This year we discovered a new home remedy we're very excited about: comfrey. And by making an easy comfrey infused oil, we now have the ability to effectively address a wide variety of topical skin concerns and pain!
10 Ways to Use Comfrey Infused Oil
Comfrey infused oil is an extract of the comfrey plant made by soaking dried leaves in oil for a period of time which causes the plant material to deposit its beneficial compounds into the oil.
We were shocked to learn just how many ways comfrey oil can rock your natural medicine cabinet!
- High allantoin content encourages new skin cell growth
- Helps maintain healthy skin and reduces dermal inflammation
- Highly recommended for topical treatment of all bug bites, including spider bites
- Works to prevent scars and heal existing ones
- Often used to help bruises heal faster
- Promotes healing in injured muscles and ligaments
- Can be applied to fractured bones, especially in areas that can't be casted (like ribs)
- Great for rashes, superficial wounds and scratches
- Helps relieve minor muscle aches and strains, and is a great overall remedy for muscle soreness
- Has even been reported to help relieve the aches and pains of arthritis sufferers
NOTE: Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not use comfrey oil.
It's important to mention the hot debate on whether it's safe to ingest comfrey or not. Some assert that comfrey should not be used internally because the plant (especially the root and first spring leaves) contains potentially hazardous substances called pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs). In some circles, it's believed that PAs are dangerous when processed through the organs and can cause damage to the liver and other serious health effects. Other circles don't agree with this line of thinking, but we're erring on the side of caution and recommending external use exclusively. We also suggest using those first spring leaves as garden soil conditioner (incorporate them into the dirt), and harvesting the second-growth for making your comfrey infused oil instead.
How to Make Comfrey Infused Oil
Harvest and dry the comfrey leaves to be infused (or purchase dried organic comfrey leaves here). Dehydrating minimizes the risk of developing dangerous bacteria in the oil during storage, and minimizes the chance of the oil going rancid over time.
Combine Dried Leaves and Oil
Crush or break apart the leaves and place in a sterilized jar. Fill half way without packing too tightly. Be sure to use an appropriate sized jar for the amount of dried herbs you have to reduce the exposure to air trapped in the jar during the infusion process.
Cover the dried leaves completely with certified organic olive oil, and ensure it has a minimum of 1/4″ of oil over the top of the leaves. The leaves will absorb the oil and settle to the bottom of the jar during this process. You can add additional oil if needed to ensure a minimum of 1/4″ oil on top. Our favorite brand of organic olive oil is Bragg's (we get ours at Lucky Vitamin, of course!).
Infuse the Oil
- Place a piece of wax paper over the jar opening (to act as a gasket), and screw the lid on tightly.
- Label the jar with the type of herb infusion, start date and ready-on date for easy tracking.
- Place the jar in a paper sack (or some type of sun shield) and set in a warm to hot location for 10 days. We do our infusions in the summertime so the warm temperatures outside can do the work.
- Vigorously shake the mixture up to three times per day to help the infusion along.
Strain the Infusion
- On the 10th day, strain the soaked comfrey from the oil. Using cheesecloth for your straining material, place it on top of another sterilized jar and use the jar lid (rim only) to hold the cheesecloth in place, and dump the infused oil and comfrey leaves onto the cheesecloth. Remove the lid rim and gather the cheesecloth at the top to enclose the soaked leaves; squeeze well to remove as much of your precious infusion as possible. The discarded comfrey and the used cheesecloth are excellent for composting. Use them if you can!
- At this time, cap the strained infusion and let it sit undisturbed in a cool dark location for at least one day. This allows for the sediment particles to settle at the bottom.
Second Infusion (Optional)
You can optionally start your second infusion now. Just follow the same steps, but use the infused comfrey oil in place of fresh olive oil on top of your new batch of dried herb. Go ahead and pour all of your previously infused oil into the sterilized second-infusion jar.
Strain the Second Infusion
On the 10th day, strain the second infusion from the oil using the same cheesecloth method, and get ready to bottle your finished comfrey oil.
Bottle the Finished Oil
- Time to bottle! Use a baster to remove oil from the top so as not to stir up the sediment sitting at the bottom, and fill your preferred dark-colored glass bottles (find them at SKS Bottle). Remove as much clear oil as possible during this process and dispose of the remaining bit with the sediment that's leftover.
- To help preserve your infused oil, add 2-3 drops of concentrated grapefruit seed extract per 1 oz of liquid, cap tightly, label your jar and store in a cool, dark location until ready to use.
- With this method, your oil infusion should last 2-3 years. AWESOME!
Have you tried your hand at making herb infused oils?