contracts blood vessels and stops bleeding
Tonic- stimulates and renews health
Vulnerary- heals fresh wounds (scrapes, cuts, burns, bites, etc.)
Further reading about Trauma Comfrey:
-The Healing Power of Trauma Comfrey by Holly Lucille, ND, RN
-Lucille, Holly (ND, RN). The Healing Power of Comfrey. 2013
-Staiger, Christiane. Comfrey: A Clinical Overview. February 23, 2012. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3491633