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Bulbous Comfrey

Symphytum bulbosum

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Boraginaceae (Borage)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
50 centimetres tall
Grassland, riverbanks, riversides, roadsides, waterside.

Yellow, 5 petals
Clusters of pale yellow, tubular or bell-shaped flowers. Flowers are about 1 inch (2.5cm) in size.
The fruit is a dark brown, 4-sectioned nutlet.
Dark green, wrinkly leaves. The leaves are oval to lance-shaped with a pointed tip. The leaves run shortly down the stem at their bases. Bulbous Comfrey is mainly found in Dorset within the British Isles.
Other Names:
Creeping Comfrey.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Symphytum bulbosum is a plant species in the Boraginaceae family. It is native to Europe, and is also known by the common names bulbous comfrey and creeping comfrey. It is a perennial herb with hairy stems and leaves, and produces small purple or white flowers in spring and summer. The plant is typically found in grassy or rocky areas, and is sometimes grown in gardens for its medicinal properties. The root and leaves of the plant have been used traditionally to treat a variety of ailments, including wounds, bruises, and skin irritation. However, it is important to note that some species of comfrey, including Symphytum bulbosum, contain potentially toxic compounds and should not be ingested.


Bulbous Comfrey, also known as Symphytum bulbosum, is a unique and interesting plant species that has been known to herbalists for centuries. It is a herbaceous perennial that is native to Europe and Asia and is related to the more common Comfrey (Symphytum officinale). This plant is highly prized for its medicinal properties, which include the ability to heal wounds, reduce inflammation, and alleviate pain.

The plant can grow up to two feet tall, and it has large, broad leaves and bell-shaped, pinkish-purple flowers that bloom from May to June. The plant's most distinctive feature is its large, white bulbous roots, which are edible and have been used for medicinal purposes for centuries.

One of the primary uses of Bulbous Comfrey is as a topical treatment for wounds and skin injuries. The plant's leaves contain allantoin, a substance that has been shown to promote the healing of skin and other tissues. When applied topically, the allantoin in Comfrey helps to reduce inflammation and improve circulation, which can speed up the healing process. Additionally, the plant's mucilage content makes it an effective moisturizer, which can help prevent dryness and cracking in the wounded area.

In addition to its use as a topical treatment, Bulbous Comfrey is also sometimes taken internally to treat a variety of conditions. For example, it has been used to treat digestive problems, such as indigestion and diarrhea, as well as respiratory conditions, such as bronchitis and asthma. Some people also use Comfrey to help alleviate pain and reduce inflammation, making it a popular natural remedy for conditions like arthritis and rheumatism.

It is important to note, however, that while Bulbous Comfrey has many benefits, it can also be toxic if taken in large quantities. This is because the plant contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which can be harmful to the liver and other organs. Therefore, it is not recommended to use Comfrey internally for an extended period of time, and it should never be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women, or by children.

Bulbous Comfrey is a fascinating and versatile plant that has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties. Whether used topically for wound care or taken internally for various health concerns, Comfrey is a natural remedy that is definitely worth exploring. However, as with any herb or supplement, it is important to be mindful of the potential risks and to consult with a healthcare professional before using it.

In traditional medicine, Bulbous Comfrey has also been used for various other purposes, such as:

  1. Bone healing: Comfrey has been traditionally used to help speed up the healing of broken bones. This is due to the presence of allantoin and other compounds that promote the growth of new tissues and reduce inflammation.

  2. Pain relief: The anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties of Comfrey make it a popular natural remedy for conditions like headaches, menstrual cramps, and toothaches.

  3. Digestive health: Comfrey has been used to help improve digestive health, as it is believed to soothe the digestive tract and reduce inflammation. It has also been used as a natural remedy for conditions like ulcers, constipation, and irritable bowel syndrome.

  4. Respiratory health: Comfrey has been used for centuries to help treat respiratory conditions like bronchitis and asthma. It is believed to reduce inflammation in the airways and help relieve symptoms like cough, wheezing, and shortness of breath.

It is worth mentioning that despite its many benefits, the use of Bulbous Comfrey as a medicine is controversial. Some studies have shown that long-term use of Comfrey can lead to liver damage, and the plant is considered toxic by some health organizations. For this reason, it is always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before using Comfrey as a natural remedy, and to use it only under their guidance.

In modern times, Comfrey is often used in cosmetics and skincare products, due to its soothing and moisturizing properties.