Learn how to make Comfrey Infused Oil. In this post, I’ll talk about the various methods you can use to make herbal infused oil and also list a bunch of carrier oil options that you can use in your comfrey oil.
As a gardener, I’m pretty busy in spring, summer, and fall. Every winter, however, I FINALLY have time to make herbal remedies to prepare for the coming year.
This includes salves, herbal teas, tinctures, etc….and especially salves. They last for at least a year, so I can make them when I have time in the winter, and then use them when I need them for the rest of the year.
Here’s the problem: The herbal remedy recipes will call for infused oils with plants that are only available in my yard/garden during the spring and summer. Boo!
So, this spring, I made the time to gather plants for all of the following infused oils: Plantain Infused Oil, Comfrey Infused Oil, and Dandelion Infused Oil. I am going to make all three of these infused oils on the SAME DAY. That way, I can get three things done at the same time, and I will still have time to do all of my gardening chores. Booyah. (NOTE: This summer, I’ll make Calendula Infused Oil and Yarrow Infused Oil in one day, too).
How to Make Comfrey Infused Oil
I have an unfinished post about how to grow comfrey (and why you should grow it!), and someday I’ll get that posted for you all. Life is so busy, and sometimes these things get pushed farther and farther down the chore list. 🙂
So here’s a great post from another awesome gardener about why you should grow comfrey. Basically, comfrey attracts pollinators and other beneficial insects; it’s a fantastic nutrient-rich plant that makes great fertilizer; and it’s a wonderful herbal remedy plant for both people and livestock.
I was told that it is difficult to grow comfrey from seed, so, of course, that was a delightful challenge for me to conquer. Out of the 50 seeds in the packet, I managed to successfully grow 2 comfrey plants. That’s all I needed to start, since it’s spreading from the seeds it constantly drops. Soon I will have too much comfrey, and I will be pulling it up and giving it away to anyone who will take it. This sounds like a pretty awesome problem to have.
Why I am Making Comfrey Infused Oil:
According to the great herbalist Rosemary Gladstar (in her book Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health):
- Comfrey facilitates and activates the healing of damaged tissues, bones, and joints.
- It is one of the best herbs for treating torn ligaments, strains, and bruises.
- Comfrey helps speed the healing for many things, including: broken bones, poison ivy, scrapes, damaged joints, muscle pains, etc.
Since Comfrey is so helpful with skin and deep muscle/joint/bone issues, I plan on using it in my salves this winter. I’ll make sure to include those recipe links in this post when I have them finished, but in the meantime, here’s a list of great salves/recipes that use Comfrey Infused Oil:
- How to Make Comfrey Plantain Salve: This recipe is a great all-purpose remedy for your home. It also uses Plantain Infused Oil.
- How to Make Black Drawing Salve: This is especially good for drawing out splinters. It uses Plantain, Comfrey, Calendula Infused Oils and other items.
- How to Make a Skin Soother Salve: This recipe is used as an ointment for scrapes and cuts. It uses Plantain, Comfrey, and Calendula Infused Oils.
- Soothing Comfrey Cream: Use this recipe to sooth muscle pains and bug bites. It uses only Comfrey Infused Oil.
- DIY Natural Neosporin Recipe: This recipe uses both Comfrey and Calendula infused oils to make a homemade version of neosporin.
I love learning how to make my own herbal remedies. If you want to grow in confidence in being an at-home herbalist for your family and friends, I strongly recommend taking a course from The Herbal Academy. They have many courses available, from beginner courses to intermediate and even clinical herbalism classes. They also have quicker courses about things like foraging, skin care, perfume making, and more.
Check out The Herbal Academy to find the perfect herb course for you. They are totally worth it!
Here is a list of amazing herbalist books to look into for more info on the health benefits of various herbs, too:
- Rosemary Gladstar, Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health: 175 Teas, Tonics, Oils, Salves, Tinctures, and Other Natural Remedies for the Entire Family
- Thomas Easley, The Modern Herbal Dispensatory: A Medicine-Making Guide
- Matthew Wood, The Practice of Traditional Western Herbalism: Basic Doctrine, Energetics, and Classification
- Andrew Chevallier, Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine: 550 Herbs and Remedies for Common Ailments
- Maria Noël Groves, Body into Balance: An Herbal Guide to Holistic Self-Care
How to Make Comfrey Infused Oil:
- Decide how much Comfrey Infused Oil you will need and find a glass jar that fits those needs. Since I will be combining it with other infused oils, I am using a pint-sized mason jar.
- Harvest the comfrey leaves on a dry and sunny afternoon. Use a scissors to cut the comfrey leaves into pieces.
- Allow the comfrey pieces to dry for 1-3 days on a tray or herbal drying screen. **(see note at end of post about dry vs. fresh herbs for infusion oils)
- If you do not own comfrey, you can purchase dried comfrey leaves from Mountain Rose Herbs.
- Use one of the following Infusion methods with your Comfrey Infusion Oil:
This is an old-fashioned way of making Infused Oils. Fill your glass jar half full with the herbs/plants and and then completely cover them with your oil (good quality olive oil is the my favorite) right up to the brim.
Use a spoon or butter knife to gently stir the plants to make sure there are no air pockets. Cover tightly. Place the jar in a warm and sunny spot and let it steep for 4-6 weeks. Check it every few days and gently shake it to encourage the plants to release their medicinal benefits.
After 4-6 weeks, strain the oil through some cheesecloth, and make sure to wring that cheesecloth good and tight to get every last precious drop of your medicinal oil.
This is used to be my preferred method. It always makes me feel like I’m being very old-fashioned and I loved using the power of the sun to make my herbal infused oils. However, after a few batches of rancid herb infused oil, I now use the dark cupboard method instead (mentioned in detail below).
If you want to do the solar-infused herbal oil, I strongly recommend that you use VERY dry comfrey leaves. Let them dry on your counter, tray, or screen for at least 3 days before using them with this method. Every little bit that the comfrey leaves are dried out, the less likely that water in the flowers will mold your herbal infusion. Also, make sure you use a good-quality oil to reduce the chance of it going rancid in the sun.
Traditional Dark Cupboard Method Infused Oils:
This is another old-fashioned way to make herbal infused oils. Fill your glass jar half-full with comfrey leaves that have been dried at least 1-3 days. Next, fill the jar almost all the way to the top with your chosen oil.
Use a spoon or butter knife to gently stir the plants to make sure there are no air pockets. Cover tightly. Put your infused comfrey oil in a dark and cool cupboard for 4-6 weeks.
Gently shake your infused oil every few days. The good thing about doing this in a dark and cool cupboard is that it helps prevent heat and light from degrading the herbs and/or making the oil go rancid.
Double-Boiler Method Infused Oils:
**This is a the quick method for making Infused Oils, best for those times you need an Infused Oil ASAP.
Place the herbs and olive oil in a double boiler and bring very slowly to a low simmer. Slow slow SLOWLY heat for at least 30-60 minutes, check it frequently to make sure the oil is not overheating.
The basic rule here is that the lower the heat and the longer the simmering can happen, the better and medicinally-stronger the oil will be. If your stovetop gets too hot, it might destroy the medicinal properties of the plant, so please remember to keep it on low!
Then strain the oil through some cheesecloth, and make sure to wring that cheesecloth good and tight to get every last precious drop of your medicinal oil. This is the method that I used for my Sore Muscle Salve.
Other methods I’ve seen:
**I’ve read of people using crockpots. You should place a towel on the crockpot bottom, put the jars with tight covers in the crockpot, and add water to half way up the jars. Put on the lowest setting for 12-24 hours. I’ve also read of people using yogurt makers in a similar way. These versions just need to make sure the heat is LOW.
Other tips for your Comfrey Infused Oil:
**Make sure to label your jars with the name and when you made it (otherwise you will end up like me: finding dusty jars of liquid and no idea what it is!). You certainly don’t want to get your jars mixed up, plus, it helps you know when the oil might be expired.
**Check your Solar infused oil every few days for mold. If you see a small spot of mold, remove that herb/plant part and the mold, and you *should* be okay. However, if there is lots of mold, sadly, the infused oil needs to be thrown away.
**Keep your Infused Oil in a cool, dark place. Most infused oils will last for a year or perhaps even longer, if stored correctly. If it begins to smell bad, it might have gone rancid, and it’s time to throw it away and make a new batch (but really, I’m sure you will use it up before the year is done!).
**Note on fresh vs. dried herbs for Infused Oils:
One thing that has always driven me crazy when I’m researching how to make infused oils is that the recipes almost always call for dried herbs. It seems like such a pointless extra step…and one that takes quite a bit of time and energy (as in: the dehydrator would be using electricity constantly for 24 or more hours).
I think it’s partly because many people don’t have access to these plants in fresh-form. However, it’s also because there is a chance for mold issues with fresh herbs/plants with the infused oil process.
There are a few things you can do to prevent mold issues when using fresh herbs/plants for infused oils:
- Collect your plants on a sunny afternoon during a week that’s had very little rain or no rain. We are looking to prevent too much water in the leaves.
- Do not wash your herbs/plants because we don’t want water introduced to the process. That means you should really make sure you are getting your plants from a location that hasn’t been sprayed with yucky chemicals.
- Consider drying your plants for 1-3 days before using. If you can afford using a dehydrator, feel free to use that overnight. I prefer the old fashioned way: I place the plant parts on my kitchen counter overnight on a dry towel, and then I make the oil a few days later.
- Make sure your glass jars for the infused oils are completely dry. This includes the lid! Make sure any tools you use also do not have water on them.
What Type of Carrier Oil To Use For Herb-Infused Oils
No matter which oil you choose to use for your herbal infused oil, please try to get the highest-quality oils you can afford. Trust me: I’ve made enough herb-infused oils in my life to know that it’s always the cheap oils that go rancid quickly.
Here are some ideas for oils you can use:
- Olive Oil: This is usually the cheapest and most easy-to-find option for your oil. Try to use the best-quality olive oil you can find. Many versions available in the U.S. are actually not pure olive oil (they can legally get away with calling it olive oil and combining it with other cheap/yucky oils. So do your research on your olive oil brands! Olive oil is also good for damaged and dry skin.
- Coconut Oil: This is a challenging oil to use for herbal infusions because it hardens at room temperature (and can smell like coconut). It’s best to use this one with the double-boiler method over the other infused oil methods. Coconut oil is a great addition to lotions, beauty creams, hair treatments, and inflammatory skin issues.
- Grapeseed Oil: Not as high-quality as other oils due to the extraction methods, however, it is non-greasy and has great extractive properties that can be beneficial for infused oils.
- Sweet Almond Oil: This can be a bit pricey, but it’s loaded with vitamin E and is great for all skin types. I love using almond oil whenever possible in my herbal projects.
- Sunflower Oil: Another cheap option. I honestly don’t know much about it, so please do some research before purchasing it to make sure you get a good-quality brand. Sunflower oil is non-greasy and good for all skin types and herbal projects.
Have you ever made an Infused Oil before? If so, what have you made? If not, will you now?
I hope you enjoyed my details on how to make comfrey infused oil. I love using the plants that are freely available in my yard and I hope you have a great time making some herbal infused oil, too!
If you want to learn more about herbs, don’t forget to check out the amazing courses and workshops available at The Herbal Academy. I’m in their intermediate course right now and it’s amazing!
For further reading: