How to Grow Comfrey and Make Comfrey Salve
Simple salves with comfrey are very easy to prepare and they can be used for all types of minor injuries – cuts, scrapes, bites, and minor burns. At some point we all deal with life's bumps and bruises. Comfrey salve has a very long shelf life and is a must-have for the household.
I personally have used comfrey salve in my family for many years. I feel it works better than antibiotic creams like Neosporin for us. Overexposure to antibiotics can be dangerous. It has lead to the development of drug resistant strains of bacteria known as “super bugs” that can cause horrific staph infections among other things.
If you've never had the misfortune of having a staph infection, consider yourself lucky. I developed a major staph infection after the birth of my oldest son while in the hospital. It took 12 weeks to get rid of it and I had a healthy immune system at the time!
Comfrey salve, as I prepare it, disinfects minor injuries just as well as any antibiotic cream, but without the added exposure to unnecessary medications that can be problematic later on.
Comfrey is a medicinal plant that grows very easily – rather like a weed as a matter of fact. It is a bushy perennial plant with fuzzy leaves and bell-shaped small flowers that are a bright pinkish purple in color.
The leaves have been used for centuries for their anti-inflammatory properties and ability to promote tissue growth. Comfrey is very easy to grow, just stick it in the ground and it will take off. Plant them fairly deep in light soil, away from other herbs. Add a good compost or natural food to the soil prior to planting.
Comfrey grows well and it grows big, so it can drown out other plants. As it grows, harvest the leaves nearest to the bottom of the plant to stave off flowering. Cut leaves and dry them for making salve.
Growing your own Comfrey is quite easy. Once the plant is established it will continue to come back year after year. It grows readily and doesn't need a lot of attention - my kind of plant! :)
**Hint** You can use other oils in place of tea tree if you prefer. Tea tree is very potent smelling and some people dislike it. I use it because it is very good at healing the skin along with the comfrey. Other ideas for essential oil are lavender (good for all skin types and pleasing scent) or calendula. Calendula doesn't have a strong scent, but it is also very healing.
Don't use salve on deep cuts. Cuts deeper than ¼ inch may need stitches.
Don't use salve on wounds with splinters if you were unable to get the splinter out. The salve works so well it may seal it in further.
Don't use salve on animal bites or any injury where blood poisoning may be a result.
Comfrey Salve Preparation Directions
To make salve you will need the following for approximately 1 cup of salve.
- ¼ cup pure beeswax in pellets, or chopped very fine.
- 1 cup infused comfrey oil (directions below)
- 15 drops of tea tree essential oil.
Infuse Your Oil
This process works better over the course of a few weeks. There are methods where you can cook the oil/comfrey on the stove to infuse, but I don't recommend that method. You get a better concentration allowing the comfrey to penetrate the oil for a few weeks.
Clip leaves from the comfrey plant and allow them to dry out fully. You can also purchase dried comfrey on the internet if you don't wish to grow your own.
Once the leaves are dry, chop them up very fine. Place the comfrey into a sterile jar and pour in olive oil to cover. Seal the lid tightly and store the jar in a cool dry place. Twice daily, swirl the jar to stir the mixture – don't overdo it or shake it vigorously, just swirl it around a few times.
At 14-21 days take the jar of oil and strain it through cheesecloth or a very fine strainer. Discard the comfrey pieces and keep the oil for making the salve.
Preparing the Salve from the Prepared Oil
Heat water in a small saucepan on low. Place a sterile jar into the water as a sort of double boiler. Add ¼ cup beeswax and the comfrey infused oil to the jar. Stir the ingredients just until melted. Don't allow the mixture to come to a boil.
Remove it from the heat and add the drops of tea tree oil and stir thoroughly. Pour your mixture into sterile containers. It can be kept for a year.
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