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Comfrey Leaf safe to eat?  RSS feed

 
Jenelle Espen
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When I was a kid my dad grew comfrey leaves and we only used the leaves and put it in salads, but I read yesterday 7/12/2013 that it isn't good for you. Is that true? My dad lived to be 85 and never had arthritis and neither do I and I'm 63. The leaves were a little rough on one side and my mom chopped it up real fine and you didn't even know it was in the salad and we had salad every night but we were not vegetarians. I don't know where to buy it.
 
David Hartley
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Do to surrounding politics, I do not recommend its consumption to others. Though; when I juice veggies, I include fresh picked comfrey leaves


I have spent many hours researching comfrey and have yet to find any concrete evidence of danger; except MAYBE the consumption of its roots, MAYBE... It IS however "politically" dangerous, especially to western "medicine".
 
Emily Brown
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Location: Maine
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I don't know where you can buy it except for dry comfrey leaves for tea. It grows easily and can be propagated with a small root cutting. Buying some root cuttings would be easier than buying fresh comfrey leaves.

According to some, comfrey contains toxic substances that cause liver damage. Some people adhere to this belief religiously. Others think it is a means of the FDA/big pharma scaring people away from a truly useful natural remedy that they can't profit from.

All that said, I eat comfrey leaf right off the plant. It tastes like cucumber and I find the texture pleasant.
 
S Carreg
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Location: De Cymru (West Wales, UK)
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My herbal medicine teacher (UK-trained medical herbalist) said that one variety - Russian comfrey- has been proven to be potentially carcinogenic. The risk is highest from ingesting the roots, but there is also a risk of ingesting the leaves. Other types of comfrey do not have this risk, however, there is a lot of cross-breeding so it's difficult to know for sure what you have. Personally I don't eat it, although I do sometimes use it as a tea for medicinal purposes. Mostly I use it as a fertilizer and mulch, and as a topical treatment (for wounds, bruises, and broken bones).
 
Hugo Rozzo
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It's bad for the liver after a long time. It's good for gastritis,ulcus and other problems in the stomach,bronchitis,arthritis, osteoporose. Phytotherapeutes stop prescribing it because there are good alternatives. But on the other hand the english have eaten the young leaves as a spinage for a long time.
Good luck.
 
Michael Cox
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Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
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Yes, but lettuce is "potentially carcinogenic". The slightly bitter flavour of the leaves are it's defence against being eaten (by slugs, grazing animals, lettuce loving humans). Hell, almonds are radioactive when put under a geiger counter.

What matters is if you are comfortable with the increased risk that eating that particular plant poses. I've seen no concrete evidence that suggests that the increased risk due to eating comfrey is significant (and lots that suggest it has useful medicinal properties in wound healing for example) provided it is only consumed in moderation.

I believe that some of the fear associated with comfrey is based on early medical trial which involved feeding animals diets of essentially pure comfrey and seeing what happened. This really doesn't reflect the reality of human consumption patterns.

(Obligatory CYA statement - do your own research, eat at your own risk etc...)
 
S Carreg
Posts: 260
Location: De Cymru (West Wales, UK)
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It is a very useful medicine, on the other hand for its internal uses there are many equally good alternatives. It has no good alternative as a topical treatment for broken bones, but topical use is not at issue anyway. I do sometimes use it in tea as a mucous membrane tonic but there are lots of other things you can use. I agree that the early trials were inappropriate, but as you said it's all about risk assessment and to me given that there are myriad alternatives, it doesn't really seem worth it. Plus the leaves are either hairy (raw) or slimy (cooked) so I'm not a huge fan of eating it anyway.
 
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