Comfrey root has traditionally been used as a topical treatment for muscle and joint pain.

Now a study collating past research into comfrey and its traditional uses, has concluded that it is clinically proven to relieve pain, inflammation and swelling of muscles and joints in the case of degenerative arthritis, acute myalgia (muscle pain) in the back, sprains, contusions and strains after sports injuries and accidents.  These randomised controlled trials also show that it is suitable for use in children of 3 years and older.

In one trial that looked at those with acute ankle sprains, comfrey was applied 4 times a day for a week.  As a result the research showed that the overall effect of the cream was greater than that of diclofenac (a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) drug used for pain relief).  Furthermore, NSAID drugs are known for their side effects including gastrointestinal toxicity.

Comfrey has also been indicated for the external use in bruises, strains and sprains for its anti-inflammatory action.

With regards safety, it was concluded that although in one trial of 162 patients, 4 suffered non-serious skin complaints such as redness and irritation, comfrey creams were safe to use.  It was noted that  the application of modern preparations results in far below the daily allowance of 10 mg of the active ingredients.

Comfrey creams are available from health foods shops and other outlets.

It is always advisable to seek the advice of a health professional before using herbal preparations.

The full research article can be read by following this link:


Articles published in Integrative Medicine Health: