Curry is becoming known as a  bit of a superfood.  The spice blend's famous color is from one of its ingredients, turmeric.  Turmeric is now known to reduce inflammation- brain, systemic, and joints.  Here's a great way to use up some leftovers in a flavorful, healthy way!
Curry has an affinity for sweet, so it mixes perfectly with sweet potatoes or yams.

When I was in college, I lived in the cheapest off-campus apartment around.  There were several foreign students in the complex, and one day we had a potluck dinner together.  
One of the first foods on the table was an amazingly yellow... something.  So I asked what it was.  "Curry," she responded, "It's a food from Korea.". 
Further down the table was another bowl of yellow food.  I asked about it.  "Chicken Curry," she explained, "The Jamaicans invented it."  
Another friend walked up with a now-familiar color.  I asked. 
"Curry.  It's from Africa."

It was good.  All three were.  Good enough I could see why everybody claimed it was from their own native country.

Since my roommate was the Jamaican, that's whose recipe I got, though I had to watch her make it and estimate the amounts at the time.  This recipe is based on hers, though she used bone-in chicken thighs, less onion but added a couple green onions,  potatoes instead of sweet potatoes, and serve it not only over rice, but also with thick, chewy 'Jamaican Dumplings'.  The recipe is flexible.

Curry.  From America.

Sweet Potato Curry with Turkey- makes about 6 cups

2 Tbsp. oil
1-2 Tbsp. curry
2 medium onions, sliced into rings
1 c. cooked turkey, cubed (can use chicken instead)
1 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed*
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4- 1/2 tsp. pepper, to taste
water

*I used raw sweet potatoes, but feel free to use cooked ones- you can even get away with using leftover Thanksgiving baked sweet potatoes as long as they're not too saccharine; reduce cooking time accordingly.

Heat oil on medium-high heat until shimmering-hot.  Add the curry powder- amount depends on how strong you like it.  (I like it strong.)  Stir, and let it heat for about a minute to 'bloom' the flavor.  It's done when it starts to smell delicious and a little toasty. DON'T burn it.  (Nasty, bitter flavor!...)  Reduce heat to medium, add onion; cook until they are tender, stirring occasionally.  
Stir in turkey, then add sweet potatoes, salt, and pepper.  Add water until the food is nearly covered.  Put a lid on the pan and simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes or until just tender.  Remove lid, increase heat and gently boil until liquid is reduced by about half.  

Serve hot by itself or over rice.

Optional:sprinkle with any of the following:
chopped peanuts
green peas
mandarin orange segments
shredded coconut
diced apple
dollop of sour cream or unsweetened yogurt
chopped hardboiled eggs
bits of dried fruit

 
 
Elderberry syrup is known as a wonderful immunity booster and antiviral- which means it'll help knock down the flu or any other virus-caused illness.  It's also really, really delicious on pancakes.  Or a splash added to desserts or fruit salads.  Or brushed on a spice cake.  Or mixed with chilled sparkling water.  Or... you get the idea.
 Now that there's a jar in my fridge, I may have to watch to be sure my children don't sneak in and use up all my 'medicine'.   Just for that reason, I wax-sealed the lids on the jars I plan to share with others.  

I've already used it.  My family has had a nasty cold or flu this week; we've had missed school days and work days from it.  Yesterday it hit me hard, and felt like it was on the verge of turning into bronchitis or pneumonia.  I've been taking either elderberry infusion (tea) or the syrup at least three times a day since feeling it come on a couple days ago, and today I feel much better.  I suppose that may or may not have anything to do with the elderberries... but I'm keeping the routine up until I'm better!  Yum.

I started with 2 pounds of berries, used a steam juicer, and the first 2-3 cups of juice were nice and dark; strong enough to use without boiling to condense it.  The longer the berries steamed, though, the lighter the juice got, so I boiled down the last three cups to yield about 1 1/2 cups.

You'll notice in the photos below that some of those berries don't look exactly the same as the others... I have a young hawthorn tree.  It produces berries, but not yet enough to make a batch of anything yet.  The haw berries are said to be good for reducing inflammation (as well as normalizing blood pressure and helping strengthen and regulate the heart)- so I threw them in with my elderberries.  Honey is used in this instead of sugar because of its soothing, anti-inflammatory, and healing properties.

If you want to make a wax seal, paraffin works great.  I had a small ball of red cheese wax I'd saved, and used that.

Elderberry Syrup
Start with 2-3 cups elderberry juice (depending on strength)- if not strong, boil to reduce to 2 cups.  To the warm, NOT hot juice (if you want to preserve the enzymes if using raw honey), stir in these ingredients:
2 cups honey
5 drops ginger essential oil
3 drops cinnamon essential oil
2 drops clove essential oil


Store in the refrigerator.  Probably best used within a couple months- though I've had syrups stay nice for a year, refrigerated.  You could store them longer if you seal them in sterilized jars. 

To use medicinally, take a tablespoon straight or mixed in 6-8 oz warm water, every 3 hours if you're sick and an adult, or take once a day as a general immunity booster.  See the label below for more details.  

If you want to start with berries but don't have a steam juicer, and want to use the spices themselves instead of essential oils, combine 4 oz (2/3 c.) berries in 3 ½ c. water, a thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, 1 tsp. cinnamon, and ½ tsp. cloves; Simmer until water is reduced by almost half; strain, pressing on the berries.  Cool until just warm, stir in honey.

On a related note, you can use jelly to make gourmet pancake syrup:  see here.
 
 
Picture
Broadleaf plantain in my garden.
Saturday was work-in-the-yard-before-the-storm-hits day.

The garden needed prepared for the winter: potatoes dug, the now-dry corn cobs pulled from their perches on the stalks, the final beets pulled, more chard and broccoli harvested, dry and tangled tomato vines yanked from the fence they'd been trained on, carrots prepared to stay through the winter.  Tilling would have been nice, but between the garden and what was going on in the house, there wasn't enough time to get to it.  As it was, I only got halfway through the garden list.  But my kids finally got the house clean -- the weekly deeper-cleaning--  along with a post hole dug and fence repaired with my husband.  With a lot of reminders. (The kids, that is...)

While stripping corn cobs from the stalks, I felt something sharp on the pad of my ring finger. When I looked, a large drop of blood pooled up immediately; I had sliced my finger on a corn husk.  I turned back to my work, but felt something wet running down the finger.  Looking again, I saw that it was bleeding quickly, leaving small spatters of blood on the ground.  Turns out that the cut was fairly deep. I ignored it for another few minutes, but the bleeding had not slowed.  Not wanting to stop my work lest the chickens -- who were in the garden too-- would get to the corn, I looked around, found some still-growing plaintain, and tore a leaf off.  The leaves are not only known for helping stop bleeding and helping heal, but have strong fibers running through them.  I wrapped the leaf around my wound, winding the trailing fiber around an extra couple times.  

It stayed on snugly while I worked, and the tightness was soothing.  When I pulled it off ten minutes later, the bleeding had stopped completely.  It didn't restart, either, when I finally -carefully- washed off the dried blood.  This stuff works!

My husband laughed when he heard the story, and said it was "so MacGyver-ish".

I took that as a high compliment.
 
 
Homemade Turmeric ointment!

About a year ago my right ankle swelled up and became tender to the touch.  There was no recent injury that I knew of.  After a few days, I wrapped it with an Ace bandage.  The swelling went down under the bandage, only to pop up on the top of my foot.  After wrapping the top of my foot, the swelling moved to the other side of my ankle.  Weird.  At that point, I got online to look for how to pull down swelling.  What I found was an ancient Ayurvedic medicine: turmeric and salt.  Well, those were two ingredients I had on hand, and easy to mix.  
I tried it: applied it to a folded damp paper towel, slapped it on the ankle, and wrapped it to make it stay in place.

Lo and behold-- after a day, the ankle was less painful.  After two days, the swelling was gone.  GONE!  And it didn’t come back. My ankle was stained bright yellow for a week, but, hey, it felt great.

Turns out that turmeric contains curcumin, a powerful anti-inflammatory.  There is lots of evidence that this kitchen spice is also effective against cancer, arthritis, preventing and reversing Alzheimer's, and more.

What about the salt?  You know how it kills snails: it pulls water through cell walls, essentially dehydrating them.  This is an example of osmosis.  It works on the same principle to pull extra water out of your skin or underlying tissues.  I used RealSalt because it includes trace minerals.  The salt and turmeric reinforce aspects of each other.

The basic mixture is 2 parts turmeric to one part salt, then mix with just enough water or oil to make a paste.  If you use water, it's considered an actual paste; if you use oil, it's technically an ointment.  Water might help it penetrate your skin better, but curcumin is fat-soluble, so it might be more potent as an ointment.  I don't know for sure; it just seemed logical to use the oil, which has healing properties itself if you use either coconut oil or olive oil.  Curcumin's bioavailability is said to increase if you add something with quercetin.  Dock (sorrel) has large amounts; so does apple, broccoli, cranberries, and more.  Since I didn’t find anything in my house and yard while I was mixing that was easy to use that wouldn’t spoil in it, I skipped that part.  Maybe next time I’ll dry some dock and heat it for a couple hours with the coconut oil base.  Or add a little green drink powder.  It still works fine without it; there was no quercetin in what I used on my ankle.  

This new batch also contains a couple essential oils this time around (didn't with my ankle), to hopefully enhance the healing properties; this will go on a leg injured by falling down the stairs, made worse by a lack of circulation and movement, now suffering- months later- with fluid in the joints and pain. Rosemary is relaxing, a good tonic for nervous and circulatory systems, and helps increase vigor and energy.  Ginger relaxes blood vessels is a strong circulatory stimulant, and is often used in massage oils and to relieve aches and pains.   A standard amount of essential oils for topical use is 1 drop essential oil per 25 mL of carrier oil, or about 5 drops per ¼ cup oil.

Please remember that anyone can be allergic to foods; don't use ingredients you've had reactions to, and watch for new reactions.  When you apply this to your skin, wrap it with something that doesn't matter if it gets stained- because it will!  (Turmeric is also a great fabric dye.)

Here are the quantities I used for this batch:

4 Tbsp. turmeric (1/4 c.)
2 Tbsp. RealSalt
2 Tbsp. coconut oil or olive oil (I used coconut oil)
2 drops rosemary oil, optional
2 drops ginger oil, optional

Best stored in a small glass jar. Babyfood jars are great.
 
 
Picture
Do you ever use Pedialyte or sports drinks for sick children?  Below are some homemade, very inexpensive, and fully functional substitutes.

 We've had an impressive virus at our house lately; my 7-year-old ran a fever for an entire week (with an ear infection on top of it), and now the 4-year-old has the fever-causing virus.  Younger children get dehydrated so easily, so mine get a water bottle to keep with them at all times while sick- but it's "lemonade" water.  It really is lemonade, a little on the weak side and with salt.  I add a couple things to their water bottle, and it helps replenish the minerals and salts they lose while fevering. It tastes better to them than plain water, which helps, too.

I prefer the lemon- if you have fresh it's fantastic-, and lemon seems a little easier on upset tummies than the orange juice.  Lemon is also supposed to help alkalinize your body and cleanse the liver, both of which may help you recover faster.  The salt really is important*.  If you use unrefined coarse or sea salt, you'll also be adding critical trace minerals. (If you only have refined salt, I understand, it's OK, just not as good for our purposes here.)    For the sweetener, I use raw honey because that's what I have in my pantry.  Don't use honey if you're making this for a child under 1 year old because of possibility for botulism.  Sugar can be substituted, but doesn't have the trace minerals that honey does.  If your child likes the flavor of molasses, that's even more nutritious than honey.  My next batch will use blackstrap molasses- the amount of minerals in there are amazing!  And, after all, nutrition is the name of the game when someone's sick! This drink can also be frozen to make ice cubs or popsicles.
Note:  blackstrap molasses is not very sweet at all, and is somewhat of an acquired taste.  If I make some for myself, I tolerate the flavor, but for my children, I use no more than 1 Tbsp. blackstrap and 1 Tbsp. honey.  Using regular molasses is much more palatable to children, and even then I recommend using half molasses and half honey.

Lemon Electrolytes

16-oz  bottle of  water
3 Tbsp lemon juice or juice from 1 lemon (grapefruit juice works too)
1/8 tsp. unrefined salt
2 Tbsp. honey and/or molasses 

Pour about 1/2 cup of water out of the bottle (you're drinking it, not dumping it, right? :)  Add the lemon juice, salt, and honey or molasses. Put the lid on and shake hard.

If you want to mix up a bigger batch to keep in the fridge, use 1 quart of water, 1/2 c. lemon juice, 1/4- 12 tsp. unrefined salt, and 1-6 Tbsp. honey or molasses.  Makes a little more than a quart.

Orange Electrolytes

One 16-oz water bottle, half  full
1/8 tsp. unrefined salt
1 tsp to 1 Tbsp. honey or molasses
about 1 cup orange juice

Add salt and honey/molasses to the bottle, put the lid on and shake hard until mixed well.  Fill the bottle up the rest of the way with orange juice.

Bigger batch: 2 c. water, 2 c. orange juice, ¼- ½ tsp. unrefined salt, 1 Tbsp. honey or molasses.


*The recommended salt amount varies from 1/4 per quart to 1 tsp. per quart. Since I'm feeding this to children, I use the lower amount.  Recipe sources I looked at include the University of Connecticut Health Center, The Rehydration Project, Southern Utah University, LiveStrong.com, and http://www.cheekybumsblog.com/2012/04/living-naturally-homemade-electrolyte-drink-move-over-pedialyte/

Nutrition facts:
lemon juicehttp://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/1939/2 
orange juicehttp://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/1973/2
honeyhttp://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/sweets/5568/2
molasseshttp://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/sweets/5573/2  
blackstrap molasseshttp://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?dbid=118&tname=foodspice



 
 
Picture
If you are prone to getting hives or ezcema, maybe my story will help you.

This photo is of uticaria; hives.  It often starts as general puffiness with  itchiness, and is often aggravated by heat or friction, even from clothing touching it.  It itches and burns ferociously, and if you give in and scratch, it balloons, swells, puffs up into red or white raised areas.  Just looking through the photos (to get some for this post) brought memories that made me want to cry.  It's awful.  What's worse is that some people have these for months or years at a time.

Photo credit: International Chronic Uticaria Society

I was reading my local online news today, and there was an article called "Treating ezcema and other rashes", part of a regular feature called "Mommy Medicine".  I posted a comment on the board, and then thought that maybe some of my blog readers would need the information, too.  Or maybe you know someone with this problem.  I sometimes break out in hives all over my entire  body, sometimes I can even feel my brain swelling with it, and NOTHING takes it away. I can't effectively explain how desperately miserable that is.  Benadryl doesn't touch it, nor cortisone cream, not oatmeal baths, not Eucerin, or calamine lotion- nothing!  To make it worse, they would stay for days.  I'd been to doctors, I'd been to naturopaths; nobody could explain why it was happening, other than there must be something I was allergic to.  But there was no consistent pattern that lead to any one allergy.  At least it wasn't contagious.

I noticed over time, though, that some foods seemed connected to the hives, though they couldn't account for all my cases.  I'd also only break out if I was stressed and  it was right before a certain time of the month, in addition to eating those foods, plus some mystery factors.  I searched online for "stress and hives" and found the website of the International Chronic Uticaria Society.  Reading through their info, I found a list of foods that are naturally high in histamines (the opposite of antihistamines!) and often trigger chronic hives. Every food that I suspected was a culprit IS on that list, as well as other ones that I'd been eating but not suspected.  I had hives when I found that food list; after immediately dropping every possible offending food, the hives cleared up after just 2 days instead of the usual 7.  I can still eat those things on a regular basis, but if I'm at a higher risk of hives (stress, time of the month), I back off for a few days, and I stay hive-free. 

My son has ezcema on a regular basis, as well as some ADHD, and avoiding that same food list helps tame both.  It's amazing.  All I can figure is that the ADHD  and ezcema both must be related to inflammation and the body's response to it.  The funny thing is that we had avoided some things for years with him, seeing that it made a huge difference in behavior- artificial color, artificial flavor, and preservatives- and those are all high in histamines.  Maybe he can blame my genes, after all.

If you want to see the food list, it's at http://urticaria.thunderworksinc.com/pages/lowhistamine.htm

Picture
Uticaria on someone else's back.

All photos are from the International Chronic Uticaria Society.

Picture
Uticaria on leg.    

Picture
Uticaria on neck.  It also may be on the top, sides, back, and inside of the ear; on the scalp; on arms, palms, fingers, underarms, chest, rear end... anyplace there is skin.

 
 
Picture
Just printed this week, a cookbook that may become your go-to source for  your cooking:

The Chameleon Cook:
Cooking Well With What You Have

140 pages of adaptable core recipes, frugal cooking information, rules-of-thumb, and guidelines for cooking everyday food with what you have on hand, including how to adapt to cooking without eggs, dairy, sugar (honey instead), or wheat.  It also includes an index.

  At 5½“x 8½“ it's intended to be easy to fit in any size kitchen.  Any level of cook will find it useful, from beginners to old-hat.  I recommend it especially for college students, missionaries, newlyweds, or anyone wanting to expand their understanding of how to make a recipe work. 

  It has a laminated cover for durability, full-color cardstock chapter dividers with photos, and your choice of plastic coil binding or plastic comb binding.
 
Cost is $14 if purchased through me, $14.95 if bought retail.  Copies may be purchased at John and Jennie's Bosch Kitchen Center, Not Just Copies, and the Sandy Bosch Store.  You can order by calling (801) 541-6999, leaving a comment on this page, or emailing me at singyourwayhome@comcast.net



Picture
Chapters include:
-Introduction and Tips
-Appetizers (Snacks!) and Beverages,
-Soups and Salads
-Vegetables and Side Dishes
-Main Dishes
-Breads
-Desserts
-Cookies and Candy
-This & That

Picture
Categories in Main Dishes include
-Beans (including cooking them from scratch, and how much is in a can)
-Eggs
-super-adaptable Red Sauce and White Sauce
(make your own Cream of Mushroom Soup and more)
-Meat, including how to make a cheap cut tender

Picture
Sections in This & That:
-Cooking Grains

-Miscellaneous
-Dairy Foods
-Dehydrated Foods (both making and using them in your regular recipes)
-Home Remedies
-Homemade Cleaners
-Seasonings, Jam, and Syrups


Some recipes in the sections include:
-Croutons
-Edible Playdough
-Fruit and Nut Energy Bars
-Granola, Granola Bars
-Homemade "Honey Bunches and Oats"
-Brown Bag Popcorn
-Cream Cheese Spreads
-Making simple fresh cheese and cottage cheese
-Snow Ice Cream
-Sweetened Condensed Milk
(two versions- one using powdered milk, one using evaporated milk, cream, or half-and-half)
-Culturing Yogurt
-Apple Cider Syrup
(Lower Sugar Syrup)
-Five-Minute Marmalade and a dozen ways to use it
-Honey Mustard
-Honeybutter
-Quick Strawberry Jam
-Seasoned Flour
-Seasoned Salt
-Simple Syrup
and variations
-Home Remedies- Coughs, Insect Stings, Lowering Fever, Natural Deodorant
-Homemade Cleaners- Floor Cleaner, Furniture Polish, Laundry Soap, Liquid Soap, Carpet Spot Cleaner, Stain Remover, using vinegar, Window Cleaner.

If you need one (or more) shipped, I charge only the actual shipping cost plus the price of a padded envelope.

Call or e-mail today!

-Rhonda
 
 
Picture
Daisies, in the chrysanthemum family. They contain a chemical bugs hate.

 

Have you been looking for an alternative to DEET bug sprays?  I use the conventional sprays on occasion, but they give me a headache, and remind me way too much of the agricultural pesticides  you’re supposed to cover up before using.  Are there other options?

I have seen natural repellents at about any store that sells herbs- in my area, that includes Dave's Herbs, Herbs for Health, Whole Foods Market (the store that used to be "Wild Oats"), Sunflower Markets, Smith's Marketplace.  It seems like several of their repellents have Neem oil as their base.  Neem oil is an extract of the seeds and fruit of a semitropical evergreen, Azadirachta indica.  It's shown to be quite effective against insects, both for people to use, as well as for growing crops, but there are some cautions to be aware of.  On testing with rats, it caused abortion of fetuses when ingested within a few days of conception.  So don't use neem oil if you're pregnant or trying to conceive.   See here for one source of more information.l

 The Chrysanthemum family of plants contain pyrethrum or pyrethrin, which is a natural repellent.  (Permethrin is the synthetic version of this.) It's also been used for hundreds of years.  You can crush the plant and rub it on you, or dry it, powder it, and mix it with water.  (DON"T DRINK IT!!!).  Some of the plants in this family include the white daisies with yellow centers, mums, and Gerbera daisies.  

You can use essential oils as repellents- dilute with a carrier oil first- a little goes a long way!.  Ones that turned up in my search include lavender oil, lemon balm, catnip, tea tree oil (also called melaleuca), neem oil (again), basil, garlic, geranium, tansy, thyme.  A carrier oil is just a plain vegetable oil- olive oil, canola oil, coconut oil, whatever you want to use. 

Several years ago, I read that lemon thyme had repellent properties.  I planted a mat of it underfoot my garden swing.  We brushed our feet on it as we would swing in the evening.  It smelled wonderful to us, and I hardly ever was bothered by mosquitoes.  We even had a large pond  (perfect mosquito breeding ground) nearby.  My recent reading indicates that lemon thyme’s effect lasts only about 20 minutes when rubbed on your skin, so be aware you may need to do some personal experimenting here.  (Use common sense!)

Here are two sites with some instructions on making your own repellent, if that's what you're after:

http://www.buzzle.com/articles/homemade-natural-insecticide-and-repellent-recipes.html 


http://www.anniesremedy.com/remedy_use137.php 


And a recipe, from Mother Earth News (disclaimer- though they have some great information, they are very pro- ‘save the planet’-forget those invasive humans).  They adapted this one from The Green Pharmacy 

Herbal Insect Repellent

2 ½  teaspoons  total of any combination of the following essential oils (available at health food stores): basil, cedarwood, citronella, juniper, lemon, myrrh, palmarosa, pine, rose geranium and/or rosemary

1 cup 190-proof grain alcohol (available in liquor stores)

Put everything in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake it hard. Store in small bottles; glass is best. To use, rub a small amount on any exposed skin (test first to be sure you're not allergic to the repellent!) or dab it on clothing. You might put it in a small spray bottle.


Experiment a little to find which essential oils work best with your body chemistry. If you're lucky, you also will like the way they smell; otherwise, add a few drops of peppermint oil to fine-tune the fragrance.

recipe from http://www.motherearthnews.com/Nature-Community/2003-08-01/Outsmarting-Mosquitoes.aspx?page=5  

 
 
Picture
Comfrey ointment: simple to make, and very useful.  Of course, be smart about using home remedies, and use a doctor when you need to!



The only only ointment  I've made to date is comfrey .  The first apartment we moved into, after getting married, had a comfrey plant growing in the flower bed.   I had bought The Complete Medicinal Herbal, and comfrey sounded like an interesting plant to learn about.  So I made a batch.

We had hardly any bruises, breaks, road rash, strains, or sprains in the next decade, so that's how long I kept the ointment.  It seemed to still work well at the end there, though the sooner you use it, the more potent it is.  The next batch (same size!) lasted us only about 18 months; one son had FOUR broken bones within a year (trampoline, trampoline, trampoline, and scooter).  Glad that's over (knock on wood...)!  When he broke both his ankles simultaneously, I rubbed comfrey ointment on them twice a day.  The doctor was amazed at the healing by his two-week checkup.

I crushed my ring finger between two weights; it turned purple clear down to my wrist.  I splinted it with a popsicle stick and put comfrey on it once or twice a day (depending on how often I remembered!).  The nail had threatened to fall off, but it didn't, and it grew back straight and smooth.  The finger was almost completely healed in two to three weeks.  And I don't heal very quickly.

An ointment doesn't blend into your skin, but forms a layer over it.  It's especially good for places where the skin is weak, or where you need a barrier from moisture (like in diaper rash).  You could make this with coconut oil, which is solid at less than 75 degrees F, instead of petroleum jelly, but that's  closer to the definition of a cream  since that version will more easily soak into the skin.
 
Use any herb you want.

You can use the same amount of oil instead of the petroleum jelly, but that's called an 'infusion' instead of 'ointment'.  (For a cold infusion, see bottom of page.)   Old-timers used lard or other animal fats as the base; I'll try coconut oil for my next batch.  It's supposed to have healing qualities itself. 

Comfrey Ointment 
16 oz/2cups petroleum jelly (like Vaseline)  -or coconut oil
2 oz. dried herb       (or 500 g petroleum jelly, 60 g dried herb)


Melt jelly in double boiler, stir in herbs, heat gently for a couple hours (2-3)until herbs become crisp.  Strain through cheesecloth or muslin, squeeze to get as much liquid out as possible.  Be careful and/or use gloves, the mixture is very hot.  Pour while hot into clean storage containers.  Best if used within a year.  Good for arthritis, broken bones, bruises, inflamed bunions, torn ligaments, etc. 

Comfrey's "country name" was "knitbone".  It contains allantoin; this encourages cell growth in bone, cartilage, and muscle.  My experience is that it heals skin, too.  Use the above-ground parts; the leaves and flowers have the most allantoin. 
You can mash/crush the leaves to make a poultice for broken bones, including ribs and hairline fractures.  My book says the powdered root, mixed with water to make a paste, is good for varicose ulcers, stubborn wounds, and bleeding hemorrhoids.  I haven't needed that remedy yet.  :-)  Best to harvest the root in spring or fall, when the plant is putting its energy into its roots. ( As a side note, yes, this is correct grammar in “its roots”; there is no apostrophe in a possessive “it”.  I’ve been seeing “it’s” so much lately I was wondering if I learned the wrong rules.  Here’s my proof of what’s correct, a webpage called It’s “its”! )


A related remedy is for burns: mix equal amounts honey (raw, if you have it) and olive oil.  Chop or mash comfrey; add enough to the honey/oil to make a paste.  Apply to burns; wrap loosely with gauze or lightweight cotton so it stays put.  Put it on as needed.  I used this when a red-hot coal landed on my bare foot one day last summer.  I put the paste on, and promptly forgot about it.  When I remembered later in the evening, all that remained was a slight red mark.  No blister, no pain. 


For a "cold infusion", to extract the plant's helpful compounds without cooking it, pack a quart jar full of the herb you want.  Pour two cups of oil (olive oil, sunflower oil are better choices) over it, screw a lid on, and let it sit on a sunny windowsill for two or three weeks.  Strain into clean bottles, amber-colored ones are helpful in protecting it from damage from the light.  Store it cool and dark.