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
This categorized compilation of research articles does not necessarily imply that there are adequate results to demonstrate safe and/or effective human use. These statements are not meant to diagnose, treat, or cure any diseases. The information at this page has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Consult a Doctor before using herbs and essential oils if you have medical conditions, are taking medications, or have questions.