There are many health benefits of comfrey, a healing herb native to northern Europe. The plant can heal wounds and broken bones and has long been used in traditional medical systems for centuries. Several species of the genus Symphytum fall under this general name, including common comfrey, Russian comfrey, and prickly comfrey. The plant is most often used topically, but oral supplements can be found, though the FDA has warned about the potential dangers of ingesting the herb.
Even though comfrey is a useful herb, it contains poisonous compounds called pyrrolizidine alkaloids that can harm the liver if ingested or even absorbed through the skin in unsafe quantities. Some species of comfrey have more pyrrolizidine alkaloids than others, and even if the label states the product is pure common comfrey, it may be made with other, more poisonous varieties.
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