The comfrey plant has long been used by our ancestors as a topical remedy for pain, inflammation and wounds. Scientific research has shown some benefits of using comfrey for joint pains.
Comfrey Joint Cream Recipe
Step 1: Make the Tincture
- 1 ounce of dried comfrey root or 2 ounces of fresh comfrey root
- 1 pint of Vodka (at least 25% alcohol)
- Large glass jar
Instructions: In a large glass jar, combine the herb and vodka. Shake daily for two weeks, setting by the sun during the day. Strain all plant parts from the alcohol using a cheesecloth or coffee filter. The remaining alcohol is the tincture.
Step 2: Cream Ingredients
- 1/2 cup of jojoba oil
- 2 ounces of wheat germ oil
- 1/2 cup of minced shea butter
- 12 drops of eucalyptus essential oil
- 12 drops of ginger essential oil
- 1/4 cup of the comfrey tincture made in Step 1
Instructions: The next step is to mix all of the rest of the ingredients together with 1/4 cup of the tincture.
How to Use
Adults can apply 1/4 of a teaspoon onto affected area up to three times a day. Discontinue use if skin irritation occurs.
- Comfrey extract was anti-inflammatory in humans. From: Petersen, G., Lorkowski, G., Kasper, F. R., Gottwald, R., & Lücker, P. W. (1993). Anti-inflammatory activity of a pyrrolizidine alkaloid-free extract of roots of Symphytum officinale in humans. Planta Medica, 59(S 1), A703-A704.
- Symptoms of swelling, pain, and mobility of ankle distortions was improved with the topical application of a comfrey cream. From: Kučera, M., Barna, M., Horáček, O., Kováriková, J., & Kučera, A. (2004). Efficacy and safety of topically applied Symphytum herb extract cream in the treatment of ankle distortion: Results of a randomized controlled clinical double-blind study. WMW Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift, 154(21), 498-507.
- With ankle sprains, comfrey was safe and effective in reducing inflammation and pain. From: Koll, R., Buhr, M., Dieter, R., Pabst, H., Predel, H. G., Petrowicz, O., … & Staiger, C. (2004). Efficacy and tolerance of a comfrey root extract (Extr. Rad. Symphyti) in the treatment of ankle distorsions: results of a multicenter, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study. Phytomedicine, 11(6), 470-477.
- In a double blind study, a topical cream containing comfrey, tannic acid, and eucalyptus reduced pain and stiffness associated with osteoarthritis of the knee. From: Smith, D. B., & Jacobson, B. H. (2011). Effect of a blend of comfrey root extract (Symphytum officinale L.) and tannic acid creams in the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee: randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, multiclinical trials. Journal of chiropractic medicine, 10(3), 147-156.
- An ointment containing comfrey reduced lower back pain with exercise. From: Jurcău, R., & Jurcău, I. (2013). Influence of moderate physical exertion on subacute low back pain, after Symphytum officinale ointment treatment. Palestrica of the Third Millennium Civilization & Sport, 14(3).
- 1,8-cineole may be effective as an antiinﬂammatory and analgesic agent. From: Santos, F. A., & Rao, V. S. N. (2000). Antiinflammatory and antinociceptive effects of 1, 8-cineole a terpenoid oxide present in many plant essential oils. Phytotherapy research, 14(4), 240-244.
- Eucalyptus extracts possessed analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities. From: Silva, J., Abebe, W., Sousa, S. M., Duarte, V. G., Machado, M. I. L., & Matos, F. J. A. (2003). Analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects of essential oils of Eucalyptus. Journal of ethnopharmacology, 89(2), 277-283.
By: Kathy Sadowski, MS in Aromatherapy, RA, LMT, RYT