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Symphytum queries

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  • annestobart
    Dear All, as a practising medical herbalist and a member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists, the reason for queries about Symphytum spp. is that
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 11, 2004
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      Dear All, as a practising medical herbalist and a member of the
      National Institute of Medical Herbalists, the reason for queries
      about Symphytum spp. is that there are pyrrolizidine alkaloids in the
      plant which are toxic to the liver. The content of these alkaloids is
      insignificant in the leaf but greater in the roots. Although there is
      little evidence traditionally of toxicity, as a result of the
      knowledge of these alkaloids herbalists have been advised to no
      longer use the root of Comfrey (Symphytum officinalis) internally in
      any form - only externally in ointments etc. The leaf is still used
      both internally and externally. Comfrey is very mucilaginous but the
      wound healing affects are also attributed to its content of allantoin
      which is well absorbed through the skin and promotes new tissue
      growth - this might lead to more demand for oxygen and other
      nutrients so that might account for additional blood flow but there
      could be other factors involved.

      Anne Stobart, MNIMH
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