Commonly found in parts of Europe, Asia and North America, comfrey leaves are the latest addition in the list of exotic herbs being rediscovered for their umpteen medicinal gifts, from healing wounds to healing inflammations including gout and arthritis, moisturizing and toning your skin, supporting cell growth and finally giving you a skin that looks forever young.
Comfrey is a shrub that bears white, blue or purple flowers. It has been used in Japanese traditional medicine for over 2000 years now for its medicinal benefits. But modern researchers add a word of caution- comfrey leaves should not be consumed orally, though it can be used for topical application.
1. Moisturizes skin
Comfrey contains a highly effective compound called allantoin which is a n emollient and softens the skin. This makes comfrey is an important moisturizing agent. How comfrey leaves help keep your skin moisturized is, the allantoin compound found in it is a keratinolytic, meaning it softens the relatively harder protein called keratin present in the epidermal layer of the skin. This softening of keratin allows for better hydration of the skin, enabling a softer, smoother texture and well moisturized skin
2. Anti-aging properties
Scientists have found out that compounds present in comfrey can help in cell regeneration and collagen production, that keeps the skin looking young, supple and non-wrinkly.
The ordinary looking comfrey shrub has compounds like sapponin and tannin that can help in reducing inflammatory conditions and treating skin diseases (psoriasis and eczema) as well as diseases like gout and arthritis. The presence of vitamin C and antioxidants in it speed up the process of healing wounds.
4. Analgesic properties to reduce aches and pains
Applying ointments and salves containing comfrey leave extract can help reduce pain from injuries, surgeries or any other form of chronic pain. But since the compound is so potent, it should never be used in its natural form and even when used for medicinal or cosmetic purposes, very small amount of the extract should be used.
5. Astringent properties to cleanse your skin thoroughly
Comfrey leaves have tannin compound which gives it mild astringent quality, making it an effective ingredient for exclusive herbal and natural skin cleansers like Shankara’s Hydrating Cleanser. Comfrey leaves have been used in traditional medicine to effectively remove skin blemishes and dark spots.
6. Protects from damage from ultra violet exposure
The presence of rosmarinic acid in comfrey leaves makes it a good antioxidant and protects the skin from damage caused to it by UV exposure.
7. Better immunity
Even when applied topically, scientists vouch for the herb’s ability to stimulate the production of white blood cells that fight alien bacteria and other infections in the body, due to the presence of ascorbic acid in it.
8. Can help fight cancer cells?
Though research is in its early stages in this area, but primary research suggests, given the antioxidants present in the herb, it may have anti-cancerous properties. This comes from the knowledge that antioxidants eliminate free radical cells that harm the other cells in the body.