… and how to use it
It is easy to learn how to make a comfrey poultice and I will explain how to use it. It is a great way to get the healing benefits of an herb externally where there are cuts or bruising, a broken bone, inflammation, or minor burns. Comfrey has amazing health supporting properties like allantoin. (more on that below) The herb literally increases the speed of cell production to allow the body to heal much quicker. It is known as a “cell proliferant”.
Warning! Icky boo boo photographs below!
What is a Poultice?
If you are wondering what a poultice is exactly, you are definitely not alone.
Although they have a history of medicinal use dating back thousands of years, many people in our “modern age” have no clue what they are.
If you are applying a poultice to an open wound, be sure to use a clean cloth if making a compress. Do not apply any type of paste or cloth poultice to a wound that appears to be seriously infected, especially comfrey. Comfrey is so good at it’s job that it will seal the wound up too fast sometimes trapping bacteria inside the wound, and you DON’T want that!
Think of a comfrey poultice as a homemade healing paste to be applied externally. The herb is usually wrapped in cloth and placed on a specific area of the skin. It is then left on the skin for an extended period of time.
Some of the most common applications for using a poultice are burns (even sunburn), skin lesions, pus, abscesses, and insect bites and stings.
Before the advent of modern medicine, poultices were also known as drawing salves. This is because they drew out unwanted debris (wounds, boils, ulcerations, bites, and abscesses) from the skin wound. It is now known that poultices increase circulation which, in turn, increases oxygen to the area being treated.
You can use a blender or a food processor to make your comfrey poultice but it is not entirely necessary to have any machinery because you can make this by hand. This can also be made with a mortar and pestle or by crushing the leaves in a bowl or bag.
This ancient first aid remedy was common in biblical times. It is even mentioned in the bible. -2 Kings 20:7
And Isaiah said, Take a lump of figs. And they took and laid it on the boil, and he recovered.
A note about allantoin…
Allantoin, aka aluminum dihydroxy allantoinate, is a naturally derived additive found in tons of over-the-counter (OTC) skin care products. It can be extracted from plants like:
- wheat sprouts
- tobacco seed
But most allantoin you buy is not plant based. It is created in a lab from urea or glyoxylic acid — two compounds found in animal urine. 😬 (REALLY gross!) And while it is (arguably) useful when it comes to skin care. It is so much better when it is used synergistically the way the plant makes it.
How To Make a Comfrey Poultice:
- Pick fresh comfrey leaves. The amount of leaves you pick will determine how large the poultice will be.
- If you are using a blender or food processor, tear the leaves into smaller pieces and add a bit of water to the machine to make the pulverizing of the leaves easier on the machine.
- If you are using a mortar and pestle, tear the leaves apart and put them into the mortar.
- If you are using a plastic bag, tear the leaves apart and put them into the bag. Squeeze out as much of the air as possible.
- For the blender or food processor, chop the leaves until they become a bit pasty. You will still see pieces of leaf and it is finished when the amount of liquid has increased slightly from the leaves.
- If you are using a mortar and pestle, grind the leaves until they release their liquid and become mushy.
- If you are using a plastic bag, smash the leaves with something hard like a mallet, a rolling pin or a rock. Keep moving the leaf around in the bag and smashing it until the liquid is released and the leaves are mushy.
- No matter what method you have used to create your comfrey poultice, the next steps are the same. Remove the leaves from whatever you had them in and place a piece of cheesecloth, gauze or other very thin material on one side of the poultice.
- Place the fabric side against the skin on the area of the body that you want to treat.
- Cover the top with either another piece of fabric and wrap another, longer piece around the poultice and the body part that it is applied to so it stays in place.
- Leave the poultice on for anywhere from 4 hours to overnight.
- Repeat this daily and there will be a remarkable, quick healing with the issue that is being treated.
How To Use a Comfrey Poultice
Start with a boo boo… this was a nasty skin rash that was angry, weeping, and on the verge of infection.
After you’ve mixed up your paste … apply it to the area you want to work on.
After you’ve applied the comfrey paste cover it with something that won’t leak. Here I used a gauze with leak proof backing. You can use anything that will keep it from getting all over everything, it depends on how large an area you’re working with… a zip lock bag, an old grocery store bag, saran wrap from your kitchen works well especially on a large area.
And, finally, wrap it up in an ace bandage to keep it from moving around. If I can keep this on a seven year old boy, I’ll bet you can keep it on too. 😉
The only thing to do now is wait. 🙂 The minimum amount of time to keep a poultice on is 15-20 minutes. But if you can keep it on for four to six hours, even better! This was a treat time (almost!) for my grandson after applying his comfrey poultice.
A comfrey poultice provides an essential plant medicine that no household should be without. If you’d like to learn how to make up comfrey poultices for future use see, A comfrey leaf poultice when you need it.
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