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Medications and Drugs

Brand Names:

Generic Name: comfrey (Pronunciation: COM free)

What is comfrey ()?

The use of comfrey in cultural and traditional settings may differ from concepts accepted by current Western medicine. When considering the use of herbal supplements, consultation with a primary health care professional is advisable. Additionally, consultation with a practitioner trained in the uses of herbal/health supplements may be beneficial, and coordination of treatment among all health care providers involved may be advantageous.

Comfrey is also known as Symphytum officinale, Russian comfrey, knitbone, knitback, bruisewort, blackwort, black root, slippery root, boneset, consound, gum plant, healing herb, salsify, and wallwort.

Comfrey has been used externally for bruises, sprains, burns, and swelling and as a mouthwash and gargle for gum disease and sore throats. Comfrey has also been used internally for stomach upset, stomach ulcers, hemorrhoids, and diarrhea.

Since the use of comfrey has been associated with serious liver damage, ingestion of comfrey is not recommended. The FDA has issued a warning to consumers that the use of comfrey may present a serious health hazard. Also, the topical application of comfrey preparations to broken skin should be avoided.

Comfrey has not been evaluated by the FDA for safety, effectiveness, or purity. All potential risks and/or advantages of comfrey may not be known. Additionally, there are no regulated manufacturing standards in place for these compounds. There have been instances where herbal/health supplements have been sold which were contaminated with toxic metals or other drugs. Herbal/health supplements should be purchased from a reliable source to minimize the risk of contamination.

Comfrey may also have uses other than those listed in this product guide.

What are the possible side effects of comfrey ()?

Although rare, allergic reactions to comfrey may occur. Stop using comfrey and seek emergency medical attention if you experience symptoms of a serious allergic reaction including difficulty breathing; closing of your throat; swelling of your lips, tongue, or face; or hives.

Comfrey has been associated with cases of severe liver damage. Notify your doctor immediately if you develop nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, unusual fatigue, loss of appetite, yellow skin or eyes, itching, dark urine, or clay colored stools. These symptoms may be early signs of liver damage.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What is the most important information I should know about comfrey ()?

Since the use of comfrey has been associated with serious liver damage, ingestion of comfrey is not recommended. The FDA has issued a warning to consumers that the use of comfrey may present a serious health hazard. Also, the topical application of comfrey preparations to broken skin should be avoided.

Comfrey has been associated with cases of severe liver damage. Notify your doctor immediately if you develop nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, unusual fatigue, loss of appetite, yellow skin or eyes, itching, dark urine, or clay colored stools. These symptoms may be early signs of liver damage.

Comfrey has not been evaluated by the FDA for safety, effectiveness, or purity. All potential risks and/or advantages of comfrey may not be known. Additionally, there are no regulated manufacturing standards in place for these compounds. There have been instances where herbal/health supplements have been sold which were contaminated with toxic metals or other drugs. Herbal/health supplements should be purchased from a reliable source to minimize the risk of contamination.



Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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