My Journey to comfrey, and what brought me there.
Most of my life I have dealt with back, shoulder and neck pains. I have gone to chiropractors, practiced yoga and tried many things to help me but was always searching for remedies to help ease my pain. I first heard of Comfrey when I was WWOOFing a few years ago. My friend showed me her “National Geographic Guide to Medicinal Herbs” and we read up on this plant.
This was the plant that I had been searching for.
All of my wishes were answered in this book. I learned that Comfrey has been used for centuries to ease joint pain, it’s anti-inflammatory properties will ease swelling. On top of that Comfrey contains allantoin, a chemical that helps tissues regenerate and heal. (1) This was recorded by the Roman naturalist, Pliny the Elder in 400B.C. He discovered that when comfrey roots were boiled in water, a sticky paste was produced that could bind pieces of meat together.
Many cultures over the centuries used comfrey as a poultice on wounds, bruises and broken bones. In the 1970’s scientists found the compound Pyrrolizidine alkaloids in comfrey. Which when ingested by rodents daily gave them liver tumors and in 2001 the US banned orally taken products that contained comfrey.
My National Geographic book gave me so much information and it is still my go to book for all things medicinal plants. It gave me a recipe for salve on the comfrey page. Beeswax salve mixed with comfrey, lavender and calendula infused oil. That’s when I made my first batch of salve. It felt like magic going on my skin. Now every morning I start my day by rubbing my medicinal salve on my lower back, shoulders and neck along with stretching and massage. This has been my only relief over the years. I will never live without my magical salve. On top of comfrey, lavender and calendula I have added CBD cannabis, St john’s wort and arnica to my salve recipe. I add the comfrey to a double boiler with a coconut oil blend and simmer for at least 40 minutes. Let that cool and pour the oil over the other herbs in a jar and macerate for about a month. Then I strain the herbs out and add shea butter to solidify the salve.
I’ll be making a new batch very soon,
(1) Johnson, Rebecca L., et al. National Geographic Guide to Medicinal Herbs. National Geographic Books, 2012, pp. 212–15.