1.17.2007

Comfrey and arthritis

Comfrey (Symphytum officinalis) usually ranks high on my list of topical applications to stimulate regeneration of skin and tissue after an injury. Its preparations (root or leaf) are soothing, and their allantoin content helps new skin cells proliferate. Historically, Comfrey preaparations have been used for a whole variety of other purposes, many of which relate to its usefulness as a regenerator of mucous membranes when taken internally. Of course, blessed pyrrolizidine alkaloids, we just can't use Comfrey internally anymore (in fact, we should probably ban it) - that is, if we enjoy letting the government tell us what to do. But I digress.
Though still a historical use, recent investigations have uncovered a pronounced therapeutic effect for Comfrey in folks with arthritis pain (osteoarthritis - degradation and subsequent inflammation in the joints). Some details:
  • a strong oil-based root salve, Kytta-salbe, made in Germany and produced by Merck
  • over 200 people with long-standing (over 6 years) osteoarthritis of the knee
  • 3 week double-blind, placebo-controlled trial
  • over 50% reduction in severity of symptoms
  • increased mobility
Pretty good! Perhaps more curative than just analgesic?

3 comments:

Katherine said...

I've made some comfrey salve, but it seems too hard. Would putting vitamin E in it help?

Katherine said...

I've made some comfrey salve, but it seems too hard. Would putting vitamin E in it help?

guido said...

Generally, to make it softer just use more oil and/or less beeswax. Vit E addition would soften it, but it's an expensive way to go!
The usual ratio is 10 fluid ounces of oil for every 1 oz by weight of beeswax (or vice versa).