What is Comfrey Tea?

Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

Many different herbal teas are available for soothing various health complaints. Comfrey tea, made from the perennial herb comfrey, is one choice of such tea. Comfrey tea benefits range from the healing of bones to cut healing.

Comfrey tea can be used as an acne treatment.
Comfrey tea can be used as an acne treatment.

Traditional medicine practitioners consider comfrey tea to be beneficial in treating a number of ailments. Lesion, bone, and wound healing are just some of the conditions the tea may be useful in treating. The liquid can serve as an effective acne treatment. Sore throats, the common cold, and bronchitis may be treated with comfrey tea.

Comfrey tea can be used to treat bruises.
Comfrey tea can be used to treat bruises.

Sprains and common bruises can be healed by using comfrey tea. It may be beneficial in treating gastric ulcers, arthritis, and burns as well. Most benefits of the tea can be reaped through external application. Used since ancient times, comfrey tea was once lauded as one of the best remedies available for multiple illnesses and ailments. When used, the comfrey root was typically soaked in wine or boiling water to create a compress.

Comfrey tea is purported to help broken bones heal more quickly.
Comfrey tea is purported to help broken bones heal more quickly.

Several active ingredients are present within the genes of the comfrey plant. These include tannis, mucilage, carotene, saponins, and beta-sistosterol. A main ingredient, allantoin, helps advance the production and growth of cells in general.

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not consume comfrey tea.
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not consume comfrey tea.

Physicians do warn, however, that comfrey can be toxic to the liver. For this reason, it is usually not prescribed as an internal remedy. The presence of pyrrolizidine alkaloids, or PA, cause this toxicity. Research on a possible connection with cancer has also been conducted on the herb.

Though most people who use comfrey tea have done so without side effects, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding and children should not use the herb without a doctor's supervision. Despite being called a tea, most medical practitioners recommend that the herb be used externally only. This may be in the form of a poultice, ointment, or salve. Comfrey tea should not be applied to broken skin. If skin is broken, the treatment should only be applied around the affected area.

Native to Europe, comfrey is also known as symphytum officinale. Black comfrey herb roots resemble turnip plants. The herb's leaves, which contain most of the plant's healing elements, are broad, large, and hairy, while its bell-shaped flowers are small. The flowers can be pink, white, cream, or purple. The plant grows best in grassy, moist areas, and can be found in ditches and riverbanks throughout the United Kingdom.

The tea has also been implemented in gardens as an organic fertilizer. This is due to its large amounts of vegetable protein, nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. Some gardeners and farmers grow it for this purpose. They also may grow it to feed livestock.

Comfrey tea can be helpful in treating gastric ulcers.
Comfrey tea can be helpful in treating gastric ulcers.
Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

A graduate of Southeast Missouri State University, Sara has a Master’s Degree in English, which she puts to use writing for wiseGEEK and several magazines, websites, and nonprofit organizations. She has published her own novella, and has other literary projects currently in progress. Sara’s varied interests have also led her to teach children in Spain, tutor college students, run CPR and first aid classes, and organize student retreats.

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