There’s no question: Herbs are nature’s most powerful medicines. As a long-time gardener and trained herbalist, I realized the power of plants early on, which is why I created Pharmacopia. I found there was a need for apothecary-style products that were herb- and plant-based—and good for the body and the environment around us. Herbs like comfrey, in particular, are just one secret to the effectiveness of Pharmacopia’s skin and haircare products.
Comfrey is an herb that’s part of a group of flowering borage plants found throughout Europe, parts of Asia, and throughout North America. Also called Symphytum officinale (as it’s listed on Pharmacopia product labels), comfrey has wonderful healing powers that were discovered more than 2,000 years ago—and were also embraced by the Native Americans, why they included it in their therapeutic apothecary.
Benefits of Comfrey
The name comfrey originated from Latin and means “to join together.” This herb was given the name because of its skin- and wound-healing abilities; comfrey literally helps “join together” the skin. Comfrey uses throughout history include speeding the healing of burns and bruises as well as fractures and broken bones, reducing skin irritations, lessening swelling, easing the pain of osteoarthritis, and minimizing the appearance of scars. All this because of one tiny plant. Truly amazing!
How does comfrey work? Comfrey seeds, roots, and leaves contain powerful plant ingredients that work to heal the skin, hair, and scalp, keeping skin and hair soft and hydrated. Here are some of the benefits:
- Helps new skin cells to grow. Comfrey contains a potent plant substance called allantoin. It’s allantoin that’s the source of so many of the healing properties of comfrey. There’s plenty of research showing the skin benefits of comfrey, but researchers have found, in particular, that when using comfrey on a wound, the healing time is shorter than when using products without comfrey. This is what makes our Pharmacopia Body Lotions like our Verbena Body Lotion so effective—and good for sensitive skin.
- Protects skin. Comfrey is rich in a plant substance called caffeic acid. This substance is what’s called a polyphenol. Polyphenols are powerful natural chemicals found in plants that help protect them from predators and the elements. These polyphenols are substances that are high in antioxidants which, when used on the skin, help protect skin and hair—just as they do for plants—from environmental assaults like the climate, pollution, and sun damage. Caffeic acid is one of the most effective antioxidants in the comfrey plant. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that can help with scalp irritations. You can find comfrey in all of Pharmacopia’s shampoos and conditioners.
- Has anti-fungal, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial properties. Comfrey contains something called chlorogenic acid, another powerful protective polyphenol. Chlorogenic acid is particularly effective in our skin and hair care products as it helps to soothe skin and minimize dandruff.
- Relieves inflammation. Gamma linoleic acid is an omega-6 essential fatty acid found mainly in the seeds and roots of the comfrey plant. It’s this fatty acid that’s essential for healthy skin. It also helps soothe inflammation.
- Soothes the skin. Polysaccharides are substances that give comfrey its mucilaginous (gelatinous) or soothing properties for skin and scalp.
- Reduces skin irritation. Comfrey contains rosmarinic acid, another powerful polyphenol. The rosmarinic acid found in comfrey helps reduce skin irritation and inflammation, why our Mint Argan Body Wash is particularly soothing.
- Heals wounds. Tannins are also antioxidants found in the comfrey plant that help reduce inflammation on the skin, while also helping to heal wounds. This makes comfrey particularly effective for soothing irritated skin.
Uses for Comfrey
In our skincare products Due to the powerful active ingredients in comfrey, this herb has many skin-soothing and skin-softening benefits. Its anti-inflammatory properties are also good for any skin type but particularly for dry or irritated skin. Find this potent herb in Pharmacopia Body Washes and Body Lotions.
In our haircare products Comfrey moisturizes, softens, detangles, and adds shine. It also soothes irritated, dry scalps and assists with eczema and dandruff. This is thanks to rosmarinic acid and the anti-fungal and anti-bacterial polyphenol chlorogenic acid. (These polyphenols help soothe an ailing scalp quite effectively.) Find comfrey in Pharmacopia Shampoos and Conditioners.
Side Effects of Comfrey
While comfrey is safe and effective when used topically on the skin, hair, and scalp, it shouldn’t be used on broken skin or taken internally.
At Pharmacopia, we believe in the healing power of plants. Comfrey is just one of the many potent botanicals we use in our products. By choosing plant-based skin- and haircare products over synthetic versions, we’re giving Mother Nature a chance to heal our skin, hair, and scalp.