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How to Use Natural Comfrey Plant to Heal Bones and Sports Injuries Faster (Video)

Susanna Sisson's picture
Caucasian comfrey in bloom

People who are very active tend to eventually get injuries and if you’re a parent you dread the days your children get hurt, but did you know there’s a natural plant called comfrey that helps heal bones and sports injuries faster?


You may not have heard of comfrey but long before there were available care clinics and doctor’s offices on every corner the American Indians and pioneers used this natural plant to heal broken bones, sprains, and soft tissue injuries. In fact, cultivation of the plant dates back to around 400 B.C. when Greeks and Romans used comfrey to stop heavy bleeding, treat bronchial problems and heal broken bones. The more common name for the comfrey plant because of its ability to heal bones is knit-bone and it actually has a Latin derivative meaning “grow together”.

Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) has been studied for its medicinal power. To use externally the plant can be dried into a powder then water is added until it makes a thick gel-like paste and applied immediately for the most benefit. The comfrey “cast” dried to a leather-like consistency which will mold to the affected body part. It can them be wrapped with cloth to keep the “cast” from falling off. For broken bones a splint would also need to be applied. Note I am not recommending treating broken bones at home in lieu of seeking the help of a medical professional but as an adjunct.

I have personally used comfrey when on camping and kayaking trips when medical help was not readily available and as a nurse and massage therapist, believe the plant has a place in alternative therapies.

Twenty years ago I was in the process of adding massage therapy to my list of credentials. My instructor, Wendy, was very knowledgeable in plant based medicine and often foraged the Ozark forests for her plants. She was also a black belt martial artist and runner. During massage class she told a story of going for a long run cross country from her mountain home and falling into a ravine near a road construction site, breaking her leg in two places. The area she chose was extremely remote and being a Sunday there would be no one around for at least 24 hours, so, injured and without a way to call for help since this was the pre-cell phone era, she crawled back to her house. She also didn’t believe in landlines so she had no way to call for medical or family help. Instead she applied a comfrey cast and iced her leg. The next day her mother stopped by and took her into town to see an orthopedic doctor who was a friend and massage client. After he did an x-ray he exclaimed, “Wendy, I have no idea how you stood the pain. Your leg should be bruised from you ankle to waist. I am amazed!” It was then she explained she had crawled almost a mile home, and administered first aid on herself using a comfrey poultice and ice until help arrived. This may sound a bit a bit far-fetched except she was the female version of Rambo and I happen to also know her doctor and parents so I heard the story from them as well.

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Medical studies show comfrey to have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and that the plant is beneficial in wound and burn healing. The Amish often use comfrey to treat burns.

A Pubmed review of comfrey concluded that the plant is beneficial in ankle distortion, back pain, abrasion wounds and osteoarthritis.

Another study revealed comfrey works surprisingly well in the treatment of pressure ulcers while a 2010 study in Brasil found comfrey enhances bone formation. Comfrey has also been found to induce apoptosis or cell death in human prostate cancer cells.

Comfrey can be used in veterinary medicine to treat parasites and heal bones and sprains. In fact I know people who raise horses and regularly used comfrey for lame horses. This amazing plant can also be used in agriculture as a fertilizer.

Comfrey can be grown and is best planted in April but in warmer areas like California and Hawaii can be grown year round. I must warn however, that unless you are an experience herbalist and know how to definitively identify the comfrey plant you should only purchase the plant or products from a trusted supplier like Kauai Farmacy in Hawaii.