HERB - Re: Comfrey toxicity

M&L Romanowski leanner at mich.com
Fri Jan 29 11:01:04 PST 1999

Carl/Anne Adamczyk wrote:

> In reply to the following, from Francis Brinker, N.D, as stated in "Herb
> Contraindications and Drug Interactions" -
> Comfrey:
> Contraindications:
> 1) Internal Use due to its hepatotoxic effects and carcinogenic activity
> of its pyrrolizidin alkaloids.
> 2) on broken skin to avoid excessive percutaneous absorption of toxic
> alkaloids.
> In plain English, Comfrey is known to cause liver damage and its
> chemicals are known to cause cancer when used either internally as in a
> tea or externally on the skin through absorption.  Sounds like reason
> enough to avoid comfrey.
> Grania

Hi!  This is essentially what my PDR for Herbal Medicines states. (What a
wonderful Twelth Night present.  Thanks Baroness Genevieve!)  However,  it does
seem to suggest that a topical application of less than 100 mcg of pyrrolizidine
alkaloids on unbroken skin for less than four weeks should be fairly safe.

I have only used comfrey leaf in some bath bags, never internally.  I realize
that 1 tablespoon in a full bath is a large dilution but I always seem to have
some scrape here or there not to mention contact with "mucous membranes".  Could
anyone suggest an alternative that is safer?  The recipe calls for raspberry
leaf, lavender, chamomile, lemon balm, calendula, and a few others.  I also have
a recipe that calls for lavender, epsom salts, and comfrey leaf.  Is there an
herb that is effective against achy muscles that I could use instead?  After all,
my goal is to have a nice, soothing bath, not to expose myself to toxins.

Thanks for your input!

Alana of Loch Mor
Leanne Romanowski

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