Scientific name: Symphytum officinale

Common names: Blackwort, Bruisewort, Gum Plant, Healing Herb, Knitback, Nipbone, Knitbone, Slippery Root, Wallwort

Ayurvedic names:

Chinese names:

Bangladesh names:

Arabic names:   السنفيتون (as-sanfitoon)

Rain Forest names:

Family: Boraginaceae 

Approximate number of species known: 25

Common parts used: Leaf, root

Collection: Summer

Annual/Perennial: Perennial

Height: Up to 3-5 feet

Actions: Astringent, demulcent, emollient, expectorant, mucilaginous, nutritive, pectroal, static, tonic, vulnerary

Known Constituents:  Allantoin, alkaloids, mucilage (in the root upto 29%), tannin

Pyrrolizidine alkaloids

Lithospermic acid
Vitamins A. C and E

Constituents Explained:


It has broad, hairy leaves that have small flowers that are ususally white, pink or purple.  It is native to Europe, grows in the US. It grows in most soil, although it does best in moist soil and shade.

Traditional Use:

A powerful herb whose leaf can be externally applied to cuts, bruises, wounds and injuries that has subsequently banned herb in Australia and the US.  Its use externally to heal has been for almost every type of condition imaginable.

Internally it is used to sooth the mucous membranes in the lungs, and any sort of ulceration in the stomach, bowels or kidneys.1

It was banned in 1992 in Australia?  And 2001 by the FDA for internal use due to the belief that pyrrolizidine alkaloids caused hepatotoxicity.  This substance is also in Coltsfoot. Its also banned in Canada, the UK and Germany.

Clinical Studies:

The wound healing effects of the topically applied preparation Traumaplant® containing a concentrate (10% active ingredient) from the aerial parts of medicinal comfrey (Symphytum × uplandicum Nyman) were examined in a randomized, controlled, clinical double-blind study.

An otherwise identical low-dose preparation (1% active ingredient) was used as a control. The study population consisted of 108 children aged 3-12 years with fresh abrasions. A 50% healing rate was reached 0.9 days earlier with the higher than with the lower concentration cream. 

Physicians and children/parents both rated the efficacy of the 10% cream as significantly better than that of the control preparation. 

There were no reported adverse effects or problems with tolerability such as local skin irritations. The results justify application of the Symphytum herb extract cream in children with blunt traumata with or without abrasions.

Another study determined the effect of 2 concentrations of topical, comfrey-based botanical creams containing a blend of tannic acid and eucalyptus to a eucalyptus reference cream on pain, stiffness, and physical functioning in those with primary osteoarthritis of the knee.

Forty-three male and female subjects (45-83 years old) with diagnosed primary osteoarthritis of the knee who met the inclusion criteria were entered into the study. The subjects were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 treatment groups: 10% or 20% comfrey root extract (Symphytum officinale L.) or a placebo cream. 

Outcomes of pain, stiffness, and functioning were done on the Western Ontario and MacMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index. Participants applied the cream 3× a day for 6 weeks and were evaluated every 2 weeks during the treatment.

Repeated-measures analyses of variance yielded significant differences in all of the Western Ontario and MacMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index categories, confirming that the 10% and 20% comfrey-based creams were superior to the reference cream.

The active groups each had 2 participants who had temporary and minor adverse reactions of skin rash and itching, which were rapidly resolved by modifying applications.

Both active topical comfrey formulations were effective in relieving pain and stiffness and in improving physical functioning and were superior to placebo in those with primary osteoarthritis of the knee without serious adverse effects.


Barna M, Kucera A, Hladikova M, Kucera M. “Randomized Double-Blind Study: Wound-Healing Effects Of A Symphytum Herb Extract Cream In Children.” 2012 April

Smith DB, Jacobson BH. “Effects Of A Blend Of Comfrey Root Extract (Symphytum Officinale L.) And Tannic Acid Creams In The Treatment Of Osteoarthritis Of The Knee: Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Double-Blind, Multiclinical Trials.” 2011 September



Other names: knitbone, consound, knitback, bruisewort,  blackwort, boneset, slippery root, gum plant, consolida

Latin name: Symphytum officinale

Family: Boraginaceae

Common part used: root and leaves

Comfrey plant is originally from Europe and the temperate areas of Asia, it can be often found at the banks of rivers and in watery places in general.  The plant is extremely fond of moist soils. 

Comfrey is a perennial shrub. The roots of this plant iare fleshy, black from the outside and muddy whitish internally. Typically it is filled with juices. The plant has a thick stem, it is covered with hairs and grows up to one and a half meters high. The shape of the leaves depends on their location on the stem: upper leaves are broad with narrow ends, and the lower ones are relatively broad only at the base. The flowers are grouped into clusters and are blue, whitish or purplish in color. 

The plant is used medicinally for treating wounds, skin irritations, swollen areas, sores, cuts and scratches. It is also famous for reducing the inflamed zones caused by broken bones and sprains. A special ingredient of the roots and leaves, called allantoin, helps to keep the skin healthy, reduces the chances of infection and inflammation, and also stimulates the growth of new skin cells, which is extremely important while healing wounds. 

The comfrey based medicines make an excellent remedy for diarrhea and dysentery, known for its gentle and mild influence. 

It has been also employed for a long time as a treatment for lung troubles, whooping-cough and quinsy. For treating coughs it is preferable to use the roots rather then leaves. In general this plant is valued a lot when it comes to treating pulmonary issues, lungs bleeding and consumption.