Comfrey, also called boneset, bruisewort and radix consolidate, is a flowering perennial original to Eurasia and now distributed throughout temperate zones in North America. Although the plant is considered an invasive weed by some, it is also grown as an ornamental due to its drooping, bell-shaped flowers that range in color from yellow to red or violet.
In Japan, comfrey has been cultivated as a vegetable for more than 2,000 years. The plant also has a long history of use in Asia and Europe as a topical agent, usually prepared as a poultice.
Early research shows that applying comfrey ointment to the affected area for up to 2 weeks improves mobility, decreases pain, and reduces tenderness and swelling of sprains. The effect of comfrey ointment in relieving pain and reducing swelling seems to be comparable to the effects of diclofenac (NSAID) gel according to Webmd.
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