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| Comfrey as Rabbit Food |
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: David Nice
Posted on: April 5, 1998
We have read information about using comfrey as a feeding suppliment for rabbits. The article was several years old and mentioned the medicinal and nutritional benefits of this herb in the rabbitry. Recent articles about liver damage and even death have led us to question this. Before we plant this herb, do you have any imput or know anyone who has had experience using comfrey for rabbits. We are also interested in any other herbs that could be used on our small farm with rabbits, chickens, dogs, cats, pigs, cattle, horses and bees. Thank you for your response and information.
We do not have any information on the long term effects of feeding comfrey to rabbits.
There is at least a 30 year history of feeding animals comfrey. The Henry Doubleday Association in the United Kingdom long advocated the use of comfrey as a nutritional supplement for farm animals, such as horses. As far as we know there are no reports of animals suffering liver damage from comfrey when fed in a farm situation. That is not to say, however, that comfrey is not harmful because laboratory studies on rats fed comfrey in large amounts have shown liver damage.
Our advice is to avoid feeding comfrey to animals. Comfrey is a very valuable herb and we very much continue to advocate its use for short term ailments such as broken bones, ulcers, wounds, etc. We do not advocate its use for long term or chronic disease, and not as a nutritional supplement.
It is important to realize that comfrey has been used as a healing agent safely for over 1000 years. Its use as a food supplement is a recent phenomenon, since the Henry Doubleday group started to promote it in the 1960s. Comfrey does not have a long tradition of use as a nutritional source, and we ought to be circumspect about its use in that way.