Can a salve made from comfrey help speed the healing of small superficial cuts, scraps, bruises and even small bone fractures?
For thousands of years this plant, a member of the Borage family, has been known to do just that.
While not always used or made into a salve it has been used on these ailments to great effect. Typically the leaves were crumbled up into a poultice and placed on the wound to speed healing. I find the salve easier and more comfortable to use since the leaves have an annoying prickly surface that is irritating to the skin for some people.
Before I proceed with how I make this salve I have some caveats. I’m not a doctor and I don’t play one on TV. Comfrey is frowned upon by the government. In fact it is outlawed for internal use. DO NOT EAT THIS PLANT. While many people make weak teas with it I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS PRACTICE. The reason for the concerns are compounds called alkaloids. These compounds are KNOWN IN LARGE AMOUNTS BE A CONTRIBUTOR TO CAUSING LIVER CANCER. The studies done with comfrey were on rats. They were given a large portion of their diet in dried comfrey roots and a number of the rodents developed liver cancer. I do not personally ingest this plant and I do not suggest by writing this article that you ingest it either. Since alkaloids accumulate over time in the body it is not recommended that you use the leaves or this salve for more than ten days at a time nor on deep cuts. Do your own research before handling, ingesting, making or using the salve I will describe later in this article.
The compound that makes comfrey so effective is called allantoin. It contains other things as well that help skin cells to regenerate rapidly but allantoin is the main one. Allantoid is often found in commercially bought skin creams but it doesn’t seem as effective as when it is used from the comfrey plant. I believe the combination of chemicals in the plant make the allantoid more effective than if used by itself. Before applying the salve to any wound be sure to thoroughly clean the wound as comfrey will speed up the skin growth to the point of the skin growing over the dirt left in the affected area. This could cause an infection so don’t forget this important step in the healing process. Now how do you make this salve you may ask?
Begin by picking a handful (5 or 6 leaves) of comfrey and cutting it coarsely and putting it in a sauce pan.
Next cover the comfrey leaves with just enough olive oil to submerge them. Then heat on low for about an hour. You do not want to boil the leaves. After the oil is warm just allow the leaves to steep in the oil to extract their beneficial skin healing compounds.
After the leaves and oil warm for an hour strain the mixture through a sieve to remove the leaves. Put the oil back in the pan over low heat and melt in organic bee’s wax. After the wax is melted put a small amount (about a tablespoon) in a bowl, allow it to cool and check to see if it is the consistency you want. If it’s too oily add a little more wax and if it’s to stiff and doesn’t spread on the skin well add a little more oil to the pan and test again. I found a couple tablespoons of wax per cup of oil is about right for me. Finally after you get the consistency right ladle it into jars and start enjoying the skin healing effects of comfrey salve.
Thanks for reading. Be good. God bless.