Sunday, May 25, 2008

Harvesting Comfrey

Today I harvested comfrey from our garden to dry. I like to make oils with the dried comfrey leaves: I steep them in olive oil for a few weeks then put them into our massage oil blend. Comfrey is an excellent healer! The homeopathic remedy made from comfrey (Symphytum Officinale - it's botanical name, often shortened to "Symph" in homeopathic lingo) is used to help the body repair broken bones.

To make a great salve for insect bites: mix comfrey oil with plantain oil (made by steeping plantain leaves in olive oil) and heat some grated beeswax into it. When it cools it will be a salve you can use it to rub on mosquito bites - the plantain oil takes away the itch and comfrey helps it to heal. This is actually an excellent remedy for black fly bites (which I used when I lived in Maine) - those bites actually break the skin, unlike mosquito. The plantain I'm referring to is not the tropical plantain similar to the banana. I'm talking about Plantago major and minor, which are weeds that grow everywhere - in lawns as well as in the cracks of city concrete. They are edible and can be used in salads, smoothies and juices! (I've been using them regularly in my juice feast.)

Here is a picture of some beautiful motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) we have growing:

It hasn't flowered yet. Once it flowers, it is great to make a tincture with. You use all the above ground part of the plant; cut it up and steep it in alcohol (I use 100 proof vodka, which is 50% alcohol, 50% water.) A few drops of the tincture is a nice remedy for menstrual cramps and stress, among other things.

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