What is comfrey?

What is comfrey ()? The use of comfrey in cultural and traditional settings may differ from concepts accepted by current Western medicine. When considering the use of herbal supplements, consultation with a primary health care professional is advisable. Additionally, consultation with a practitioner trained in the uses of herbal/health supplements may be beneficial, and coordination of treatment among all health care providers involved may be advantageous.Comfrey is also known as Symphytum officinale, Russian comfrey, knitbone, knitback, bruisewort, blackwort, black root, slippery root, boneset, consound, gum plant, healing herb, salsify, and wallwort.Comfrey has been used externally for bruises, sprains, burns, and swelling and as a mouthwash and gargle for gum disease and sore throats. Comfrey has also been used internally for stomach upset, stomach ulcers, hemorrhoids, and diarrhea.Since the use of comfrey has been associated with serious liver damage, ingestion of comfrey is not recommended. The FDA has issued a warning to consumers that the use of comfrey may present a serious health hazard. Also, the topical application of comfrey preparations to broken skin should be avoided.Comfrey has not been evaluated by the FDA for safety, effectiveness, or purity. All potential risks and/or advantages of comfrey may not be known. Additionally, there are no regulated manufacturing standards in place for these compounds. There have been instances where herbal/health supplements have been sold which were contaminated with toxic metals or other drugs. Herbal/health supplements should be purchased from a reliable source to minimize the risk of contamination.Comfrey may also have uses other than those listed in this product guide.