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Comfrey oil is extracted from comfrey (Symphytum officinale), a perennial herb of the Boraginaceae family with a black, turnip-like root and large, hairy broad leaves bearing small, bell-shaped flowers. The plant has found widespread use in folk and herbal medicine, acting as a healing agent Comfrey was used in its tea form to aid in treating stomach problems, as well as ulcers, heavy menstrual periods, diarrhea, bloody urine, persistent cough and even cancer and chest pain. But experts have raised the alarm on consuming it, as it contains toxic substances called pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs), which damage the liver and can lead to fatality
Comfrey, while considered an important herbal medicine, is controversial due to certain toxic components in it, which led to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to restrict the use of oral comfrey in dietary supplements.1 The dilemma is how to weigh the virtues of comfrey oil while considering the safety concerns that surround it.
It has exhibited the potential to treat skin concerns and pain when used topically. Learn about comfrey oil, its practical applications and potential contribution to skin healing and maintenance, as well as the FDA’s concerns about it.