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Comfrey (Symphytum) the bone healer

This amazing plant is originally native to Europe but it’s commonly found naturalized in North America and Asia. The name "comfrey" means to knit together. Comfrey was once commonly called Knitbone, boneset, woundwort or bruisewort because of its amazing ability to heal broken bones and “knit” them back together again. Its Latin name, which we homeopaths are very familiar with, is Symphytum officinale, means, "to grow together."

As a herb Comfrey is excellent for bruises. I’ve seen terrible blue-black colored bruises fade to a pale yellow after one night with a comfrey compress. The plant is also excellent to use topically on sprains, pulled muscles, swellings and fractures. It is a wonderful first aid herb to have on hand in case you or someone you know twists their ankle.


But comfrey must be used with caution and respect. It is such an excellent and speedy wound-healing remedy that it should not be used on deep wounds or lacerations. It could potentially heal the top layer of skin before the bottom layer, resulting in an abscess. Comfrey is safe for most people when applied to unbroken skin in small amounts for less than 10 days.

Skilled physicians have prescribed drinking comfrey tea for indigestion, diarrhea, constipation, and for stomach and intestinal ulcers. It helps expel mucous from the respiratory system that could be causing bronchial inflammation, pharyngitis or tonsillitis. It is said to calm spasms in the respiratory system, thus easing asthma attacks.

Personally, I stay away from internal applications because the plant alkaloids that can be harmful to the liver in high doses. These alkaloids can do damage — especially to people who already have a compromised liver. Comfrey is contraindicated internally and externally if you are pregnant or breast-feeding as its alkaloids might cause birth defects.


One of the easiest and most effective ways to apply Comfrey is with a compress. Steep 2 tablespoons of the dried herb in a cup of hot water. Strain after 10 minutes. Soak a clean piece of fabric in the tea and squeeze out the excess liquid. Place the soaked cloth on the affected area and let it sit for at least 10 minutes.

  • Comfrey tea is used to get rid of scars

  • Apply comfrey tea directly to burns or scalds yourself – it speeds up the recovery of damaged tissue by stimulating skin cell renewal.

  • Comfrey soothes rashes and insect bites, reducing the urge to scratch the itch. It is astringent, helping to compress blood vessels and pores on the skin, and as a form of pain relief and coolant.

  • Comfrey tea is said to speed up the healing of broken bones. Place a warm comfrey compress over the injured area and allow it to be absorbed through the skin and promote the growth and replacement of cells in the fractured area.

  • Comfrey tea may also help with painful sprains, dislocations, and torn ligaments and cartilage.

  • Apply it over the swollen area to help bring it down, by reducing the underlying inflammation.

  • Comfrey tea may soothe and help treat hernias as it is said to soothe the pain, clear away the inflammation as it repairs the torn or damage tissue. A warm compress applied to the affected area may be helpful with intervertebral disc lesions, sciatica, tendinitis and other similar ailments.

  • It also helps to promote healthy blood circulation treating varicose veins.

  • When using this tea on your skin, you may start to notice that your skin feels smoother and healthier. Comfrey moisturizes and nourishes your skin and thus fights premature aging. Soak in a nice relaxing bath infused with this herb.

  • Comfrey helps to clear the skin of toxins helping to speed recovery from skin issues such as acne, boils, eczema and psoriasis.


Sensations common to Symphytum are pain as if the bone is broken; gnawing, jerking, pricking, sticking, digging, burning, stitching, and bruised pains. Below is a list of conditions that Symphytum can help with:

  • Injuries to bones, cartilage, tendons and periosteum. Symphytum helps with the non-union of fractures, with mending bones that are slow to heal, and where the wound has penetrated into the bones. It helps with pain remaining in the periosteum or lining of the bones after the wound has healed.

  • Injuries to the eyes. Symphytum helps with mechanical injuries to the eyes, such as blows from blunt objects. Examine Arnica and Ruta for this kind of injury as well. Think of Symphytum for injuries to the orbits of the eye.

  • Like Arnica, Symphytum helps with blows, falls and bruises, and even helps with the tendency to have such mishaps. The remedy can help with bruises to the tendons and bones.

  • Like Ruta, Symphytum helps with sprains, and injuries from straining of muscles, bones and tendons.

  • Symphytum should be thought of for fractures due to osteoporosis.

  • Symphytum can help with diseases of the bones, such as inflammation of the bones, inflammation of the inferior maxillary bone and cancer of the bones or sarcomas. It can also help with necrosis of the bone.


Head: Headache in occiput, in top of head, in forehead, changing places. Eyes: Pain in eyes after a knock or contusion of an opaque body. Ears: Cannot hear well, feels as if ears were stopped up. Inflamed ears. Nose: Pain comes down bone of nose, and sometimes down both sides of nose Face: Malignant tumour of right antrum. Inflammation of inferior maxillary bone, hard, red swelling. Stomach: Pains across epigastrium from one side to other, worse opposite spleen, in walking, when sitting worse about navel, griping pain.

Male Sexual Organs: Testicles become painful and tender and prevent walking. Backache from excessive sexual indulgence, with spermatorrhoea. Female Sexual Organs: Menses stopped, Leucorrhoea, Sore breasts.

Rodger Douglas is a homeopath based in Osaka. He graduated from The Hahnemann College of Heilkunst and Homeopathy in 2104. He specialized in skin problems, asthma and allergies.

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