Cluster of vibrant, purple bell-shaped blossoms of comfrey with green leaves.
Herbs, Vitamins, & Supplements, Kid's Health

Comfrey: The Herb Everyone Needs for Bruises, Breaks, Stings, and Cuts

In this article:

Disclaimer: The following information has not been approved by the FDA. This information should not be interpreted as medical advice and is not a substitute for a visit with a medical care professional. Always speak to your doctor about any health concerns. 

“It does not seem to matter which part of the body is broken, either internally or externally; comfrey will heal it quickly. It is a great cell proliferant or new cell grower, it grows new flesh and bone alike, stops hemorrhages, and is wonderful for healing inflamed tissues in a most remarkable manner.” – Dr. Edward Shook

What makes comfrey such a powerful healer, from bumps and bruises to broken bones and strained muscles?

Comfrey has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for 2,000 years. In Japan, it’s known as an honored medicinal herb called “knitbone” because of its ability to treat muscle sprains, bruises, burns, and joint pain. And for hundreds of years, this herb has been a staple in the satchels and homes of European herbal healers, Native American healers, and Chinese medicine practitioners.

Its gentle, restorative powers have made it one of the most widely loved plants in the world. And once you learn what this beloved herb can do, we think you’ll love it too!

Benefits and Uses of Comfrey Salve

The healing power of comfrey comes from allantoin and rosmarinic acid. Allantoin boosts the growth of new skin cells, and rosmarinic acid soothes pain and inflammation. Combined, these two substances are enormously helpful in speeding up healing for all of normal household bumps, bruises, and cuts. It’s one of the best tools to keep in your home medicine cabinet — especially if you have kids!

How to Use Comfrey Salve


Comfrey can soothe the pain and discomfort of burns while encouraging new growth of skin cells to speed up the recovery process.

How to use comfrey on burns: Apply a thin layer of comfrey cream or comfrey salve evenly over the burned skin. For sunburn, cover the area with a lightweight garment. For burns, cover with a gauze pad. Apply 3-6 times per day until healed. *Do not use this on severe or third-degree burns. Contact a medical professional.

Wounds, Cuts, and Abrasions

One of the earmarks of childhood summer seems to be an almost innumerable amount of scrapes and cuts. Of course, it’s not only the kids who have a monopoly on injuries. Comfrey cream is one of the best go-to wound healing ointments around.

How to use comfrey on wounds, cuts, and abrasions: Apply the ointment or cream several times per day to speed up healing. *DO NOT use comfrey externally on new puncture wounds or deep cuts as the outer skin layers will be stimulated to close up and heal prior to the draining and regeneration of deeper tissues. Seek medical help.

Stings and Bites

Comfrey is the perfect antidote to soothe swollen insect stings and ease the itching of mosquito or spider bites. The rosmarinic acid will ease the swelling and quickly reduce the pain of insect encounters.

How to use comfrey on stings and bites: Apply the ointment or cream regularly throughout the day to ease discomfort and inflammation. *If you are having an allergic response to a bite or sting, seek medical attention immediately.


Been in an accident or have a painful bruise restricting your movement? Or perhaps you just want to get rid of some unsightly bruises before attending an event. Either way, comfrey ointment can help to speed up healing and relieve pain.

How to use comfrey on bruises: Apply several times per day, as needed, until the bruising goes away. You’ll be amazed at how quickly the bruising fades with regular application.

Muscle Strains and Pain

Comfrey is essential to include in the natural medicine cabinet of all athletes. This herb soothes and eases sore muscles post-workout and strained muscles and ligaments post-injury. It encourages the regeneration of damaged tissues and relieves inflammation and discomfort.

How to use comfrey on muscle strains and pain: Apply comfrey cream or ointment three to four times per day.

Sprains and Swelling

The allantoin and rosmarinic acid in comfrey are the perfect pair to heal sprained wrists and ankles. They help to ease pain and encourage quick healing by stimulating new cell growth.

How to use comfrey on sprains and swelling: If you are able, soak the injured area in a warm, strong infusion, or tea, of comfrey. Do this four times per day. Apply cream or ointment between soakings.

Broken or Fractured Bones

Comfrey won’t magically repair broken bones, but it can help to speed up healing and relieve some of the discomfort along the way. (If the broken bone is in a cast, you won’t be able to apply balm to the affected area.)

How to use comfrey on broken or fractured bones: For minor breaks or those cannot be put into a cast, comfrey cream will be a helpful aid. Apply twice daily to the area. For breaks that require a cast, apply the comfrey balm to the exposed areas on either side of the cast. The body will absorb the healing and pain-relieving properties of the comfrey, drawing it to the break. *Never put any substance inside your cast, including balms and oils.


Comfrey ointment can soothe rashes caused by allergies and viruses, and may even be used to help clear up stubborn diaper rashes.

How to use comfrey on rashes: Gently rub the affected area with comfrey cream, multiple times per day, until clear.

Arthritis and Joint Pain

Comfrey can be a helpful massage salve to ease the pain of arthritis and joint inflammation.

How to use comfrey on arthritis and joint pain: We suggest it is best paired with a CBD extract salve. CBD is a powerful balance inflammation and relieve pain, while comfrey is packed with the nutrients that encourage healing and cell regeneration.

*In all uses, comfrey should NOT be considered as a replacement for medical treatment in the event of a severe injury, allergic response, burn, etc. Always seek advice from your medical provider. Do not use during pregnancy or while nursing.

The Comfrey Controversy — Internal Use

In years past, comfrey was used to treat internal ailments as well as the external ones. It was relied on as a treatment for stomach problems, such as ulcers and diarrhea, and was even prescribed for heavy menstrual bleeding, bloody urine, persistent cough, and cancer.

But in the 1970s, comfrey’s history as a revered herbal medicine was challenged by reports that it contained pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs). The assertion was that these PAs could, over time, cause liver damage and possibly cancer. At the time, herbalists argued that the studies showing these concerning issues were from studies that had isolated the PAs in comfrey and then fed or injected them into animals in far larger doses than could possibly be taken internally.

The FDA has since made comfrey illegal for internal use but, recognizing its value externally, continues to allow its inclusion in external preparations. In the United States, comfrey is only sold in creams and ointments.

Where to Buy Comfrey in Madison, Wisconsin

Our Madison supplement stores carry comfrey cream, comfrey salve, and comfrey ointment. (All are essentially the same, except they each use a different carrier method.)

In our opinion, every natural medicine cabinet should include a form of comfrey!

If you have any questions about how to use comfrey to heal an injury, our Wellness Consultants at The Healthy Place are here to help you out. Contact us in our LiveChat, or stop by our stores. We’re here to help you Find Your Healthy Place!

Make Your Own DIY Comfrey Poultice

Want to try your hand at making your own herbal remedy? Here’s a recipe for a homemade comfrey poultice.

Comfrey Poultice Recipe

Pour 1 1/2 cups boiling water over one ounce of cut comfrey herb. Cover!

Let steep for 15-20 minutes.


Soak a natural fiber cloth in the liquid and lightly wring it out. You want it wet but not dripping. This should be used as warm as possible.

Apply the cloth to the injured area. Cover with plastic wrap and hold in place with an ace bandage. Keep in place until the cloth has dried.

This can be applied multiple times throughout the day.

Store the remaining herbal liquid in a tightly covered glass jar in the refrigerator. Can be stored for 24 hours. Warm before using.


Cech, Richo. Making Plant Medicine Medicine. Horizon Herbs, Williams, OR, 2000.

Christopher, Dr. John R. School of Natural Healing Herbal Reference Guide. Springville, UT: Christopher Publications, 1976.

Ellis, Sandra K. Livingston, M.H. Dr. Mom’s Healthy Living. Christopher Publications, Springville, UT, 2009.

Low Dog, Tieraona, M.D. Healthy at Home. National Geographic, Washington, D.C., 2014.

*Disclaimer: All information and recommendations given on this site, in email correspondence, newsletters or other materials provided by The Healthy Place is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice nor be viewed as a substitute for a face-to-face consultation with a healthcare provider. Consult a licensed healthcare practitioner before modifying, stopping, or starting the use of any medications, health programs, diets, and/or supplements, as well as regarding any health concerns you may have. Our statements and information have not been evaluated or approved by the Food and Drug Administration. As with any health-related program, product, or service, your risks and results may vary. We expressly disclaim responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or damage caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the information provided to you here.”

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