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Comfrey for dental health (or other suggestions)  RSS feed

 
John Master
Posts: 519
Location: Wisconsin
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Part of what draws me here is food as medicine discussion as I want to maintain health and raise a healthy family. Struggled with cavities as I grew up for various reasons but refined carbohydrates were definitely a big part of the problem. a couple years ago make the switch to a Weston price style diet, though with the SAD still very much a part of America and raising 3 kids it's hard to find the variety and purity that our ancestors enjoyed living off the land and in tribes where everyone pitched in.

Short story long, I was able to shut down most of my tooth decay and even stopped some cavities dead in their tracks. Just went back for a check-up and found a cavity in the dentin behind an existing composite filling and I am determined to recalcify it as opposed to paying to have it drilled and refilled (the price tag for one filling is severe and I am stubborn when it comes to wanting to use food as medicine).

I just bought some comfrey roots and seeds to start growing it for all of it's permie plot benefits. It's nickname is Knit-bone, wondering if it has a use in the healing of cavities and if so how do you use it? ie do I brew a tea, make a salve or salad etc.

My holistic dentist assures me that I cant recalcify dentin but I would like to prove her wrong! I read nutrition and physical degeneration and I am very sure Weston price observed this in many of the people he studied when diet returned away from junk food.

 
Bryant RedHawk
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Posts: 2839
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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While I applaud your desire to use foods as medicine, which they are. However, I want to warn you about jumping into the world of the herbalist with out proper knowledge and training.
As a herbalist I have spent many years studying the different plants used, how they can interact with the body and each other and most importantly what to avoid doing.

I am posting here the writings on Comfrey from one of one of my best compendiums.

Since ancient times comfrey has been employed as both a medicinal plant and as a type of vegetable, although the general employment of the plant in the latter sense seems to veer more towards its Western usage more so than its Eastern employment, as the East generally employs comfrey chiefly as a medicinal herb, with rare usage of the plant for consumption only occurring during times of hardship. Comfrey was quite a popular vegetable and medicinal plant during the Dark Ages until well into the Renaissance due to the fact that is was readily grown, relatively hardy, and required very little maintenance given ample water supplies and already presently viable soil properties.

When employed for culinary purposes, comfrey is typically harvested using shears, or, in ancient times, scythes, as the tiny hairs found on the plant can cause minor discomforts when touched. Prior to being consumed, usually as a vegetable incorporated into soups or stews, but sometimes even as a salad green, it is always soaked in water or par-boiled to soften the hairs (if employed for salads) or otherwise simply integrated whole into a simmering pot. Long believed to possess medicinal properties by folkloric healers, it is said that foodstuffs containing comfrey helped in boosting one's overall health, improving digestion, and alleviating common ills such as cold, flu, and fever. It was also given to individuals to alleviate the symptoms of cough, or, if prepared as a vegetable in combination with chicken soup, as a general cure all for respiratory ailments. [2] The leaves of the plant itself contains minute amounts of allatonin - a chemical compound thought to be beneficial for the growth and repair of cells as well as for its ability to reduce inflammation and alleviate the symptoms associated with it. The leaves also contain significant amounts of mucilage which are extracted through the process of decoction, making it useful for the treatment of internal ailments like indigestion as well as more serious ailments such as asthma and whooping cough (the mucilage actually helps to soothe the esophageal track, alleviating the irritation which triggers coughing, while eliciting the ease of expectoration). [3]When employed solely as medicine, mild decoctions of the leaves are typically taken in minute to moderate dosages to alleviate the symptoms of whooping cough, sore throat, hoarseness of voice, flu, and colds. Moderate decoctions of the leaves have been used in ancient times as an emmenagogue and as an early type of disinfectant and antiseptic. It has even been employed as a gargle to remedy halitosis, treat gingivitis, and alleviate the symptoms of sore throat.

When using comfrey for graver diseases such as asthma, bronchitis, and even angina pectoris, the root of the plant is a preferred constituent part to be decocted in lieu of the leaves, as the root tends to possess more potent volatile compounds than the leaves. Comfrey, regardless of the constituent parts employed, can be used in both its fresh or dried form, although some curative practices may call for its usage while fresh. The roots are commonly decocted and drunk to treat the same diseases which are curable with comfrey leaves, although it's more potent nature requires lesser decocting time and a smaller dose. In traditional cases, decoctions of the root are often employed to hasten the healing and cut the recuperation time of individuals who are mending after suffering from broken bones and fractures. Because of this powerful healing capacity, it was referred to by ancient Western herbalists as 'knitbone'. Employing comfrey for the healing of fractures usually employed giving a small amount of a mild decoction to an individual for a set number of days not exceeding a week until sufficient progress is seen.

The prolonged or excessive intake of comfrey (either as infusions or decoctions) can however be dangerous and even poisonous hence its very limited and strictly regulated usage in ancient herbal practices. The more common method of employing comfrey for general (external) complaints is by using the leaves as either a poultice, or by creating a topical rinse or salve imbued with the properties of the leaves and roots by either making a very strong decoction of the constituent parts and applying it topically as a wash, or by creating a salve through the maceration of its constituent parts in one's choice of a baseoil. Some traditional folkloric applications even employ heated comfrey leaves directly unto the skin as a remedy for arthritis, rheumatism, gout, broken bones, sore ligaments, and even burns. Because of its analgesic properties, salves, ointments, and liniments may sometimes contain minute amounts of comfrey's essences, as it is known to not only relieve pain, but also reduce inflammation and hasten the overall recovery of the affected area. An older method of creating a healing salve of comfrey is to boil the fresh or dried root for several hours under low heat until a thick, creamy paste is formed. This paste can then be stored and applied topically as needed, although care should be taken when overusing it, as the paste can cause allergic reactions to some individuals who have very sensitive skin.

Comfrey may also be employed as a fertilizer for agricultural purposes. Because they are nitrogenous plants that can literally 'mine' nutrients from the soil, this may be taken advantage of by planting and, later, harvesting nutritionally dense comfrey leaves which can then be rotted, or dried and finely chopped and employed as fertiliser for crops. The easiest means to make use of comfrey as a fertiliser is to create a concentrated liquid which is composed of the whole of the plant, macerated to the point of decay. This 'nutrient water' can easily be poured unto plots. Being liquid, the nutrients contained in the 'brew' is readily accessible to the plants, and it also seems to be the most readily applicable fertilizing medium when compared to other forms such as pellets or mulch. The liquid may be further improved by allowing it to macerate compostable materials prior to a final staining and employment for added nutritional benefits.

Esoteric / Magickal Uses
Comfrey has long been employed in the magickal world, and, being a relatively ancient herb, its usage has changed overtime. Initially considered a talismanic herb, it was originally carried by travelers in medicine pouches or juju to protect them from harm during long sojourns. Its protective properties were later revamped to include its capacity to protect items from theft, and so it was encased in money bags and chests to help protect the articles from theft. Sympathetic magick and folkloric magick have employed comfrey as a sort of 'fixing' herb, as it is said that leaving a sachet of comfrey beneath or lover's bed or pillow, or bequeathing them such an item would keep them faithful. Its protective abilities soon expanded to include general household protection, and cleansing. A strong decoction of comfrey leaves can be employed as a cleansing bath to help strip off negative energy and cleanse the body of any malignancy, while an incense made from dried comfrey leaves and roots (the latter being most preferred by Caribbean, Haitian, African, and some shamanic branches of magick) is said to drive away evil spirits, aid in concentration, whet one's psychic abilities, and allow for the easy and painless severance of unhealthy relationships.

While the use of comfrey was predominant in ancient herbalism, the modern applications for comfrey are somewhat more limited as the plant has been found to be toxic in large dosages, and dangerous even in minute dosages. Most modern manuals on alternative medicine now suggest that comfrey not be taken orally, although some older (and other not-so-old) texts suggest that it may be safely taken orally in minute dosages, but never for prolonged periods of time. Because the oral intake of comfrey may raise the risk of liver damage, lung damage, and cancer, its oral usage is ill-advised by most modern health-care professionals. As a general warning however, both ancient and modern medical sources concur that comfrey should not be taken (orally) by pregnant or nursing individuals, and that people with a history of liver damage and lung damage, or those who are at risk for such diseases should best steer clear of comfrey.
While the topical application of comfrey is relatively safe, it should never be employed by individuals who have broken or damaged skin, nor should it be employed liberally. When using comfrey either as a foodstuff or as medicine, it is best to employ only very trifling amounts as even small dosages can be potent enough to elicit a healing effect. It must be noted that individuals who are under liver-tonifying medicines, or who are under medication for the treatment of liver disease should never take comfrey orally, and must only employ it topically on very rare occasions lest it react with the preexisting medication. To err on the side of caution, one is also advised to consult an expert herbalist when employing comfrey, and to not depend on general self-medication as made available by current and past literature for the sake of safety.

I would like to recommend you go check out The Home Grown Herbalist web site and perhaps even get in touch with Doc Jones, who has extensive experience with the use of Comfrey, before you embark on this experiment/ treatment. Comfrey is a very powerful herb and much research should be done before you start self treatment just to be on the safe side.
 
John Master
Posts: 519
Location: Wisconsin
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Thank you, That is just the type of info I have been looking for! No stranger to herbs, my wife has been working at Standard Process for 11 years now, our family of 5 haven't had a prescription in over 2 years, we practice homeopathy as well as herbal remedies, but like you point out, taking an herb long term has it's potential dangers as well. I will study that passage a few times and do more research.
 
Mahtab Partovi
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I think now i dont have to visit my orthodontist after reading this information.I suddenly struck on this information and it turned out to be very useful.Now i will definitely go for herbal remedies and get more information and research more about it.I hope it would help me make my health much better and keep me away from prescriptions and doctors.
 
Bryant RedHawk
garden master
Posts: 2839
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
233
chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting toxin-ectomy
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Mahtab Partovi wrote:I think now i dont have to visit my orthodontist after reading this information.I suddenly struck on this information and it turned out to be very useful.Now i will definitely go for herbal remedies and get more information and research more about it.I hope it would help me make my health much better and keep me away from prescriptions and doctors.


Herbalist and homeopathy are usually very effective. I got started because of western medicine failing me, I rarely see a western medicine practicioner (MD) any longer.
 
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