Organic Emily

Growing and Using Medicinal Herbs: Comfrey

Comfrey Plant

Comfrey is a wonderful herb with  multiple benefits!  The plant is very easy to grow and can be harvested multiple times a season.  It grows well in full sun and well draining soil.  One of my favorite comfrey products I use is a salve called Dr. Christopher’s Complete Bone and Tissue for all my physical aliments!  It contains comfrey and other herbs.  It is simply magical!  As a fitness instructor for over 10 years who teaches multiple classes a week my body has begun to… well let’s say get a little older and over used so to speak.  I have a bulging lower disc in my spine, knee pain and a weak rotator cuff.  Whenever anything starts to flare up I put the salve on a few times a day and within a couple days I am back to normal again!  I cannot say enough about comfrey!

Medical Benefits of Comfrey

  • Comfrey is good for fracture healing and bone lesions.
  • Comfrey is beneficial for treatment of muscle tears, sprains, strains, and dislocations.
  • Comfrey helps in arthritic conditions of bursitis, tendinitis, and torticollis.
  • Comfrey treats arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
  • Comfrey is good for treating bunions and deformities of extremities.
  • Comfrey helps in treating intervertebral disc lesions and herniated discs.
  • Comfrey is good for circulatory system and improves poor circulation and varices.
  • Comfrey treats skin deformities like minor wounds, minor burns, fistulas, and psoriasis.
  • There are millions of comfrey natural products available in the market, the most prominent of which is comfrey gel which helps in treatment of some types of eczema, cracks in breasts, and varicose ulcers
  • For more info go here

Harvesting Comfrey

  • Here is an excellent video on how to harvest comfrey!

There is controversy over whether comfrey should be ingested or not.  Studies have shown that comfrey taken internally can be dangerous due to it’s high levels of alkaloids, potentially harming the liver.  However, the studies are a bit misleading in my opinion.  They do show that the alkaloids could be dangerous, but that is because very large amounts were taken internally.  More so than what the average person would normally ingest, however it is important to use caution.  I know many people who have taken it internally and are just fine.

Dried Comfrey

You can make a basic salve recipe with the dried comfrey leaves and roots.  Anytime you use a root over the leaf or flower of the plant it will always have stronger constituents.

Comfrey Oil

 The first step in making your own medicinal salve is to make a solar infused herb oil.  This can even be done with herbs for cooking.  Fill a clean and dry wide mouth jar with dried herb leaves or roots.  Cover with 2 inches of good olive oil.  Cover tightly and allow to sit in a warm sunny spot for 2-4 weeks.  The longer you allow it to sit the stronger it will become.  You might expect the oils to go rancid, however as long as the herbs are infusing the oils they won’t due to the antioxidant properties found naturally in plants.

Straining Herbs 1

 Strain the herbs through a sieve after the oil has been infused.

Straining Herbs 2

Strain further into a cheese cloth or piece of muslin.  Be sure to squeeze the last bits of oil from the drained herbs into the bowl.

Homemade Salve

Now the salve is ready to be made!

 

 

Basic Salve Recipe

 

 

For each cup of infused herb oil, add 1/4 cup (finely chopped or shredded) beeswax.  Heat the oil and beeswax together over very low heat, stirring occasionally, until the beeswax has melted.

 

 

To ensure the salve is the thickness you desire, place 1 tablespoon of the mixture onto a spoon and put in the freezer for a minute or two.  Then check for firmness of the salve.  Add more beeswax if you desire a more firm ointment.  For a softer salve add more oil.

 

 

Once the mixture is the consistency you want pour immediately into small glass jars or tins.  Be careful the oil is extremely hot!  I get me supplies from here.

 

 

Store salve in a cool, dark place, where it will keep for several months.  Add essential oils to enhance aroma and medicinal purposes.

 

Emily Saddler

Emily is a Master Gardener, wife of a professional landscape contractor, Mom of 4 cute kids, Yoga instructor and very passionate advocate of organic home-grown food! Emily maintains a blog called “The Organic Suburban Farm Girl” where she shares gardening advice, delicious recipes made with fresh, organic ingredients and her escapades as the keeper of both backyard chickens and honeybees!

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