It's late August, the sun is still hot, the evening light is orange, and the Comfrey is still going crazy.
This unyieldingly generous plant keeps coming back, and spreading, no matter how often you harvest its leaves for improvised poultices, throw its long hollow stalks into the compost, or even dig away at its root. And regardless of what you think of the pyrrolizidine alkaloid content of this bristly Boraginacea, you can't deny that its topical use is very safe and effective.
I love chewing a Comfrey leaf to put on a bad scrape or superficial wound, you can feel its texture going from almost spiny to green to slimy. And the gel that is created is some of the best medicine for the skin, rich in allantoin, soothing and healing.
My problem was that, during the winter, it gets very difficult to recreate that smooth green gel without access to a fresh plant. The dry leaf approximates it, but isn't nearly as pleasant to chew and simply re-hydrating it doesn't come even close. So for this month's blog party, here's what I came up with for those bushels of Comfrey leaves you've got growing in some corner:
Sparkly Comfrey Powder:
You will need a good, strong blender. A Vitamix is good, but any commercial blender with a sturdy motor will do.
Harvest lots of Comfrey leaves.
Stuff the blender, not too tight, with coarsely chopped leaves.
Add 1 cup of water (for a half-gallon blender)
Blend, pulsing and stirring from time to time, until the mixture is a homogenous mass of green goo.
Press the mass through muslin, so that all the fiber is removed, saving the juice. This stuff should be very dark green and frothy.
Evaporate the moisture from the juice in a slow (150 degree) oven, or in strong sunlight. I use Pyrex pans for this purpose. Depending on how much juice you made, and the size of your pan, this could take all day (or more).
Using a metal spatula, knife, or spoon, scrape the dehydrated juice from the pan once all the water is gone.
Place the scrapings in a smaller container, and dry for another hour at 150 degrees.
Grind the dried Comfrey in a mortar and pestle.
Voila! You're done. This powder, which does seem to sparkle when in direct light, re-hydrates quickly to a slimy mass. Try 4-5 drops of water on a 1/4 tsp. dab of the powder. It also quickly colors pale oils, like sweet almond oil, a nice green color and makes a very good addition to salve recipes. Finally, I like to sprinkle it directly on bad scrapes I get during the winter months, where it quickly stops light bleeding and gets nice and mucilaginous, unlike the dry leaf.
Just remember: don't use Comfrey preparations on deeper wounds, puncture wounds, etc... as it will very likely cause an abscess to form.
The final product, infused for 15 minutes into sweet almond oil. On the right is a heaping spoonful of the re-hydrated powder, ready for use!