How to Make Comfrey Salve

~Order my comfrey salve from my on-line store!~

If I were stranded on a deserted island, this would be the herb I’d choose to have with me! Comfrey is the most amazing healing herb I know of and we never allow our supply to get too low. Although we often use comfrey as a poultice (future post topic), I like to have a simple comfrey salve on hand for every day use.

What is Comfrey?

Comfrey is an herb that heals skin, muscle and even bone. We use it to heal cuts, scrapes, bruises, sprains, sore muscles and we’ve even seen it work wonders on a broken toe.  It has trans-dermal healing properties, meaning that it soaks through the skin, into the tissue and bone. Whatever is injured, comfrey is our herb of choice to heal it quickly. I even used this salve to help heal things up after our second baby was born!

Although some people use comfrey root, I prefer the leaf. It is easier to work with and makes a beautiful green healing salve. We do keep some comfrey root on hand in case of major injury, since it is stronger than the leaf.

*Caution* Comfrey should never be used on an infected or dirty open wound. It increases healing so quickly that it could cause tissue to heal over the top of bacteria and leave an abscess. We always make sure to thoroughly clean any open wounds and use a natural antibacterial salve before applying comfrey.

What You’ll Need

To make a comfrey salve, here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 cups comfrey leaf (add 1/2 cup comfrey root for a stronger salve) *DRIED* Fresh herbs may introduce enough water to the mixture to allow bacteria and mold to grow!
  • 2 cups oil (coconut, almond or olive oil work well. *Update: I made a batch with coconut and almond oil which separated when it melted. I am now sticking to just one type of oil per batch.)
  • 1 tablespoon grated beeswax if using coconut oil or 3 ounces (by weight) if using almond or olive oil (that’s about 2/3 cup grated beeswax or beeswax pastilles)
  • medium saucepan and large pot (a crock pot can be used in place of the large pot)
  • clean dishrag
  • whisk
  • 1 quart mason jar with a metal lid
  • fine mesh strainer
  • containers for the finished salve (jar, tins, etc.)

What To Do

  1. Before beginning, make certain that all your tools and containers are very clean.
  2. Put the comfrey leaf (and root, if using) into the jar and pour the oil in until the jar has just 1 1/2 inches open space at the top. Coconut oil will need to be melted, first.
  3. Apply the lid, tightly, and place the jar in the large pot on top of the dishrag (this keeps the jar from breaking).
  4. Fill the pot with water up to two inches from the top of the jar and turn the burner on low (if using a crock pot, turn it to low or medium).
  5. Allow the comfrey to infuse into the oil for at least 12 hours, up to 24. Do not allow the water to simmer and keep adding water as needed by adding hot water to maintain the water level.
  6. Once the oil is dark green, put the grated beeswax into the medium saucepan.
  7. Pour the oil through the fine mesh strainer and into the saucepan with the beeswax.
  8. Turn the heat onto low and whisk until all of the beeswax has melted.
  9. Ladle or pour the oil into your chosen containers and allow to cool for 24 hours, then apply the lids. (*note: I’ve noticed that if I leave the salve to solidify in a warmer room, it doesn’t turn out looking quite as smooth as when I put it in a cooler room. The effectiveness isn’t affected, either way.)
  10. Keep the salve in a cool, dark place.

 ~Order this salve from my on-line store!~

Have questions? Check out my answers to the questions in the comments and then ask your own, if I haven’t answered it! :-)

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62 comments to How to Make Comfrey Salve

  • I was just getting ready to ask you to link this up, when I refreshed the Eco-Kids Party and YAY! You already did. Thanks so much!

    http://likemamalikedaughter.blogspot.com/2013/03/stamping-fun-at-eco-kids-tuesday.html

  • This looks so helpful! So many salves have lavender in them (which I’m allergic to), so I’m always on the lookout for a good non-lavender version. I’ll have to try this.

    • I have made it with lavender, before, but I do like the simplicity of one-ingredient salves. Sometimes I just want comfrey. :-)

      Thanks so much for the comment, Amy!

  • Thank you so much. I have comfrey out back near the chicken coop. I am going to try it this summer.

  • Lori

    What is the shelf life of this? I tried to click the “Learn more…” link at your store, but it doesn’t seem to be working (at least for me). Would this be good for a sore back? Leg cramps? What kind of aroma? Does the aroma last or dissipate? could you use it on pets? Thanks! I’m glad I found your site!

    • So sorry about that! The link should have brought you back to this page where you could ask any questions you don’t see the answer to, so you did just the right thing. :-)

      It’s fantastic for healing sore muscles.

      I’d recommend the magnesium lotion for leg cramps (works wonders to prevent leg and foot cramps for me!), since they are almost always due to magnesium deficiency. I should have some for sale in my store by the end of the week.

      There is no smell in this batch, but you can add a few drops of essential oil if you make your own. You could even stir a few drops in to a ready-made tin by warming it a bit and then stirring in the essential oil and allowing it to cool and re-solidify. :-)

      I have heard of people using it on dogs, but I have no experience with using it on animals.

      Let me know if you have any more questions, Lori, and thanks for letting me know about the link.

  • I have been wanting to play with Comfrey. Thank you so much for the post! How many tins does this make? How long does it last? How do you store it?

    :) In advance,thank you for your time and help.

    Jennifer

    • I’ve kept mine for about a year before the effectiveness seemed to wear off, but at the time I was using clear jars. Using tins extends the shelf-life more, because then the salve isn’t constantly exposed to light. Short answer, at least a year. ;-)

      If you don’t have tins, I’d suggest keeping it in glass jars and wrapping them in tin foil to keep out the light. A cool place is best, but don’t worry about keeping it in the fridge.

      My batch made almost 30 (1 ounce) tins. A quart jar holds 32 ounces, but a little bit of room needs to be left in the top of the jar and the herbs take some space and absorb a little of the oil. This recipe can easily be doubled or halved, though, to suit your needs.

      Great questions, Jennifer! I hope my answers helped.

  • Sounds like a great salve to have on hand, Justyn. God’s abundant gifts never cease to amaze me!

    • Every time we see it work, we’re amazed by how God gave us so many “secret” gifts to heal us! It’s exciting to learn about them! :-)

      Thanks so much for the comment, Julie!

  • Laurie Smith

    Would this help with lumbar spinal stenosis? Or do you know what would? (natural remedies besides exercise)

    • It would depend on the cause (osteoarthritis, injury, slipped disk, etc.), but it certainly wouldn’t hurt anything to try it. If it were me, I’d also try topical and internal St. John’s Wort for any nerve pain and plenty of turmeric capsules to reduce pain and inflammation.

      Have you heard of NUCCA chiropractors? My dad suffered for years from herniated disks, but he’s been doing very well the last several years by seeing a NUCCA chiropractor every few weeks. I found the link to their website and you can search for one in your area. It’s not the back-cracking chiropractors, so don’t worry. ;-) They very gently press on different areas of the neck, but it makes a huge difference.

  • Great post! Thanks for linking it up with Wildcrafting Wednesday. You have a bunch of good info on your blog. :)

  • Do you think this would work for eczema? I’ve made a lot of different homemade lotions trying to find something to help. I wasn’t sure if you knew anything about the effects of comfrey on eczema. Do you recommend growing your own comfrey. Where is a good source for purchasing some. Thanks!!

    I’m visiting from Fellowship Fridays. I’m going to pin this for future reference.

    • I haven’t had eczema, but I have heard of people using comfrey on it and having success. I haven’t started growing my own, but I plan to start some next year. If I find a good source, I’ll update the post, but I’m not sure where to order the live plant or seeds from. Anybody else know the answer??

      • Phyllis

        My friend ordered some plant starts from ebay a few years ago. They caught on and grew quickly. That was years ago, and she still has some pretty sturdy stock from what I understand. I also remember her saying the deer love them too. Ate up and killed a couple.

  • Stacy Cooper

    Where do you find the tins or jars to hold all your herby goodies, I’ve looked all over and can’t seem to find the small simple ones that work and that can be used more than once.

    • I order the small jars from specialybottle.com but they are more expensive than I’d like. With shipping and handling, they are about $1 per container. The tins are a bit less and can be found at mountain rose herbs (which I linked to in the post) or pretty much any herb supply store. If you are just wanting small containers for yourself and friends/family, you could use the really small canning jars. Just be sure to store them in a dark place, since the light can decrease the medicinal properties of the salve. :-)

  • I am just starting to experiment with medicinal herbs as well, and it’s so fun and exciting to learn new things, then watch them actually work! My question is do you use dried leaves or fresh? Thanks, and I found your blog through Pinterest – must follow now!

  • Laurie

    Thanks Justyn. My dad is skeptical about natural healing methods, but the shots he recently got are not working as well the second time. Unfortunately there are no NUCCA where he lives. What is the antibacterial salve u mention? Thanks.

    • A good pain-relief salve would have st. john’s wort and arnica. The first herb is especially good for nerve pain and the second for muscle pain. I am working on a recipe, now, but I haven’t perfected it, yet. You should be able to buy them from on-line and mix them, though. Taking St. John’s Wort capsules and/or drinking it as a tea might really help him, too.

  • Cherie

    I placed an order for the magnesium lotion, when will the comfrey salve be available? Thanks!

    • Thanks so much for your order, Cherie! I am waiting on the containers to arrive, then I will be fully restocked on magnesium lotion, comfrey salve and my new pain relief salve!! I’m thinking that they will all be done early next week. :-)

  • Kortney

    I noticed you mentioned using a natural antibacterial salve before applying this to cuts/wounds. Do you have a recipe for that too? Thanks so much!!

  • I can’t wait to make this , going to order the ingredients Friday I been waiting til payday. I dropped a pineapple juice can on my foot 3 weeks ago and it still hurts when I put on sneakers. It was bruised up really bad the first day I put ice on it all night , How I wish I had this for it at the time! Ty , u have a wonderful website.

  • A poultice is when u slaugher on extra salve and wrap your foot? I’m new to poultices.

  • Helen

    I am in the process of making this and with 2c. of comfrey and 2 c. of coconut oil in a quart jar it is only filling it half way. Am I doing something wrong?

    • I see what happened. I forgot that I had specified a quart jar, so I was just making sure that people didn’t fill the jar higher than 1 1/2 inches from the top if they were using smaller jars. If it’s filled too high, it can leak out or even burst the jar. You’re doing great! :-)

  • Helen

    thanks. I put it in a pint and a half jar. I will see how that goes. I am very excited about this recipe. I have looked a quite a few and chose yours. Thank you :)

  • Very interesting! Do you think this would work to heal torn cartilage? I have a labral tear in my hip that the surgeon recommended leaving alone instead of having surgery…but it still gives me a lot of grief. :(

  • Terie

    I made this in my crock pot on warm but had to add time and somehow (either human or mechanical error – I am not sure which), when I touched the oil it was pretty hot. How do I tell if I burned it and it is no good?
    Thanks,

    • LOL! I’ve burnt mine, before, and you’ll know it! The herbs will be very dark, almost black, and it will all smell terribly burnt. I left mine on high all night and it wasn’t salvageable. If it’s just really dark green and smells a tiny bit “toasted” you should still be able to use it. :-)

  • Judy

    I heard this was not good for you.

  • Pat

    What is the purpose for the beeswax? TIA

    • The main purpose for the beeswax is to turn the comfrey-infused oil from a liquid to a solid. It’s a bit awkward to try to use a liquid oil when you’re on the go and it’s a bit messy. I can keep the salve in a small tin in my purse without worrying about it leaking. Our family does use just the infused oil as a massage oil, though. The other purpose for the beeswax is that it really helps create a protective barrier for the skin. If I’m treating a scrape or rug burn on my girls, it helps it to heal faster than just the oil.

      I hope that helps! :-)

  • Hope

    Hello, I’ve never used comfrey before. I’m wondering if you know if it will help to heal old bruises. I have several very old bruise marks on my legs that healed up from being blue/purple and scraped skin but there is a brown spot left like it never completely healed. They have been there for a long time, some about 6 months and others about a year or so.

    • I’ve used it for healing up old bruises and it’s worked well for us. I have very light skin, so every little tiny bruise is very visible. I’ve also found that if we apply it before the bruise starts, it often prevents the bruise or keeps it very light.

  • Amy

    So glad to find this recipe! We used to get a comfrey salve from our mid-wife, but she doesn’t make it anymore…and we miss it! A word of caution to those thinking of growing comfrey, our old farmhouse came with a huge patch of comfrey in the back, and it is super invasive. I love it for its medical qualities, and the bees love it, but the deer have never eaten any that I noticed, and this stuff moves around easily through seeds or any part of the stem or roots. The roots go down several feet, so digging up a plant means leaving root bits, which each become another plant! I do know a few folks who have a “domestic” version of comfrey with bigger flowers which doesn’t seem so invasive… One use for the comfrey which we’ve used is a “tea” made from just the leaves left to steep (and rot) in a covered bucket (like a 5 gallon bucket). It stinks, but since the roots go so deep, they bring up lots of trace minerals and make great fertilizer. Just be sure it’s made of only the leaves and no flowers, and strain the solids out to add to the regular compost. Any flowers or stem bits might mean comfrey growing in your compost…. :) Love your herbal information…Turmeric has been real gift for my family.

    • I’m eager to start growing my own comfrey, but I’ve heard that it’s very invasive. We’re trying to figure out where to put it so that it doesn’t take over everything! :-) I recently read about comfrey “tea” for fertilizing the garden and can’t wait to try it- thanks for the details on how to do that!

  • Mihaela

    Thank You!!!! I ordered one of everything from your store last month and just love it all!!!

    Your “Pain-Relief Salve” was such a blessing to my whole family (10 adults and 11 kids, all 10 years old and under) this past week. We where on our yearly one week vacation; lots of summing…..by the end of the day everyone was sun burned and crying in pain…..till I brought out the Comfery Salve….The reaction in the kids was amazing!!!! They went from tears do to the sun burn and “stuff” in other after sun lotions to instant peace.

    One of my nephews was crying and flapping his arms in such pain after my brother put some after sun lotion on him to treat his sun burn; it broke my heart. Then I recalled that I packed the Salves I purchased from your on line store and told him to try it…. my brother said it brought instant relief.
    The next day everyone was using it, all 3 of my brothers family. I only wish I would have purchased more so I could have given each family their own. I gave them all your link so I’m thinking they will be ordering their own soon. ;)

    I’m also hoping to be able to make my own salve. I have 4 Comfery plants growing in my back yard, I’m just not sure how to use the plant.

    It sounds like I need to dry the leaves first. But do I wash the leaves first or just dry them?

    I’ve tried infusing some leaves with extra virgin olive oil but it got very smelly after a few days and some kind of white stuff was growing on the surface. I’m guessing it’s because the leaves where fresh and on top of that, I washed the leaves first.

    Ill take any tips you can give me.

    Thanks for your blog.

    God bless…Numbers 6:24-26

    • Thank you so much for sharing your experience, Mihaela!! I’m thrilled to hear how much they helped your family! :-)

      Yes, the comfrey has to be dried first or else the water content in the fresh herb and the oil makes the perfect breading ground for bacteria and mold. You can rinse the herbs in fresh water first, but be sure to gently pat them as dry as you can after. They need to dry as quickly as possible to keep mold from growing between the leaves, especially if you do the hang-dry method. I’ve done a whole post about drying herbs: http://creativechristianmama.com/fun-things-friday-drying-herbs/

      I’m hoping to grow my own comfrey next year, too. I hope you have lots of success and fun with yours!

      Let me know if you have any other questions and I’ll help as much as I can. :-)

      Blessings,
      Justyn

  • Sandy

    Hi, I just made my first batch of comfrey/calendula salve and it came out great! Thanks for your recipe and answering of all questions related to comfrey, I just didnt realize it was better to use the dry, I used fresh leaves of comfrey and fresh leave of calendula and used the crockpot method for 5/6 hours and then added lavender and rosemary essential oils to the tins before pouring in the salve. Now if I were to label for directions what would I put down that you could use it for, (Eczema, sore musles, sunburns, scrapes ?? anything else?
    Thanks so much for all your help
    God Bless you and your business
    Sandy

    • Hi Sandy! I updated the recipe so that everybody knows to use dried (should have done that in the first place- oops!). In your case, the lavender and rosemary essential oils *might* keep bacteria and mold from growing, but keep a close eye on it. Any time oil and water mix it allows for the possibility of yuckies growing. That being said, I have made water and oil lotions and never had any problem.

      As for directions, comfrey, calendula, lavender eo and rosemary eo would be great for all the things you mentioned, plus bruises. Be sure anybody who uses it knows to keep in away from the eyes, since it has essential oils. It’s not a lot of fun to get those in the eyes. :-)

      Have fun with your herbs, Sandy!!
      Blessings,
      Justyn

  • Ellen

    Can comfrey salve be used vaginally? I read “comfrey ointment” is good for vaginal dryness! Thanks much!

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