comfrey (generic name)

an herbal product - treats Pain, Myalgia, and Inflammation
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Interactions

Interactions with Drugs

Taking comfrey by mouth may increase the activity of the hepatic enzyme, aminopyrine N-demethylase.

Comfrey applied to the skin may offer anti-inflammatory effects. Caution is advised in patients taking anti-inflammatory medications due to possible additive effects.

Based on the potential for carcinogenic activity, oral (by mouth) or topically (applied to the skin) absorbed comfrey may have antagonistic effects to chemotherapeutic agents. Caution is advised when taking concurrently with other chemotherapeutic agents.

Agents that induce CYP3A4 may increase the conversion of compounds in comfrey to toxic metabolites.

Comfrey taken by mouth or applied to the skin may have additive adverse effects on the liver when used in combination with hepatotoxic (liver damaging) medications.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

Oral products containing comfrey leaf in combination with other ingredients were found to have lower total levels of alkaloids compared with bulk comfrey root or leaf.

Oral comfrey (Symphytum officinale) may increase the activity of the hepatic enzyme, aminopyrine N-demethylase.

Based on human study, topical comfrey may offer anti-inflammatory effects. Caution is advised in patients taking anti-inflammatory herbs, such as oral licorice or topical Ginkgo biloba, due to possible additive effects.

Based on the potential for carcinogenic activity, comfrey taken by mouth or applied to the skin may have antagonistic effects to chemotherapeutic agents. Caution is advised when taking concurrently with other herbs or supplements with potential chemotherapeutic effects.

Agents that induce CYP3A4 may increase the conversion of compounds in comfrey to toxic metabolites.

Oral or absorbed comfrey may have additive adverse effects on the liver when used in combination with hepatotoxic (liver damaging) herbs, such as kava, or supplements.

The combination of pokeweed (Phytolacca americana) and comfrey may result in additive effects. Although not well studied in humans, both herbs can precipitate human glycoproteins, agglutinate sheep red blood cells (SRBC), and stimulate lymphocyte adherence to nylon fibers.

Oral or absorbed comfrey, in combination with other pyrrolizidine alkaloid-containing herbs, may increase total levels of pyrrolizidine alkaloid consumed, which increases the risk for toxicity. Herbs containing pyrrolizidine alkaloids include alkanna, borage, butterbur, coltsfoot, forget-me-not, gravel root, hemp agrimony, hound's tongue, lungwort, and Senecio species.

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.) or sassafras (Sassafras albidum Nutt.) extracts and comfrey extracts may both induce glutathione (GSH) adducts.

Comfrey may have uterine tonic effects. Other uterine tonic agents include chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla L.), pot marigold calendula (Calendula officinalis L.), cockscomb (Celosia cristata L.), plantain (Plantago lanceolata L. and Plantago major L.), shepherds purse (Capsella bursa pastoris L.), and St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum L.).

Attribution

This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature, and was peer-reviewed and edited by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com): Ashley Brigham, PharmD (Northeastern University); Julie Conquer, PhD (RGB Consulting), J. Kathryn Bryan, BA (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); James Ceurvels, PharmD (Northeastern University); Catherine DeFranco Kirkwood, MPH, CCCJS-MAC (MD Anderson Cancer Center); Nicole Giese, MS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Petra Jancar, PharmD (University of Ljubljana); Shaina Tanguay-Colucci, BS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Wendy Weissner, BA (Natural Standard Research Collaboration).

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