Also, a quick disclaimer: I am an amateur when it comes to herbs, and everything I know is what I've read, researched, or experienced first-hand (the latter is admittedly little). Therefore, just because I say something doesn't mean it's Gospel truth--feel free to double-check what I say. This is also my personal way of making this salve--there are many different ways to experiment with it, and the ingredients here are just what I had on hand.
There. Now that that's out of the way a small introduction to comfrey salve is needed. I use this stuff in lieu of antibiotic ointment and liniment for people and animals. I even went through a phase where I was putting it on dry hands (while it did work my skin was VERY greasy for hours, so I don't recommend it unless you have very dry, cracked skin). I've used it for everything from minor scratches to a gaping tear on one of the horses--more on that later--and I have to say that it never disappoints.
So! Without any further ado, here is how to make comfrey salve!
I made the plantain oil by harvesting the respective plants (leaves in this case), giving them a rough chop and filling a quart jar, covering the leaves with olive oil, and letting them sit in the sun for about two weeks (with a lid, of course). I shook the jar every day or so, and by the end of two weeks the olive oil had turned a dark green. I strained the leaves out, re-bottled the oil, and popped it in the fridge. It keeps very well--this particular batch has been in the fridge for almost a year now.
The comfrey oil was done nearly the same way, but before I chopped the leaves I let them dry a little for about a day. (It was explained to me why at the time, but for the life of me I can't remember. *headdesk*) Then I chopped 'em up, made the infusion in olive oil, and refrigerated like the plantain.
Here's what each ingredient does:
Plantain--astringent qualities and promotes healing
Comfrey--promotes healing and help regrow tissue (also known as 'knitbone')
Vitamin E--A preservative
Sandalwood--Uh...it smelled good... XD It's mostly used for perfume, so I added it for the smell
Tea Tree Oil--Antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral
Beeswax--Binds it all together, and gives that 'salve' feel
To begin with, I took down a saucepan and put 1/2 cup plantain oil and 1/2 cup comfrey oil together, turned the burner on 'low', and let it start warming up. It never reached boiling temperature--it just needed to be hot enough to melt the beeswax.
I added 20 drops of the vitamin E, sandalwood, and tea tree oil to the comfrey/plantain mixture, and let them sit for a minute. (By the way: tea tree oil is very, very, VERY flammable. Don't ask me how I found this out. But trust me when I say that you don't want some to somehow splash down the outside of your saucepan because there will be flames and it will be scary. XD)
A note on the saucepan, by the way: I used my mom's nonstick Pampered Chef pan (with her permission) because it wasn't too hard to scrub it out later. But cheap pans will retain the flavor of the salve, so I'd advise not using the pan for food later.
According to my herb book the ratio of oil to beeswax should be 1 cup to 1/4 cup. I whittled little bits of beeswax off of my chunk (I bought a 2-lb chunk of light beeswax* from Dadants, a local beekeeping business) and added it to the slowly heating oil, stirred until it was all melted, and then to see if the consistency was right I took a spoonful of the mixture and placed it in the freezer for about two minutes**. Somehow I got it right on the first try, so then it was a piece of cake to spoon the hot salve into the tins.
I put them in the fridge for about twenty minutes, put the lids back on the tins, and voila! 14 tins of comfrey salve, finished in about twenty minutes of labor.
**Putting a bit of salve in the freezer gives the end consistency: if it's too liquidy, more beeswax is needed. Too firm, more oil.
I was looking up different kinds of plantain online, and here was a very interesting page that has the varieties of plantain in a pictoral reference: http://www.shammelle.com/HelpfulStuff/Plantain/tabid/71/Default.aspx I've never heard of using it on brown recluse bites, but I'm not going to immediately doubt it. I HAVE used it on normal bug bites, and it does work.
Anyway, enjoy this little block of information, and feel free to ask me about whatever crosses your mind. I love talking about herbs. :D