Comfrey

(rINNM)

💊 Chemical information

Boneset; Comfrey Root; Consolidae Radix; Consuelda; Symphytum.

Pharmacopoeias.

Br. includes Symphytum Officinale Root for Homoeopathic Preparations and Symphytum Officinale Root, Ethanol. decoctum for Homoeopathic Preparations.

BP 2008 (Symphytum Officinale Root for Homoeopathic Preparations). The fresh root of Symphytum officinale.

BP 2008 (Symphytum Officinale Root, Ethanol. decoctum for Homoeopathic Preparations). The fresh root of Symphytum officinale.

💊 Profile

Comfrey consists of the dried root and rhizome of Symphytum officinale (Boraginaceae); the leaf has also been used. It contains about 0.7% of allantoin, large quantities of mucilage, and some tannin. It may also contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids. Comfrey was formerly used as an application to wounds and ulcers to stimulate healing and was also given systemically for gastric ulceration. It has been applied topically in the treatment of inflammatory disorders. The healing action of comfrey has been attributed to the presence of allantoin. There are reports of hepatotoxicity attributed to pyrrolizidine alkaloids present in comfrey preparations and such preparations have been withdrawn or banned in a number of countries.

Homoeopathy.

Comfrey has been used in homoeopathic medicines under the following names: Symphytum officinale; Symph. of.
1. Stickel F, Seitz HK. The efficacy and safety of comfrey. Public Health Nutr 2000; 3: 501–8
2. Grube B, et al. Efficacy of a comfrey root (Symphyti offic. radix) extract ointment in the treatment of patients with painful osteoarthritis of the knee: results of a double-blind, randomised, bicenter, placebo-controlled trial. Phytomedicine 2007; 14: 2–10
3. D’Anchise R, et al. Comfrey extract ointment in comparison to diclofenac gel in the treatment of acute unilateral ankle sprains (distortions). Arzneimittelforschung 2007; 57: 712–16.

Adverse effects.

Toxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids have been isolated from several species of comfrey plants including common comfrey (Symphytum officinale), prickly comfrey (S. asperum), and Russian comfrey (S. uplandicum). Ingestion of plants containing pyrrolizidine alkaloids is a common cause of hepatic veno-occlusive disease in developing countries1 and pyrrolizidine alkaloid hepatotoxicity presumably due to comfrey has been reported in North America and Europe.1,2 Pulmonary endothelial hyperplasia and carcinogenic activity have also been reported in animals.1,2
1. Ridker PM, McDermott WV. Comfrey herb tea and hepatic veno-occlusive disease. Lancet 1989; i: 657–8
2. Bach N, et al. Comfrey herb tea-induced hepatic veno-occlusive disease. Am J Med 1989; 87: 97–9.

💊 Preparations

Proprietary Preparations

Austria: Traumaplant; Cz.: Tr aumaplant; Ger.: Kytta-Plasma f; Kytta-Salbe f; Traumaplant; Indon.: Mediflor; Switz.: Kytta Pommade; UK: Comfrelieve; Venez.: Traumaplant. Multi-ingredient: Cz.: Dr Theiss Beinwell Salbe†; Stomatosan†; Ger.: Kytta-Balsam f; Rhus-Rheuma-Gel N; Syviman N†; Israel: Comfrey Plus; Switz.: Gel a la consoude; Keppur; Kytta Baume; Kytta Gel†.
Published May 04, 2019.