Thanks to Wildly Natural Skin Care for this great information on Comfrey.
Making and Using Comfrey Oil
Comfrey oil (Symphytum officinale) is another potent herbal remedy for skin care. It is high in allantoin, a mucilaginous healing substance that causes cell growth.
An old European folk remedy, many uses of comfrey abound.
Being mucilaginous, common uses of comfrey include healing wounds, preventing scars and treating existing ones, decreasing dryness and flaky skin, and soothing irritated skin.
Comfrey also has mild astringent and drawing qualities, making it useful for alleviating cysts, toning a loss of texture/firmness on the skin and increasing movement of fluid within the joints.
It is anti-inflammatory and analgesic and has been used externally as an ointment to assist in the healing of sprains and broken bones.
It also shows effectiveness in treating atopic dermatitis, psoriasis and eczema.
Care needs to be taken not to use comfrey too soon on wounds, as it may heal the top layers before the lower which could lead to infection. Comfrey root is also fairly high in pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which are a liver toxin. External use in small doses when the liver is healthy is considered safe. A high quality comfrey oil can be purchased at Mountain Rose Herbs. Or you can find ingredients to make your own there.
Let’s Make It!
Both the root and leaf are useful for making comfrey-infused oil. Comfrey leaf has an irritating and prickly texture. It can cause some contact dermatitis; however, it is a soothing agent when broken up! The root is very juicy, mucilaginous and high in allantoin.
If possible, use freshly dried herbs for this purpose.
To freshly dry comfrey root: dig the root when it is dry weather, clean by hand or using some water and a vegetable brush if needed. Brush the root gently however. Chop finely; lay out on a paper bag overnight.
To freshly dry leaves: harvest, wipe the dirt off with a towel, and allow to dry whole overnight.
Here is my favorite comfrey oil recipe:
8 oz Comfrey leaf (70%)
4 oz Comfrey root (30%)
Extra virgin olive oil, to cover, approximately 16 ounces
The roots should already be broken down by chopping. Go ahead and break up the leaves by hand. To make this using the cold infusion method, put all the herbs in a 16 ounce glass jar, cover with olive oil, cap and shake. This can steep for 28 days. To strain, use an old t-shirt lined in a strainer, pour the mix through into a bowl and squeeze the t-shirt with herbs in it. The strained liquid is your comfrey oil!
To make comfrey-infused oil using another method, including those that take less time, check out the article Herbal Oils.
and this recipe for a salve from Frugally Sustainable
How to Make a Comfrey Salve: Great for Diaper Rash, First-Aid, Eczema, Burns, and Psoriasis
A simple comfrey salve…
…it’s powerful in so many ways!
Known for centuries and in ancient times as a wonderful healer.
In fact, Philip Fritchey in his book Practical Herbalism quotes the famous herbalist Culpeper when he speaks of comfrey, “It is said to be so powerful to knit together (wounds and broken bones), that if the root be boiled with dissevered pieces of flesh in a pot, it will join them together again.”
The Making of My Comfrey Salve
Comfrey is a strong plant and grows easily in the home garden.
Even here in the Desert Southwest, with great care, my comfrey grows. Although it much prefers moist conditions.
And this past summer — on a trip to visit my sister in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado — I was excited to find a patch of wild plantain growing beside a creek.
Together comfrey and plantain work to reduce a variety of skin irritations and encouraging cell growth…
…the balm made from these two plants is a perfect remedy for hard to treat diaper rash (you know the kind that nothing else will heal), eczema, burns, and psoriasis.
So after drying the two plant materials, I began the infusion process.
-1 quart glass mason jar
-double-boiler or small pot
–small kitchen scale
- plenty of good, quality organic olive oil
- 6 ounces dried comfrey leaves
- 3 ounce dried plantain leaves
- 4-6 ounces beeswax
Please note: For this salve — because I had the time — I decided to create a triple-infused herbal oil.
1. To begin, I combined 2 ounces of dried comfrey leaves and 1 ounce of dried plantain leaves in a quart-sized glass mason jar. Note: Use a small kitchen scale to measure the herbs.
2. Pour enough olive oil to cover the herbs, leaving 1/2 inch head space.
3. Leave on the counter to infuse for 4-6 weeks.
4. Strain oil through a cheesecloth. Reserve the herb-infused oil and compost the plant material.
5. For a double-infusion, repeat step 1 then pour the reserved herb-infused oil over the herbs (adding more oil if needed to bring 1/2 inch from the top of the jar). Infuse again for 4-6 weeks.
6. For a triple-infusion, repeat the process.
7. After the final straining you should have anywhere from 24-32 ounces of herb-infused oil. Now it’s time for the beeswax!
8. In a small pot — or double boiler if you have one– over very low heat, add the herbal oil and beeswax. Depending on how hard you’d like your salve, the general rule is to add 1-2 ounces of beeswax per 8 ounces of oil (Note: These are all measurements by weight, using a kitchen scale). I suggest starting with the lesser amount of wax and adding more if needed. (Note: To check if the mixture is the right consistency, because the salve hardens as it cools, the wonderful Rosemary Gladstar suggests placing a “tablespoon of the mixture in the freezer for just a minute or two. If it’s soft, add more beeswax; if too hard, add more oil.”)
9. Once melted, pour the mixture into tins or glass jars. Note: These tins are my favorite!
10. An herbal salve prepared in this fashion should keep in a cool, dark place for up to 5 years.
Please Note: According to Philip Fritchey, a comfrey salve should not be used on those deep/puncture type wounds. This because it has the power to regenerate new cell growth over the top of the wound before it has had time to heal the deeper tissue. A salve such asthis one or one made of calendula, goldenseal, or Oregon grape root may be more suitable for the treatment of deeper wounds.