All Purpose Comfrey Salve RecipeSkin Health
When it comes to salves, I much prefer one that will work for nearly all situations and challenges the skin may encounter. This simplifies things considerably and means the kids know exactly what to grab and use when they have a skin problem as opposed to a medicine cabinet full of tubes and jars that they need to fish through to find the right one.
A couple of years ago, I discovered a comfrey salve that functions in this manner. I originally purchased it from a local herbalist-in-training and over time, have found it to be the most effective salve I have ever tried.
My family and I have discovered that this comfrey salve works so well that we basically don’t use anything else when we have a skin problem, whether sunburn, bruise, insect bite, windburn, mild rash or a kitchen scalding. In fact, anytime I bump or burn myself, I get this salve on the area as fast as possible as more often than not, it will prevent any sort of bruise or burn from forming.
One time a few months ago I scalded about one-third of my hand on hot bone broth while straining it from the stockpot into a glass bowl. I thought for sure my hand would be burned for weeks and possibly even scarred. I can’t even begin to describe how much it hurt. Fortunately, I put a generous amount of this comfrey salve on it fast and kept reapplying until the pain subsided (which took awhile). Would you believe, the skin never turned that beet red/purple color that usually indicates a bad burn. What’s more, the skin never even peeled.
Unfortunately, my herbalist friend is no longer making her homemade creations, so I’ve had to learn to make this comfrey salve myself (she generously shared her recipe with me). This turned out to be a good thing, as it is super easy to do even if you have little to no experience using herbs medicinally.
Incidentally, this comfrey salve makes a wonderful gift, so if you choose to make it, make a big batch so you will have a ready stash for holiday or birthday giving.
Why Comfrey for a Salve?
Used for millennia to help heal burns, sprains, bruises and even slight bone fractures, comfrey contains allantoin which is thought to speed up production of new cells. It’s also known as knitbone. Even its Latin name, symphytum, is derived from the Greek, “symphis”, meaning growing together of bones, and “phyton,” meaning plant.
Other Important Herbs in Comfrey Salve
The healing power of comfrey to the skin and connective tissues is enhanced by five other herbs contained in this salve recipe.
- Echinacea both in its root (more potent) and leaf form is included to provide natural antibiotic properties.
- Yarrow flower also helps counter infection, stop pain and encourage rapid healing particularly with sunburn and kitchen burns.
- Rosemary leaf brew is an effective wash for the skin and wounds of all kinds. It also acts as a natural preservative for the salve.
- Plantain leaf when included in an ointment helps to counter stings, stop itches, heal wounds, and relieve pain.
- Calendula flower is included because it is useful on all external skin problems and injuries but especially those that are red, tender, and oozing. This helpful herb will also help to heal burns, bruises, and sprains. Calendula decreases swelling, clears infection, speeds tissue regeneration, and prevents scarring.
While you are welcome to include any other herbs you feel would be helpful in an all purpose salve, these are the ones I have found to be super effective. As I mentioned before, this comfrey salve is the only one we currently use in our house for anything skin related.
Comfrey Salve Recipe
Makes about 2 cups of salve
Comfrey leaf (recommended source for the herbs in this recipe)
Yarrow Flower (white variety)
Rosemary Leaf (natural preservative)
Virgin coconut oil or olive oil (suggested sources)
Beeswax, preferably organic (optional)
Dutch oven or crockpot
Mason jar with non-BPA lid (like these)
Fill mason jar two-thirds full of the herb mix above in roughly similar amounts. Gently liquify the oil if necessary (coconut oil liquifies at 76 F/24 C).
Add the oil until it fills the mason jar. Leave one inch at the top. Screw on the lid tightly.
Place an old rag in the bottom of a dutch oven or crockpot (I like this one) and place mason jar on top. Fill the crockpot with water until it is filled to one inch below the top of the jar.
Keep on low heat (be very careful not to boil the oil as it needs to be hot to infuse the herbs, but never boiling) for 72 hours. As water evaporates, add more water to maintain the proper level.
Enjoy … your kitchen will smell lovely as the herbs release their medicinal properties into the oil.
After 3 days, the oil will be darkened and ready to use. Strain out the herbs using a cheesecloth or an old white cotton shirt.
The comfrey infused oil may now be used as is for a wonderful massage oil.
To transform the oil into a salve, you need to add beeswax (get it here). Depending how much oil you have once the herbs are strained out, add 3 ounces/85 grams of grated beeswax for every cup of oil. Warm the mixture together in a medium sized pot on low heat until the wax is melted. Stir gently to distribute the wax evenly. Add a drop of Vitamin E oil or wheat germ oil per 1 ounce/28 grams of oil if you desire additional natural preservative effect beyond what the rosemary provides.
While the salve is still warm, pour into your containers of choice (I prefer these).
Let the containers sit until the oil hardens. Screw on the lids and be sure to label and date each one.
Don’t Want to Make Comfrey Salve?
There isn’t anything commercial on the market that can compare to homemade. However, if you just don’t have the time to make your own comfrey salve, you can buy a couple of similar ointments on the market.
My Mother-in-Law swears by Christopher’s Complete Tissue & Bone ointment which contains a generous amount of organic comfrey. In addition, this brand of comfrey creme will produce good results as well.
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
Traditional Remedies for Modern Families by Sarah Pope
Wise Woman Herbal by Susun Weed
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