Already the name comfrey tells us its main effect. Traditionally, it was used for bone fractures. Originally comfrey comes from Eastern Europe and Asia. However, over time it has spread throughout Europe and North America. The fact that the plant is quite robust and not particularly demanding, certainly does the rest. The plant received the name comfrey because it is said to have a healing effect on muscles, tendons, skin and bones.
What exactly is comfrey?
Comfrey is a perennial, with rough-haired, heavily veined decurrent leaves that can grow up to 30 cm wide and 50 cm long. The flowers of comfrey are whitish to yellowish, reddish to blue-violet. In total, the plant can grow up to 1.50 cm high. It grows very quickly and you can cut it 5-6 times a year. The roots of comfrey are dark brown on the outside and fleshy and white on the inside. They develop an extensive root system and one root can even become as thick as an arm and grow up to a meter long.
These substances are contained in comfrey
Allantoin, aspargine, choline, flavonoids, tannins, phenolic carboxylic acids, mucilages and triterpenoids are found in comfrey. The proportion of vitamin B12 is also extremely high. Other ingredients are panthothenic acid, niacin, riboflavin, vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium and calcium.
In addition, comfrey contains the following ingredients: Chlorophyll, phosphorus and many trace elements.
How do the substances of comfrey act?
The active ingredient from which we benefit the most when used in humans and dogs is allantoin. It is present in all parts of the plant and it is a metabolic product that has a wound healing and cell regenerating effect. Allantoin can also be produced synthetically, but it is believed that the natural allantoin found in comfrey is superior to synthetic products primarily due to its interaction with the other ingredients it contains.
Extra knowledge: Due to liver-toxic ingredients, comfrey is only used externally.
In naturopathy, the root of the comfrey plant is therefore used mainly for:
- Joint diseases such as osteoarthritis
- Rheumatic diseases
- Joint inflammation such as arthritis
- Muscle tension
But it can also provide relief and promote healing for eczema, stings, mastitis, rashes, varicose veins, conjunctivitis, skin ulcers or wounds.
Extra note: I recommend you keep dried comfrey on hand at all times when trimming claws. It is a very effective hemostatic agent. If you just dab it on the wound, the bleeding will stop immediately.
When should you avoid applications or products with comfrey?
- For puppies
- it is not suitable for pregnant and lactating bitches
- for dogs with liver diseases
How to use comfrey on your dog
Most often, the root is used as a poultice or in an ointment. However, leaves and the root can also be used. I myself like to use comfrey on dogs as a poultice. Thus, it can be used very well for joint diseases such as osteoarthritis, sprains, tendon and ligament injuries, muscle injuries and tension, as well as arthritis targeted at the “place of action”.
How to make a comfrey poultice
Wrap with root powder
If you are using root powder to make a comfrey poultice, mix the powder with cold or hot water to make a paste. You then apply this root mash thickly to a sheet. Then wrap it and then put the wrap on the desired area. You can then secure the wrap with an outer towel to prevent it from slipping.
Wrap with fresh or dried root
If you use the fresh or dried root, then you should chop the dried root as small as possible or even grind it. Then boil them for 10-20 minutes. After that, strain it and apply the wet mass on a linen cloth, wrap it and apply the poultice on the affected area.
Comfrey wrap with leaves
If you want to use the leaves of comfrey for a poultice, the first step is to roll the fresh leaves with a rolling pin. This breaks the fibers. Now you put the leaves briefly in weakly boiling water. Afterwards, take the leaves and place them on a linen cloth. Wrap this and place it on the area you want to treat
This is what you should pay attention to when using the comfrey wrap
Your dog should rest during an application with a poultice. Make sure he doesn’t freeze. When you apply a poultice to your dog, you should check the reaction on his skin after a few minutes. If the skin becomes very flushed or pustules appear, you should remove the wrap immediately. Make sure that if you have a warm wrap, the temperature of the wrap is not too high. You can easily check this by checking the temperature of the wrap on the inside of your own wrist. When you put the wrap on, you should always make sure that you put it on without wrinkles. After applying the wrap, give your dog some time to rest.
How long and how often?
If your dog will tolerate it, you can leave the warm wrap on for between 15-30 minutes until it gets cold. For cold wraps in return, it can lie on until it warms up. You can apply a poultice even 2 times a day.
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Have you already gained experience with comfrey in dog use? Feel free to share them with me and other dog lovers in the comments.
In the webinar “Movement Pain in Dogs”, we once again take an in-depth look at the topic of joint pain in dogs, as well as typical abnormalities in movement that can indicate various joint diseases such as hip dysplasia, patellar luxation or similar. You can join us here: Register for the webinar “Movement Pain in Dogs”. By the way with the discount code: WEBINAR-FJI you get 10% discount!
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