Comfrey Root Vs. Comfrey Leaves

Overview

Comfrey, one of the queens of herbal skin care and holistic healing, contains powerful therapeutic properties in both its leaves and root. To some extent the two can be used interchangeably, but some differences do exist.

Similarities

Both the fresh and dried leaves, and the fresh and dried root, star in countless folk remedies for skin problems, including wounds, bruises, burns, dermatitis and general irritation.

Root Properties

Comfrey root contains significant traces of allantoin, which helps regenerate skin cells. The root is also rich in skin-soothing mucilage. Comfrey root tea can be taken for coughs and stomach upset.

Leaf Properties

Like comfrey root, comfrey leaves contain allantoin and mucilage, though not as much mucilage as the root. Minerals and chlorophyll lacking in the root can be found in the leaves.

Old-Fashioned Remedy

For the more patient potion makers, herbalist Lesley Bremness suggests stuffing a dark jar with a 1-inch-square size of dried comfrey leaves, and storing them for two years. At the end of that period, the resulting oil-like liquid can be put into a small container and used for eczema and other skin conditions.

Culinary

While opinions vary on the advisability of consuming comfrey, folk recipes call for using the younger leaves in salads, or for cooking the leaves and stems like spinach. Few recipes for the root exist, other than as an medicinal tea.

References

  • The Complete Book of Herbs; Lesley Bremness; 1988
  • Earthly Bodies & Heavenly Hair; Dina Falconi; 1998
  • A Modern Herbal: Comfrey
Keywords: comfrey leaves, comfrey root, comfrey skin care, comfrey holistic, herbal skin care

About this Author

Melissa Jordan-Reilly has been a writer for 20 years, both as a newspaper reporter and as an editor of nonprofit newsletters. Among the publications in which she has published are, "The Winsted Journal," "Taconic" and "Compass Magazine." A graduate of the University of Connecticut, Jordan-Reilly also pursues sustainable agriculture techniques and tends a market garden at her Northwestern Connecticut home.