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Rough Comfrey

Symphytum asperum

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Boraginaceae (Borage)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
160 centimetres tall
Gardens, parks, seaside, wasteland.

Pink, 5 petals
The tubular flowers are pink at first but later turn blue. Pollinated by bees.
A cluster of 4 shiny nutlets, later turning a dark brown or black. The seeds ripen in June and July.
Large, untoothed, rough, broadly lance-shaped leaves. The lower leaves are also long-stalked. A prickly haired perennial.
Other Names:
Persian Comfrey, Prickly Comfrey.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Symphytum asperum, also known as rough comfrey or prickly comfrey, is a species of flowering plant in the Boraginaceae family. It is native to Europe and Asia and has been introduced to other parts of the world as an ornamental plant. This species is known for its large, hairy leaves and clusters of bell-shaped flowers that can be purple, pink, or white. The plant is often used in traditional medicine and is known for its medicinal properties, including its ability to reduce inflammation and stimulate cell growth. It is also sometimes used in herbal remedies to treat wounds and broken bones. Symphytum asperum is often used as a parent plant in the creation of comfrey hybrids, such as Symphytum x uplandicum.


Rough Comfrey (Symphytum asperum) is a hardy and versatile herb that has been used for centuries in traditional medicine and as a natural remedy. It is a member of the Boraginaceae family and is native to Europe and Asia. This herb is known for its many medicinal properties and has been used to treat a wide range of conditions, including wounds, joint pain, and respiratory issues. In this blog, we will take a closer look at the benefits of Rough Comfrey and how it can be used for natural healing.

History of Rough Comfrey

Rough Comfrey has a long history of use in traditional medicine. In ancient Greece, the herb was known as "knitbone" due to its ability to speed up the healing of broken bones. In medieval times, it was used to treat wounds, bruises, and other injuries, and it was also believed to have soothing properties for the respiratory system.

Medicinal Properties of Rough Comfrey

The leaves and roots of Rough Comfrey contain a variety of compounds that make it a valuable natural remedy. These compounds include allantoin, rosmarinic acid, and pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and pain-relieving properties. The herb also contains high levels of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, calcium, and phosphorus.

Wound Healing

One of the most well-known uses of Rough Comfrey is its ability to promote wound healing. The allantoin in the herb stimulates the growth of new tissue and helps to speed up the healing process. Additionally, the anti-inflammatory properties of the herb can help to reduce swelling and pain, making it a useful remedy for bruises, sprains, and other injuries.

Joint Pain

Rough Comfrey has also been used to treat joint pain and inflammation. The anti-inflammatory properties of the herb can help to reduce swelling and relieve pain in the joints, making it a valuable remedy for conditions like arthritis and gout. Additionally, the high levels of calcium and phosphorus in the herb can help to strengthen bones and improve joint health.

Respiratory Issues

Rough Comfrey has been used to treat a variety of respiratory issues, including bronchitis, asthma, and coughs. The anti-inflammatory properties of the herb can help to soothe the respiratory system and reduce symptoms like coughing and wheezing. Additionally, the high levels of vitamin C in the herb can help to boost the immune system and protect against respiratory infections.

How to Use Rough Comfrey

Rough Comfrey can be used in a variety of forms, including teas, tinctures, ointments, and poultices. To make a tea, simply steep the leaves in hot water for 10-15 minutes. To make a tincture, steep the leaves in alcohol for several weeks and then strain the liquid. Ointments and poultices can be made by mixing the crushed leaves with a carrier oil or beeswax.

Safety Considerations

While Rough Comfrey has many medicinal benefits, it is important to be aware of its potential side effects. The herb contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which can be toxic in large amounts. Long-term use of the herb can lead to liver damage and other health problems, so it is important to use it in moderation and under the supervision of a healthcare professional. Additionally, pregnant women should avoid using Rough Comfrey, as the pyrrolizidine alkaloids can cause birth defects.

Growing Rough Comfrey

If you are interested in incorporating Rough Comfrey into your natural health routine, you can easily grow the herb in your garden. Rough Comfrey is a hardy perennial that is easy to grow and maintain. It prefers well-drained soil and partial to full sun, and it is also relatively drought-resistant. The herb will typically bloom from spring to early summer and can reach up to three feet in height.

Incorporating Rough Comfrey into Your Routine

Whether you are using Rough Comfrey to treat a specific health condition or simply to boost your overall well-being, there are many ways to incorporate the herb into your routine. Consider drinking a cup of Rough Comfrey tea daily, or apply a poultice of the crushed leaves to any sore or inflamed joints. You can also add a few drops of Rough Comfrey tincture to your daily health regimen to enjoy its many benefits.

In conclusion, Rough Comfrey is a versatile and valuable herb that can be used for a variety of health benefits. From promoting wound healing to relieving joint pain, Rough Comfrey has a lot to offer for those looking for natural ways to improve their health and well-being. Just be sure to use it responsibly and under the supervision of a healthcare professional, and you can enjoy its many benefits for years to come.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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