A comfrey salve is a topical preparation intended to address pain, inflammation, and irritation of the skin and surface wounds. Health food stores may carry comfrey salve and it is also possible to make salve at home. It is important to note that comfrey salve is intended for external use only. Comfrey itself contains compounds which can lead to liver toxicity if it is ingested in large amounts and it is better to be safe than sorry.
People have been using comfrey in herbal medicine for an extended period of time. This herb contains several bioactive compounds, one of which is allantoin, which promotes the rapid growth of cells. Comfrey was often used to treat broken bones because herbalists believed that it made the bones knit faster and it is also supposed to contribute to rapid healing of skin problems on the surface.
Comfrey salve can be applied to areas of pain and inflammation as well as irritation. Minor cuts, scrapes, insect bites, and burns can be treated with comfrey salve. Applying the salve to open wounds may not be advised, however, due to concerns about absorption of comfrey into the body. The salve can also be blended with other herbs which may have antinflammatory or antibiotic properties for the purpose of providing a multipurpose salve for cuts and scrapes.
Before comfrey salve is applied, the wound should be washed and patted dry. To keep the container clean, it is advisable to use a cotton ball to dab into the container and pick up salve, rather than using a finger. After applying the salve, people may opt to leave the wound uncovered to breathe, or to bandage it to protect it from further abrasions and irritants.
People who want to make comfrey salve at home can stew comfrey leaves in olive oil or another carrier oil and then add an equal amount of melted beeswax. When preparing the oil mixture to stew, it is helpful to chop the comfrey up very finely. The mix should be brought just to the bubbling point, but not allowed to boil, and then it should sit for 12 hours. The comfrey should be strained out before blending with beeswax, and a few drops of grapeseed extract can be added to preserve the mixture.
It is advisable to check with a doctor before using any medication, including herbal remedies. There may be contraindications which a patient is not aware of.