Symphytum officinale is a perennialflowering plant of the genus Symphytum in the family Boraginaceae. Along with thirty four other species of Symphytum, it is known as comfrey. To differentiate it from other members of the genus Symphytum, this species is known as common comfrey or true comfrey. Other English names include Quaker comfrey, cultivated comfrey,boneset, knitbone, consound, and slippery-root. It is native to Europe and it is known elsewhere, including North America, as an introduced species and sometimes a weed. The flowers are mostly visited by bumblebees.
Symphytum officinale roots have been used in the traditional Balkan medicine internally (as tea or tincture) or externally (as ointment, compresses,or alcoholic digestion) for treatment of disorders of the locomotor system and gastrointestinal tract. The leaves and stems have also been used for the treatment of the same disorders, and additionally also for treatment of rheumatism and gout.
Comfrey has been used in folk medicine as a poultice for treating burns and wounds. However, internal consumption, such as in the form of herbal tea, is discouraged, as it has been highly debated about whether it can cause serious liver damage.
^Oberlies, Nicholas H; Kim, Nam-Cheol; Brine, Dolores R; Collins, Bradley J; Handy, Robert W; Sparacino, Charles M; Wani, Mansukh C; Wall, Monroe E (2007). "Analysis of herbal teas made from the leaves of comfrey (Symphytum officinale): Reduction of N-oxides results in order of magnitude increases in the measurable concentration of pyrrolizidine alkaloids". Public Health Nutrition7 (7): 919–24. doi:10.1079/phn2004624. PMID15482618.