Comfrey, Allantoin and the Experience of amazing skincare

I love comfrey. I’ve been using it for years on bruises and sprains with great results, but one day, while walking in my garden, choosing herbs for a mask, I intuitively chose comfrey, along with calendula, nettles and mint. It was kicker.

Back then, I didn’t know why, but now I know that comfrey is very high in allantoin, an active ingredient in many expensive, hyped up anti-ageing cosmetic creams. I can buy allantoin as a white powder, synthetically manufactured for under $30 a kilo. Do you know how many jars of cream I can make for that? Hundreds. It will do all kinds of wonderful things for the skin, but nothing will ever beat the comfrey leaves grown in your own garden for little more that the love from the friend who gave it to you.

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comfrey ( right) with mint

Comfrey is a beautiful addition to any garden with its graceful leaves and pretty arching flowers. Its roots search deeply, pulling up minerals from the soil, making it invaluable for enriching compost and can be used to mulch other plants. It grows well in shady areas as well as in full sun and appreciates moist conditions but will survive most. It is easily propagated by digging up a bit with the roots. But beware, it is very powerful and if used incorrectly has the potential to overload the liver of weak individuals and has caused death in a few cases when sick or hungry people have resorted to eating it in large amounts.

In Australia comfrey is only allowed for external use, but many people over the Millenia have used it as a tonic, eating a leaf a day and swear by it. I don’t eat it, but I do have it as an important part of my medicine chest in the garden.

I use comfrey in my masks at the Salon, but only in small amounts and in conjunction with other herbs such as calendula, parsley seed and mint.

But today I made up a remedy for my son who has broken his pisiform bone in his hand. He needs to get better as soon as possible because he can’t work till it is healed. For bruising, sprains and broken bones, a simple cream can be made by blending together:

4 perfect comfrey leaves about 20 cm long
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water
2 or 3 heaped tsp kaolin or other suitable clay
1 tbsp sea salt

Purée this up in a blender and it will make a light green cream which can be smeared over any sore bits as long as there is no broken skin. The salt acts as an excellent preservative, but as it is a fresh product, keep it in the fridge. It will keep for a lot longer than you would think. If you don’t have any kaolin, forget the water and just blend the oil, salt and comfrey or pound together with a mortar and pestle till smooth.

Today I thought I’d paste this comfrey clay blend on my face. It gives me an opportunity to experience the effect comfrey has in isolation from the other herbs I use. My new exfoliating parsley seed mask is very bioactive. I thought it was the parley seed. It leaves my skin buzzing for an hour or more. After experiencing this concentrated comfrey masks however, I know it is the comfrey.

This comfrey mask can be a little prickly on the skin while it dries and after 10 or 15 minutes I wanted it off. Rinsing with warm water and using a towel to wipe off the excess is all that’s needed. The after effect was intensely active for over an hour but in a good way. Blood is pumping, skin firming. It could be nice to follow with a cucumber and yoghurt soothing mask (home made only).

My conclusion? A pure comfrey mask can be used as a powerful pick me up for tired skin every couple of weeks. If you are preparing for a special event and want to look your best do this 4-12 hours before your makeup. You could also use it as a whole body tonic if you are feeling sore all over from arthritis or simple hard work. It’s not an every day thing, but is worth trying at least once. Give it a go.

If you don’t have any fresh comfrey, contact me and I can send you some for $6 plus postage.

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