Thursday, June 16, 2011

Making Comfrey Oil

Do you know this plant?
It is sometimes called 'knitbone'
and the most common name is
Comfrey (Symphytum officinale)
has a long history of healing
wounds and I have used it to
heal the top of a finger that got
caught on the wrong side of a
French knife.
So when The Big Guy had severe
skin problems on his face–a
nasty red rash that was itchy and
got worse every time he was
stressed–he used comfrey oil
as a salve.

The Big Guy digs!

You will likely not be able to get the entire root. Much of this root snapped off, but we were still left with a significant amount of root with which to make the comfrey oil.

It is this strong taproot that makes it so difficult to completely remove comfrey from the garden once it has taken a hold. Wherever the root snaps off, a new shoot will appear!

The root is about ten times stronger than the leaves, but I have used the leaves as a poultice on cuts and scrapes.

Using a hose, preferably outside, wash off as much dirt as you can from the root before bringing it inside. Scrub the root using a brush and warm soapy water.
There will be some dirt that clings to the inside of the hollow parts of the root, but it will settle to the bottom of the jar and can be strained out with the chopped root after the oil is infused.

Chop the root into rough pieces that are about 1/2-inch in size.

Fill a mason jar about 2/3 full with the chopped comfrey root. Pour oil over and leave about a 1-inch headspace. I am using sweet almond oil for this comfrey because it will be used on the face. I like sweet almond oil for salves and oils that will be made into creams for the face. For oils and creams that will be used on the hands or feet, olive oil or other vegetable oil is fine.

Cap the jar and leave in a sunny window or in the sun in the garden to steep. The active and healing components from the root will infuse the oil in about 1 or 2 weeks. After that, you can strain off and discard the root parts and store the comfrey oil in the refrigerator.

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