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Some help with a Comfrey salve disaster  RSS feed

 
William James
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So,
I made this monster last november, and I was able to scrape off the top layer of mostly-bees-wax with a hint of comfrey and that worked pretty well as a salve. In the foto you can see a slight remaining bit of that with a more yellow-ish color.
For the most part, though, it became something like spinach cassarole, but really waxy and oily.

I made the mistake of using fresh, finely chopped comfrey. I probably should have dried it out first.

I kept it in the fridge for a few months and now my wife has sent an eviction order, so I have to figure out what to do with it...she's right as always.

I was afraid it would grow fungus, but that seems not to be the case, as it's been out of the fridge for a week.

As we'll have a bunch of comfrey next year, I'm looking for a way to make this more easily. The first batch took like 3 days of reboiling and generally fooling around with it. Should have followed a recipe.

So, if anyone has ideas of what to do with this thing, I'm all ears. And if you know of a way of turning comfrey leaves into salve that doesn't involve my wife getting angry at me, that would be great as well.

William
comfrey-disaster.JPG
[Thumbnail for comfrey-disaster.JPG]
 
Jessica Gorton
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A couple of thoughts on this...

You can wilt the comfrey before adding it to the menstruum (the oil, in this case) to remove some of the water. Or dry it, if you want to take no chances with water infiltration, but I do like a fresh herb oil.

I make herbal oils without heat, and with fresh plant material, but you have to stir the mixture every day and get all the bubbles out. The water seems to evaporate over time this way, but if you aren't vigilant about the stirring, it will start smelling "off" and you'll need to toss it.

From the picture I can't tell...is the comfrey still in the salve? Once you've made the oil, before adding beeswax, you should strain out the solids. The finely chopped part is good, you want as much surface of the plant exposed as possible.

Okay, after reading Richo Cech's chapter on this in his Making Plant Medicine, he calls for comfrey salve made from dried comfrey (but the recipe says comfrey root, so not sure what he'd do with leaves). He also makes his herbal oils with heat, but only 110 to 120 degrees for a period of a week, stirring daily, and leaving the vessel open to evaporate water if using fresh herbs. He uses a crockpot with a dimmer switch installed (something I don't have).
 
Judith Browning
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There may be a lot of variations on this but mine is to cover freshly chopped comfrey (or any herb) with olive oil in a jar and leave in a sunny window for awhile or, sometimes, keep that same mixture warm (I've heard of using a crock pot) for a length of time but never boil as you mention above The herb should still have it's nice green color in the end. Yours looks as though there might be too much beeswax to oil, maybe. For awhile I added the contents of a vit. E capsule to help preserve. If I make a lot I keep in the refrigerator, but mostly just in a dark cupboard and I try to only make enough for a year or so. Right now I have too much calendula oil but I am adding coconut oil to it and it is a wonderful winter salve for dry hands.

I think if you heated/boiled? it for any length of time that would have driven off any moisture from the fresh herb. The herbalists I know like to use fresh herbs for tinctures and salves whenever possible.
I strain off the herb before adding beeswax...maybe you could still do that and have a nice 'green salve'.

I do use calendula petals dried not fresh, for that oil...I grow it and dry the flowers and then pick off the petals......it is a beautiful color.

 
Judith Browning
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Jessica, I think we were posting at the same time.
I saw this link, below, in the 'similar threads' and it has some ideas also..... http://www.permies.com/t/19040/medicinal-herbs/comfry-Salve.

here's a quote....
I fine chop fresh comfrey and then infuse it for at least two weeks in olive oil. Melt wax in a small saucepan of water and add infused oil slowly until one achieve the desired consistency. I think it turns out to be 2-3 parts infused oil to one part bees wax ... or so.
 
William James
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Oh!
Straining the stuff out of the oil would have worked perfectly! Now I know.

I also like the sun-steeped oil trick. That seems really great. We know someone who does that with st. john's wart.

The mixture is now decidedly way too much physical comfrey. Chuck it?
William
 
Judith Browning
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William James wrote:Oh!
Straining the stuff out of the oil would have worked perfectly! Now I know.

I also like the sun-steeped oil trick. That seems really great. We know someone who does that with st. john's wart.

The mixture is now decidedly way too much physical comfrey. Chuck it?
William


I would probably try gently warming (in a pan, over hot water maybe) and straining and pressing a little...through a tea strainer not cloth or a coffee filter because the bits of comfrey look really fine. Give it a sniff as it warms...if it smells off and not 'green' then 'chuck it' Comfrey can get pretty bad smelling if it has begun to rot.
 
William James
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@Judith
The "pieces" of comfrey are pretty much amalgamated with the beeswax. I not sure I could "wash it out," so to speak. I think I tried that strategy with the last batch and got a lot of the comfrey pieces out, but the ones that were left were just really integrated with the beeswax.

W
 
William James
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My current idea is to overload the comfrey dense blocks with oil. Maybe if I re-boil it or cold press oil into it it will be more "salve-y"

William
 
Judith Browning
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William James wrote:My current idea is to overload the comfrey dense blocks with oil. Maybe if I re-boil it or cold press oil into it it will be more "salve-y"

William


Yes, adding oil should work.........just be sure to 'gently warm' not 're-boil'. It shouldn't take much heat to melt the beeswax, especially if the oil is warmed also before mixing. I often put the beeswax in a metal bowl and set that in water that has just come to a boil (and then turn off the burner) and that will melt it enough. I would add just small amounts of oil at a time and test the consistency by cooling a drop or two in the freezer or refrigerator or outside if you are having winter as we are today
 
William James
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Yeah, I just checked it out 2 minutes ago and it's definitely in the "creating fungus" isle of the supermarket.

Chucking it and doing the oil/sun infusion then drain next year.

Ho hum.
William
 
Acetylsalicylic acid is aspirin. This could be handy too:
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