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Comfrey Oil

Suzie Browning

Joined: Jun 10, 2010
Posts: 48
Location: Southwestern Ohio
Last week, I made a some comfrey oil by cooking it on the stove for 3 hours before straining the oil off the leaves.  This is stored in a glass jar with a plastic lid, covered with a towel to keep light out.  I let the comfrey dry overnight to get rid of excess moisture because I had read that the moisture will cause mold issues.

Well, now I have mold issues with this jar.  Should I have stored this in the refrigerator?  Would that have prevented the mold?  Can I heat this up or should I just dump it out?

I have another jar going, but am not cooking this one.  This one will sit for 6 weeks before straining the oil.  Hopefully, I'll have better luck this time.

On the border of Zones 5 & 6 on the last 2 acres of what was once a large farm.  Flat, flat and more flat!
John Polk

Joined: Feb 20, 2011
Posts: 6879
Location: Currently in Seattle. Probably moving 1 hour north by end of the year.
If you decide to dump it, I would suggest that the compost pile would be as good a place as any.
christine lawson

Joined: Jun 01, 2011
Posts: 34
Location: West Quebec

    Did you wash the leaves first? That can give you too much moisture. (As can a slightly wet jar/lid) Make sure your oil level is higher than the plant matter, and try using cheesecloth and rubber band instead of lid, this lets moisture out as the leaves infuse.

  If the mold is just on the surface sometimes you can lift it off, just be sure to use that oil on unbroken skin.
  I've had more success making oil with the roots, and vinegar with the leaves.

Jonathan Byron

Joined: Apr 16, 2011
Posts: 225
If there is water present in the aging process, that type of extraction is at risk of botulism. If you have an oily plant and separate the oil quickly, not a problem.
Suzie Browning

Joined: Jun 10, 2010
Posts: 48
Location: Southwestern Ohio
I had let the stems and leaves dry overnight...but I am wondering if I let it cool all the way before I put the lid on.  Condensation dripping from the lid might explain too much water.  I've had it in the fridge since I discovered the mold and no new growth.

I may scrape it off, reheat and then experiment to see if any more mold grows.  Course, I have no idea if it will still be any good or not.
Lisa Allen

Joined: Mar 25, 2011
Posts: 207
Location: San Diego, CA USA
It can be difficult to have fresh comfrey not mold when placing in oil.  One of the ways I was taught was to lightly spray the fresh plant material with vodka and let set for about an hour or so before placing in the oil.  Then allow the plant material to set in the oil with only some cheesecloth or a piece of old cotton T-shirt material rubber banded on the top.  The plant material must be all submersed in the oil, and the material allows moisture to escape.

Never thought of cooking it though, that could speed up the process.  Did it mold when you removed the plant material?  Thanks!

Lisa, the AstroHerbalist

Joined: Mar 28, 2011
Posts: 62
Location: Western Pennsylvania
I have never had mold grow on my comfrey oil, but the first batch I ever made was smelly and "weird" looking after a few days.  I put 2 tbsp of white vinegar in it and the smell went away, I did that because I wasn't sure if botulism was an issue and the acid would help.

However, before I make any oil I boil the jar and lid, just like I'm getting ready to can and put the oil in when the jar is hot to sterilize the jar, maybe try that.


Always put your eggs in one basket.........why would you carry two?
Paula Edwards

Joined: Oct 06, 2010
Posts: 411
I dried it before putting it  in oil. But I find that the oil is not as good as the fresh plant, I mainly use it on cuts, and that often.
subject: Comfrey Oil