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Cure Burns with Slippery Elm and Comfrey

Updated on September 6, 2019
Comfrey flowers
Comfrey flowers

Both slippery elm and comfrey are noted for their healing powers, both internally and externally.


Slippery elm is the inner bark of the slippery elm tree, or Ulmus rubra, and is an ancient Native American remedy for wounds of all kinds. Comfrey is an herb with lovely blue spring flowers. Both the leaves and the root have a long European tradition for wound healing. The root is considered to have more healing power than the leaves.

Both slippery elm and comfrey may be purchased from herb dealers or at health-food stores. Slippery elm is sold both in the form of dried shredded bark and as powdered bark. Comfrey may be purchased as the dried leaf, the dried chopped root, or as the powdered root.

Comfrey is one of the easiest of all herbs to grow in the garden and produces lovely blue flowers. It will gradually spread to produce a large patch. Plenty to give away!


Both herbs may be used internally, to soothe and heal internal tissues. Comfrey has a long history of internal use for diarrhea, dysentery, consumption, lung troubles generally, and for ulcers of the stomach and duodenum. It also enjoys high repute as an external wound healer. Allantoin, of comfrey’s constituents, acts as a cell proliferant to hasten the repair of tissues.

Slippery elm enjoys the same reputation. Taken internally, in the form of elm water or tea (one teaspoon of the powdered root, dissolved in a cup of water), it heals internal tissues: the stomach, intestines, lungs, and urinary tract. Slippery elm water or tea heals cold sores by healing the digestive tract, cures stomach ulcers by killing Helicobacter pylori (the bacteria believed to cause most stomach ulcers), soothes irritated lungs, and irritations of the urinary tract. Externally, it is one of the finest wound healers.

I have used both slippery elm and comfrey to heal many internal and external conditions.


Either slippery elm or comfrey alone works well as an application for wounds, burns, and many other skin affections. I prefer to use both, if I have both on hand.

While there are several ways to make preparations for external use, here’s my favorite: Use powdered slippery elm bark and powdered comfrey root. Mix equal parts of the powders together. Now add enough water to make a thick paste, and apply this paste to the wound or burn and allow it to dry.

Once this paste has dried, it will form a kind of natural bandage that sticks to the skin. This poultice should be replaced every 12-24 hours. If left on too long, it shrinks and pulls at the skin—sometimes enough to cause the skin to crack.

It may take a bit of doing to wash off the dried poultice. Wash it off with lots of water, or soak in water to help remove it.


I have used a paste made of slippery elm and comfrey root powders to heal a variety of skin problems. In one instance, I used it to heal a severe allergic reaction on my hands. I have used slippery elm powder alone to draw out infected wounds and boils. I have used slippery elm tea alone to heal lung irritation caused by bronchitis.

Recently, a neighbor mentioned that he had a severe burn on his leg and feared it would become infected. I applied a paste made from a combination of slippery elm and comfrey root powders to the large and inflamed burn, which healed in about 24 hours.

Both slippery elm and comfrey should be kept in the home medicine cabinet or first-aid kit, for all these uses, and also to draw the poison out of bug and spider bites, and bee stings.


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    • blueheron profile imageAUTHOR

      Sharon Vile 

      3 years ago from Odessa, MO

      I am so happy to hear that this worked for you!

      Yes, slippery elm is amazing stuff! About a teaspoon mixed with water and taken internally soothes and heals the digestive tract, lungs, and urinary tract. It's one of the essentials for the herbal medicine chest.

      Recently I tried something new on a minor injury (or sore) that didn't seem to be healing, after about a week. (I think it was probably a lye burn, since I make soap.) I put pine resin on it. I have a pine tree just outside my door, and there is always a little sticky resin where some of the lower branches were removed. A dab of the resin healed the sore in about 24 hours. Another remedy that is supposed to be excellent for burns and other injuries is tamanu oil, but I haven't had a chance to try that yet.

    • profile image

      john zimmerman 

      3 years ago

      I found this article last week after burning all the skin off a small part of the top of my finger. It was 3 days after I burned my finger and there were no signs of healing so I was worried. I had read of miraculous healings with slippery elm so I did a search and found your article but did mot believe in a 24-hour healing as which you mentioned. I applied the herb and after 24 hours it was not healed but a new layer of skin had miraculously formed. I had never seen such white, soft, delicate skin and was not at first sure it was skin. The next day I accidentally hit the spot with a piece of wood and the new delicate skin came off. A new layer reformed and I accidentally knocked part of it off and again after that. So I bought a metal protector and it will finally have a chance. I have read that the skin has to e kept from healing over and drying out for the herb to work. I have learned Slippery elm is a miracle worker.


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