This week we delve into how comfrey’s beautiful leaves can be used and shared with your friends and family. Last week we looked at how you can use all of your comfrey roots to stop them from spreading in your garden. Remember, if you really want to reduce comfrey from taking over your garden you need to remove the roots consistently. They will still keep growing back but in less and less quantity.
Comfrey is a fabulous plant with a rich history of use within The United States, long before it was called The United States. 150 years ago, comfrey was even used in surgery and was applied topically to the bone to heal bones together. This is no longer done but has led to a misconception that topical use of comfrey will be effective for bone healing. Comfrey works wonderfully at healing locally where it is applied and not deeper under the skin.
Preparing your Leaves:
- Harvest your leaves by cutting off the roots for separate preparation. I choose to remove the main vein of the leaf for easier drying. This vein can easily be composted or dried separately from the leaf blade. You may want to wear gloves for this step of the processing as comfrey can feel prickly with frequent handling.
- Lay leaves flat on a screen (I took off my screen door and set it on chairs) so that there is air flow on the top and bottom of the leaves for easier drying. Make sure the humidity is not high in the room and that the air flow is not so high that leaves will blow when they are dry. Leaves should be fully dry (if vein removed) within 36-48 hours.
- Leaves can then be crumpled and should easily break when dry. These crumpled leaves can be stored in glass jars or ground into a powder using a high-powered blender and stored in the freezer for freshness.
Using your Leaves:
- Just like with comfrey roots, comfrey leaves can be made into an infused oil, slave, liniment, or poultice using the dry herbs.
- Fresh comfrey leaves can be used as a band aid wrap directly on a wound while other treatment is prepared or accessed.
- Fresh comfrey leaves can be spread over ground under mulch as a fertilizer. It can be ground or the leaves can be spread as a shade layer to reduce weeds from growing up through the mulch.
- Bind 4-6 leaves together with twine, when half dried. Allow to fully dry in bundle so it will not crack. Provide these to friends and family members so they have a lovely way to store their comfrey to use for their own infused oils or even use as a fire starter packet.
If you are interested in learning more about herbal preparations you may want to consider an internship with The Dancing Herbalist or a private class session. If you would like to see if using comfrey is right for you on a regular basis be sure to contact us for a consultation with one of The Dancing Herbalist’s Herbalists.