Farmacy #1- Comfrey


“Ginger scared me when I went out there.  She looked like she was dead, but perked up when I picked her up,” Doug said.  He thought she was cold.  The fifty plus degree drop in temperature was making the chicks bundle together, a pile of feathers and beaks.  “You better check on them when you get home,” he recommended in his chicken Daddy worry tone.

I went out and did a head count, all seemed well, except that Ginger was missing.  I found her behind an empty feed sack.  So little and helpless, lying there in the cold.  I picked her up and saw the damage.  Someone got her.  One or more of the chickens had relieved her of her feathers and most of the skin on the back of her neck.  A bare ligament stared exposed.

I swooped her up and brought her indoors.  She was shaking and her neck was cocked to the side.  The smell let me know it was getting infected and the way she laid down on the towels in the bathroom with little strength left me questioning her ability to survive this.


I called Doug and rushed to my shop.  (Which brings me to the conclusion that my next homestead needs to have the apothecary gear right next to the house!)  He had already prepared a topical tea (called a fomentation) to use as a compress.  He used dried comfrey leaves, arnica, calendula, and chamomile.  About a teaspoon of each in an 8 oz. canning jar and had poured boiling water over it.  He capped it and it was ready to use by the time I made it back home.  I used a round cotton pad to seep up the tea and placed it on her exposed, raw neck.  Poor baby.  It just wasn’t looking good.


A bit later I brought out my other amazing remedy (I have used this in place of stitches and it makes other antibiotic ointments look kind of useless.), my Wound Healer.  It is my own mixture of aloe vera, homemade witch hazel, tea tree and lavender essential oils and arnica.  I keep it in a dropper bottle to apply easier.  I dropped the cooling mixture all over her neck and said a prayer.

The night before last we noted that Frankie, our orange tabby, was looking a bit like a pirate.  His eye was squinted and he obviously had the signs of conjunctivitis, which is pretty simply an eye infection.  Off I sent Doug to the shop (10 feet away from the next homestead, I tell you!) in the next town and he returned with my recipe for eye wash.  It gets rid of eye infections very quickly.  A mixture of 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt, eye bright, goldenseal, comfrey, and calendula and 1/2 cup of boiling water, this packs a punch for human or animal eye infections.  He is looking at us with both eyes open now.

comfrey 2

Ignoring all the other herbs I used above, all you would really need is comfrey.  It is easy to grow on any homestead and spreads beautifully so you have plenty dried for the winter.  It has also been known as Bone Heal and we have seen it heal up bones in two weeks in people and animals multiple times!  Definitely a staple on any homestead, city or otherwise!

I don’t know what kind of jerk shoots cats, but Nancy’s cat, Pumpkin, came home with a bullet hole through his ankle.  Instead of the costly trip to the vet, Faleena and Nancy used their training from my classes and went to work with comfrey compresses.  He is almost completely healed and putting weight on the back leg now.  You would never know anything happened to his cute little ankle!

Simply prepare comfrey as you would a tea with 2 teaspoons per 1 cup of boiling water and let it steep for 10 minutes, cool before using.  You could also place 1 cup of comfrey into a quart canning jar and cover it in vodka.  Let steep for 4 weeks and you have an instant bone and tissue liniment that can be applied with an old rag, a cotton ball, or my favorite, soak an old sock and tie it on.


Ginger is doing so much better this morning.  It’s been less than twenty-four hours and the wound looks like it is healing up nicely.  She is eating and drinking.  She enjoyed sitting on my lap while I typed for awhile but is now eating breakfast…again.


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6 Comments Add yours

  1. frugalhen says:

    Heehee! Yes, sounds like the “farmacy” needs to be much closer! 🙂

    I just love your natural remedies. I’ve been reading about the benefits of Comfrey to the garden itself, and it’s medicinal properties. I’ve read about it healing everything from a torn goat udder to healing a human sprained ankle – both in record time!
    Do you know if there’s any difference in the medicinal qualities between the different varieties? I’ve read that some have red flowers, some yellow and some are less invasive than others. Just wondered if all other properties of it were the same.

    I will definitely be planting Comfrey!

    1. Farmgirl says:

      Because it is not a hybridized plant, I think that all the varieties have similar properties. I have only seen and used the one with bluish flowers!

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