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July 18 2009 at 12:41 PM
Anne Thomas 
from IP address


I have searched through as much as I can, but can't find any reference to my specific question.

Does anyone know about potential links between applying comfrey oil topically and cancer. Apparently some health food shops are advising clients that they should only apply comfrey oil for 10 days at a time as it can cause skin cancer. I have checked safety data sheets and done as much checking around on websites as I can, but can't find any mention of this link.


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Sarah Head


July 19 2009, 9:29 PM 

Hi Anne

In all the discussions I have read or been part of over the past twelve years or so, I have never seen any mention of comfrey causing skin cancer. (That doesn't mean there hasn't been any allegations, it means I haven't heard them!) Comfrey does help skin cells regenerate, which is why someone may have got the wrong end of the stick and thought that because it does that, it could cause skin cancer. You do have to be very careful not to apply comfrey to an open wound which has not been properly cleansed, because the new skin growth could trap any nasties inside which would then become inflamed and could become infected.

If you want an authority on the subject, I would suggest you go to Paul Bergner's site or even sent him an email with the specific question (bergnerp@gmail.com. He's done a lot of work on comfrey and liver toxic properties and is very highly regarded.

Best wishes


Anne Thomas


July 20 2009, 11:54 AM 

Thanks for this Sarah. I have used comfrey oil for about 10 years and know many people who have used it for much longer, and I too have never heard of this link - neither have I been able to find any proper information about it. A well-known health food shop is telling customers this though. I challenged their head office about where the information came from when one of my clients rang me in a panic when she had tried buying some. After a couple of months of email wrangling which didn't get anyway, they said they were mistaken - but I know their staff are still passing out this message - at least in some of my local stores.

I will contact Paul - thank you for the link. I love comfrey so it would be good to learn much more about it anyway.


Bruce Burdge


May 1 2012, 5:22 PM 

i'm not sure where you purchase comfrey oil., but I sell organic comfrey roots and have for the last 20 years or so.see my ad in Countryside mag. & garden time on line.

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