Symphytum Officinale. Comfrey.
(A lot of plants in the Boraginaceae contain hepatotoxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids. Comfreys are among them. More info here: Livertoxic PAs --Henriette.)
Description: Natural Order, Boraginaceae. This is a somewhat coarse-looking plant, common in moist and grassy lands, sometimes cultivated in gardens. Root perennial, branched, fleshy, smooth, and nearly black without, almost white within, nearly an inch in diameter. Stems erect in the midst of a mass of large leaves, round, somewhat winged above by the decurrent leaves, branching, light-green, juicy, covered with long and moderately stiff hairs. Radical leaves oblong, wavy, rough-edged. Flowers axillary on the upper portion of the branches; calyx five-parted; corolla tubular, yellowish-white, occasionally purplish, spreading at the summit, with five awl-like scales in the throat; stamens five, on the corolla. Fruit of four seed-like nutlets, ovate, smooth, with a hollowed base. June.
Properties and Uses: The root of comfrey contains a large amount of mucilage, which makes the dried article dense and horny. When treated with water, or wine, it yields a moderate tonic power with this mucilage; and makes a mild remedy for recent and old coughs, sub-acute dysentery and diarrhea, simple forms of leucorrhea, spitting of blood, and other pulmonary affections. It is rarely used alone, but makes a good soothing addition to more tonic agents; and has much merit, when used in the fresh state, as an application to bruises, and irritable ulcers. Two ounces boiled in a pint of water, and then a gill of wine added, may be taken in doses of a fluid ounce or more three times a day.
Pharmaceutical Preparations: I. Compound Wine. Boots of comfrey, convallaria, and aralia racemosa, each, one ounce; cocculus palmatus, (not frasera, as is generally used,) camomile, and gentiana ochroleuca, each, half an ounce. Crush, and macerate for twenty-four hours with sherry wine; transfer to a percolator, and add wine till two quarts (in all) have been used; then add water till two quarts of tincture have been obtained. This is a mild and valuable tonic for female difficulties, loss of appetite, nervousness, and insufficient menstruation. Dose, half a fluid ounce or more three times a day. This agent is an ingredient in the Compound Sirup of Aralia.
The Physiomedical Dispensatory, 1869, was written by William Cook, M.D.
It was scanned by Paul Bergner at http://medherb.com