Using A Comfrey Poultice To Heal Bruises and Injuries Review – Does It Work?

5 out of 5 leaves

5 out of 5 leaves

Comfrey is a perennial herb that has been used for many years in traditional medicine.  It is also sometimes referred to a “knit-bone” because it is said to be very good at promoting healing within when applied to the skin. Comfrey includes a chemical compound called allantoin that has great anti-inflammatory properties, aids in wound healing, and encourages new cell growth.  While comfrey should not be taken internally, or applied to broken skin, a poultice made of it’s leaves can reduce swelling and encourage healing.  How do you make a poultice?  And does a comfrey poultice really work?

The Good

  • Better for you – a homemade poultice contains only ingredients from your kitchen with no added unknown chemicals
  • Better for the earth – homemade is generally a more environmentally friendly solution
  • Saves money – a comfrey poultice is very low cost, especially if you grow the plant in your garden
  • It works! – comfrey has proven healing and pain reduction properties for burns, cuts and bruises (source and source)
  • Comfrey is an easy to grow plant that will return each spring with pretty purple flowers

The Bad

  • Poultices must be made up ahead of time and can be a little messy
  • Comfrey cannot be grown from seeds, and it can be difficult to find a live plant
  • Comfrey leaves should be handled carefully as they have irritating little hairs to scratch you

My Experience

Comfrey Plant (photo source)

I first learned of comfrey about a year ago when my friend Jasmine did a post called Learning Herbs: Comfrey on her cool blog Like a Mustard Seed.  I hadn’t heard of comfrey before, but was super intrigued by all the common uses for topical comfrey application:

  • Arthritis
  • Broken Bones
  • Bruises
  • Bug Bites
  • Burns
  • Chafin
  • Eczema
  • Fractures
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Inflammation
  • Muscle Strains
  • Psoriasis
  • Rashes
  • Skin Tags
  • Sores
  • Varicose Veins
  • Wounds

WOW, right?  And the research confirms that comfrey is a great healer when applied externally.  I knew I had found my first medicinal garden plant!

Finding comfrey for my garden was a little tricky.  You can’t grow it from seeds, so you have to get some roots from another plant.  Comfrey is not well known so you probably have to look for it at a specialized nursery or find it online.  I was able to find it with the herbal nursery folks at my local farmer’s market.  (But still had to ask for it, and have them bring it for me the next week – they were very surprised when I asked for it by name).

The plant has been happy in my garden, even through the mild southern California winter.  I kept waiting for an opportunity to use it, but our family was blessed by a string of months with no major bumps or bruises.  However, with the impending arrival of baby #3 in late winter, I knew I had a significant bruising event coming my way.  I began to prepare poultices to use in healing my perineum after delivery.

What is a poultice?

A poultice is a wet medicated bandage applied to a wound.  Although a common wound treatment historically, we don’t use them much in modern first aid.  They are very easy to make, however, with the right supplies.  Once you have your poultice, you can wrap it against the injured site so it delivers healing benefits directly to the wound.

A comfrey poultice

A comfrey poultice

How to make a poultice:

  1. Harvest and clean your herbs (comfrey in this case)
  2. Grind up the herbs with warm water in a food chopper, or blender.  Add enough water to get everything flowing nicely in the blender.
  3. Mix in flour by hand to form mixture into the thick paste (I used wheat, but rice flour or other types of flour should work just as well)
  4. Spread the mixture between layers of cloth or gauze in the size that you want your poultice to be
  5. Store poultices in freezer between layers of waxed paper if not using immediately

Here’s a quick video I found that shows you how to make and apply a poultice:

I stored my comfrey poultices in the freezer, waiting for the big day.  Well, the big day came, and as expected my perineum was sore, quite swollen and bruised after delivery.  Luckily I made it through this time with no tears or scrapes.  But first aid was needed, so the next morning I tucked a icy poultice into just the right spot, and retreated back to bed with my newborn.

Ahhh!  The icy poultice was COLD in that warm, tender spot, but then so cooling and refreshing!  I left it there for several hours before changing it out for another during my next trip to the bathroom.  By evening’s time tissue that had been red, hot and swollen was back to pink, cool and almost normal size and shape.  A quick peek in a hand mirror confirmed that you almost couldn’t tell that any trauma had happened at all!  I was amazed!  Never had my perineum healed so quickly from a birth.

Overall, making a comfrey poultice was quite easy, and it did an amazing job in speeding the healing of bruised and swollen tissue.  With my comfrey plant going crazy in it’s corner of the garden this spring, I plan to make a large batch of poultices to have in the freezer for any injuries that come our way.  Although I certainly don’t like to see any of my loves hurt, I am very interested to see if the comfrey works just as well on other bumps and bruises.

If you are interested in harnessing the power of comfrey, but don’t have access to fresh leaves, dried comfrey will work just as well!  Just be sure to rehydrate it with hot water before preparing your poultice.  Here’s a link to some dried organic comfrey on Amazon (affiliate link):

Have you ever used comfrey to heal an injury?

Victoria

 

PS – You know I’m not a doctor, right?  This information is based on my experience only and is not intended to diagnose, prevent or treat any medical condition.  Your experience may vary.  Please remember to speak with your healthcare professional about any medical concerns you have, and follow their recommended course of treatment. You can read additional fine print details here.

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14 Responses to Using A Comfrey Poultice To Heal Bruises and Injuries Review – Does It Work?

  1. Carol says:

    I grew up with comfrey. I remember Mum softening the leaves in some hot water (they can be a bit prickly) and then applying them to my brother’s face and making him lay outside in the sun for a bit with his face covered in the softened comfrey leaves. He had bad acne. I can’t remember if it helped his acne or if she had him outside for the added benefit of the sun or if it was because she didn’t want him dripping in the house. He doesn’t have any acne scars so maybe it worked.

    I’ve used comfrey on foot and ankle injuries and found they healed very fast. I blended comfrey leaves and roots and mixed them with some sorbolene cream and then used it as a poultice.

    Every home should have a comfrey plant and an aloe vera plant in the back yard!

    • Victoria says:

      Thanks Carol! It’s great to know it’s worked so well for others. I can’t believe I’d never heard of comfrey until only recently. Are we all so far away from natural healing that such a great tool is virtually unknown now?

  2. Hannah says:

    I used comfrey for after birth healing too! Please consider sharing your comfrey poultice with us at Eco-Kids Tuesday! Hope to see you there!

  3. Robin says:

    Ah! So that’s how it’s done! Thanks for posting this. You are so right about locating a comfrey plant. That was an adventure, but I located several last summer and planted them in the fall when the drought finally broke. Most of them made it through a central Virginia winter and have come back and have started blooming. I will make up a batch of poultices tomorrow and give them a test run on a finger that’s inexplicably very sore. I had no idea you could store them in the freezer. Great post!

  4. my first experience with comfrey was when my first baby was born in April, right around the time comfrey is growing rampant. My midwife harvested a bunch and we made tea with it, then soaked cloth pads which we then froze. The cold and the infused comfrey helps to ease the pain and help the healing ‘down there’ postpartum. :)

  5. Rachael says:

    Found this in the Homestead Barn Hop and HAD to click! I re-read the title multiple times because I could have sworn I was reading some medieval title or something. I’ve heard of comfrey poultices countless times in literature and history, but never in modern life! My mind is back now, and I am SO excited about this! I’m glad it works, and will totally plant comfrey in my own healing garden in the future!

  6. Betsy Price says:

    Such great information! It makes it all sound so doable!
    Thanks so much for teaching it to us!
    Visiting from Titus 2 Linky.

  7. I may have to give this a try. Thanks so much for sharing with Wednesday’s Adorned From Above Blog Hop. We can’t wait to see what you have for us this week. The party starts at 8:00PM tonight.
    Debi and Charly

  8. Thanks for joining in with us over at the Creative HomeAcre blog hop, and showing us how do-able this is, and what an abundance of uses. Look forward to seeing you again this weekend at http://mumtopia.blogspot.com/2013/05/bloghop19thmay.html

  9. Angela says:

    Wow! This is just so great! Thank you for sharing your story and I am so glad the comfrey helped you heal up fast. Way to be prepared mama!
    Thanks for sharing on Natural Living Monday.

  10. Corby says:

    Just a comment that comfrey seeds, roots, and plants can be obtained through Horizon Herbs. I have grown numerous plants from seed that I purchased from them. Check them out-the number of medicinal herbs they ofter are boundless.

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