Comfrey - leaf vs. root.

Botanical name: 

Newsgroups: alt.folklore.herbs
Subject: Re: Comfrey leaves?
From: (Jonathan Treasure)
Date: 27 May 1995 23:04:09 +0100

>I have a healthy crop of comfrey, courtesy of a friend, growing in my garden. The herb book I have says the beneficial part of the plant are the roots; I was wondering if the leaves have any properties as well.

You not only CAN use the leaves, but SHOULD do so. Comfrey ROOT has been implicated in the pyrrolizidine alkaloid link with occlusive liver disease. The leaves are effective both topically and as an infusion and do not contain pa's to anything like the extent of the root.

The jury is still out however, so err on the safe side and use herb for internal use, not the root. (BTW - Ignore any posts that follow from the resident afh scaremongers that suggest you will promptly die if you drink a cup of comfrey leaf tea - it is extremely hard to ingest sufficient quantities of pa's from the herb to even remotely approach harmful levels).

From: (Dan Brown)

> (BTW - Ignore any posts that follow from the resident afh scaremongers

If one promptly died from drinking comfrey leaf tea, there would be less controversy concerning its use. Warning the public that tobacco can cause cancer or that alcohol is a potential liver toxin does not make us scaremongers. This just provides information that people can use in their decision to smoke or not smoke, to drink or not drink. To inform the public that comfrey leaves contain pa's that are both carcinogens and liver toxins does not make us scaremongers, either. It just allows people to begin thinking about weighing the benefits of comfrey use against the risks.

From: (Jonathan Treasure)

>If one promptly died from drinking comfrey leaf tea, there would be less

Well Dan, the point is what is your agenda? You use the term US I notice?

Tobacco and alcohol consumption is perpetuated by international corporations with huge fiscal benefits to the governments involved etc etc The extent of the toxicity/carcinogenicity of tobacco/alcohol would otherwise have lead to withdrawl from public availability long ago.

Information about Comfrey leaf constituents presented as an equivalent to alcohol/tobacco masquerading under the freedom of informed choice ( as used by all trendy ultra conservatives) amounts to guilt by association - a standard tactic of what I call scaremongering.

It happens, there are plenty of people who post advice to this newsgroup about safety and toxicity of herbal medicines who know nothing about the subject other than reading a secondary source on the matter, or worse repeating hearsay. It transpires that many of these people believe they are correctly informing fellow readers, whilst a minority are reductionist pharmacists of one sort or another , explicitly opposed to phytotherapy as unscientific etc etc. whose agenda is to rubbish the use of herbal medicine one way or another.
By default both of these usually become scaremongering contributors.

As it happens, noone jumped onto the comfrey bandwagon, perhaps because of my advance warning, or perhaps I needn't have bothered. Your comments however simply constitute part of the problem of scaremongering, not part of the solution. Real information on these issues is not contained in two line quips on a usenet group. Read my notes in the FAQ for a starter. Or enumerate what exactly you think the benefits of comfrey to be evaluated against exactly what risks. I answered the original posters question - you are scaremongering.