The health news is full of the benefits of an active lifestyle. We know we need to move it or lose it, but that moving can often come at a price. Sprained ankles from jogging, an aching back from weeding the garden, knees that don't enjoy that family trip to the zoo. Before you reach for the Advil, look to one of Mother's Nature's remedies - Comfrey.
Comfrey, a flowering plant with turnip like roots, has been used for over 2000 years for muscle and joint aches. Lotions containing comfrey (pronounced come-free) are made either from the root of the plant, or the stems and leaves, depending on the manufacturer.Recent scientific studies suggest comfrey is effective for back pain, ankle sprains and knee osteoarthritis. One study even found it hastened healing of abrasions.
Comfrey contains chemical substances called allantoin and rosmarinic acid. Allantoin boosts the growth of new skin cells, while rosmarinic acid helps relieve pain and inflammation. Extracts are made from the roots and leaves and are then turned into ointments, creams, or salves. These solutions typically have from 5-20 percent of comfrey in them.
In the past, Comfrey leaves and roots have been ground up and used in teas, but this practice is not safe and you should never take Comfrey orally. Topical applications such as Traumaplant Comfrey Cream on the other hand are safe for external use.
“It seems to me to be particularly beneficial for knee osteoarthritis,” says Dwain M. Daniel, an associate professor of clinical sciences at Texas Chiropractic College in Pasadena, Texas. The evidence for comfrey appears good, particularly for knee pain and sprained ankles, he says.
Harras Pharma Curarina Arzneimittel GmbH has funded studies showing a wide range of benefits for its Traumaplant cream. Traumaplant is made from stems and leaves of comfrey grown in a monastery garden in Germany, according to Robert Rebitzer, Harras’ export manager. Comfrey appears to work by relieving inflammation and swelling, says Mathias Schmidt, a pharmacist by training who works as scientific consultant to Harras.
There haven’t been any major side effects from comfrey lotion reported in clinical trials, and while more studies are needed, the trial results show Comfrey relieves arthritis pain.
So the next time that trick knee acts up or your aching back makes it hard to get through the day, reach for a tube of Traumaplant Comfrey Cream and let Comfrey comfort those aches and pains.