Black Drawing Salve Recipe

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Old Fashioned Black Drawing Salve Recipe
Wellness Mama » Blog » Natural Remedies » Black Drawing Salve Recipe

Black drawing salve is  a natural remedy I first heard about when visiting a local Amish community to pick up produce and eggs. I saw one of the farmer’s sons applying what looked like tar to his arm after getting a large splinter from a fence post.

I asked what he was putting on his arm and was told that it was a drawing salve to help pull out the splinter and make sure the area didn’t get infected. I was fascinated and wondered if it would work and if it would stain the skin.

The farmer assured me that it didn’t stain the skin and that they used it all the time in their community to help with wound healing and drawing out things that were stuck in the skin. He said that it was even effective on some spider bites for drawing out the venom.

I asked if there was a place to buy it, and was told that they made it themselves but the farmer offered to write down the recipe for me.

Black Salve Recipe

We’ve been making variations of this recipe ever since. It takes a while to make but is very effective and well worth the time. We especially use it for splinters and pieces of glass that get stuck in the skin.

I have not tried it personally for this, but black drawing salves are also said to help remove moles and skin tags.

Salve Ingredients

Salve Instructions

  1. Before making the salve, it is important to infuse olive oil with comfrey, calendula and plantain. You will need 1 tablespoon of each of the herbs, finely powdered in a food processor or blender, and ½ cup olive oil. It can be infused in one of these two ways:
  2. Powder the herbs and place in a small jar. Pour oil over the herbs. Leave in jar for 3-4 weeks, shaking daily, and then strain through a cheesecloth for use.
  3. Heat the herbs and olive oil in a double boiler. Leave on low/medium heat for about an hour until oil gets strong smelling and darker. Strain through cheesecloth for use.
  4. Personally, I keep a big jar of olive oil with plantain, comfrey and calendula in my herb cabinet and let it constantly infuse for use in salves and lotions. When the oil is used, I discard the herbs and begin the process again.
  5. Combine infused olive oil, shea butter, coconut oil, beeswax, vitamin E oil and honey in a glass jar in a small pan of water.
  6. Heat the water to a simmer and carefully stir mixture in the jar until all ingredients are melted.
  7. Remove from heat and add activated charcoal, kaolin clay, and lavender essential oil and mix well.
  8. Quickly pour in to small jars or tins and let sit until hardened (several hours).
  9. Store in airtight container and use as needed on cuts, splinters, etc.

How to Use Black Salve

Make sure area has been cleaned well. Put a generous amount of black salve on the wound or splinter and cover with gauze or a large bandaid.

Leave at least a few hours or overnight to allow it to draw out the infection or object. Some things (like glass… in my experience) may take a day or two and several applications to draw out an object.

This salve is a wonderful natural remedy but it is not a replacement for medical care when needed. Consult a doctor before using if you have any health conditions or concerns.

Ever made a salve? How did it work? Share below!

Old fashioned black drawing salve is an Amish recipe that is a natural treatment for wounds, splinters and other skin problems.

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


278 responses to “Black Drawing Salve Recipe”

  1. Chelsea Robinson Avatar
    Chelsea Robinson

    I was wondering if you heard about this pulling out cancer? My grandmother was telling me of her friend using black salve to pull the cancer out of her body, it was a different recipe but I was wondering if you knew of this recipe doing the same?

    1. Dove Avatar

      The other “black salve” that’s used for cancer removal is an escharotic made with zinc chloride and some herbs, and I think the zinc chloride plays a big part. Maybe the reason it works so well is because of its astringent qualities. The recipe above might have a similar effect since it contains two ingredients that pull out toxins, though I’m not sure it’s enough for skin cancer treatment. I would certainly use additional or different herbal oils if I was making this for purposes of treating skin cancer–the ones used in the zinc-based salve would be fine.

      This is a snippet from an article about escharotics (link below text quote):

      “The herbs most commonly employed include Bloodroot, as already mentioned, Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), Chaparral (Larrea tridentata), Cayenne (Capsicum frutescens), galangal root (Alpinia officinarium) and Red Clover (Trifolium pratence).
      There are however many other herbs in other formulations that are also
      used. In Ukraine, where I live and work, Greater Celandine (Chelidonium majus) for example, is more commonly used.”

        1. Medo Avatar

          Hi there,
          I like your web site and I like this recipe, I thought black salve has blood root in it, correct me please and if you have a recipe with blood root please hand it to I’m sooooo in need for it I’m battling a long term illness and I out of money and children to look after I find it difficult to continue the fight. I wonder whether you can direct me to where I can buy blood root herb

    2. Brandon Avatar

      Rick Simpson Oil, will cure skin cancer. This has been verified by Harvard medical. Jus saying, keep up the work, profiteers of big pharma won’t do the research for us. Lol

  2. Tiffani Diveley Avatar
    Tiffani Diveley

    Can I omit the Plantain? it is the only thing I don’t have

  3. Dav Avatar

    I got pencil lead stuck in my skin about 15 years ago and it left a blue-gray dot. Do you know if this salve would get that discoloring off of my skin or the graphite out?

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      I’m not sure after that long but it probably wouldn’t hurt to try…

    2. Courtney Avatar

      Oh my gosh, I had that same thing happen! I’ve got a blue gray dot on my foot where a sharp pencil on the floor got me as I walked by! I’ll be honest–I probably won’t actually make the recipe myself (time, money, effort to collect ingredients, etc), but totally post if it works for you! Or if it doesn’t!

  4. Morgan Avatar

    Tried making this…when I stirred in the powders (act. charcoal & bentonite clay) it just got very clumpy. When I tried pouring it into tins I dropped bits of the clumps in there but it WOULD NOT mix with the other stuff. The more I mixed, the bigger the clump grew. Is this typical or did I do something wrong?

      1. Morgan Avatar

        Yes. It started out looking like all other salves I have made. Only way I veered from directions was my herbs were heat infused instead of solar infused. I actually made it twice. First time I forgot to take it off heat first (although heat was very low) before adding the charcoal and clay. But I thought maybe the heat caused the clumping. So I tried again and let it sit off heat for maybe 5 minutes or less (didn’t want it to harden). I used a double boiler instead of mason jar. But as soon as I added the powders it was like it clumped together in the bottom of the pan. There was still a lot of liquid, but also a big clump that got worse as I mixed and as it cooled. The consistency was like gack (if you know what that is). I poked the clump thinking it was just the powder not wanting to mix-but that wasn’t it. And the more I whisked and mixed-the bigger the clump. So I poured the liquid (which there was still quite a lot of) into my tins and then tried to evenly distribute the clump among my tins. The whole mix turned black so I know it had to mix somewhat.

        1. Joseph Avatar

          Did you strain the infused oil hearb on a cheesecloth – Separating the oil from the powder first, or did you put the entire content of oil and powder into the charcoal? Because, if you mixed all the hearbs and oil together with the charcoal then that could explain its flax gelatin poultice it created insteat getting a liquid mix. Hope that help.

    1. Heather Avatar

      It’s the Bentonite that clumps (it ‘flocculates’). Only use a very little bit, evenly sift a light layer onto the top of the hot balm and let it moisten by itself. Ordinary Kaolin works much better for the formula but the Bentonite has amazing drawing power. It’s not a true clay; it belongs to the mineral group called montmorillonites.

  5. Carrie Buster Wehmeyer Avatar
    Carrie Buster Wehmeyer

    Thank you so much! We always used drawing salve when I was a kid and it works so well. I can’t wait to make up a couple of batches, one for my parents and one for me.

  6. Patricia van Stavern Avatar
    Patricia van Stavern

    I remember this salve as ixthamal. no longer available anywhere.[Ickthamap] or Ick the mal

      1. April Avatar

        I can buy it at the local drug store. You just have to ask for it, as it is “behind the counter.” Wonderful stuff!

          1. April Avatar

            Rite Aid – in Pennsylvania 🙂 Hopefully, you can find it.

          2. Stephanie Avatar

            I saw it at CVS a few weeks ago. It hadn’t been there prior, as I had been looking for it! Possibly it’s enjoying a resurgence in popularity?

      2. Audra Avatar

        I just bought some at my local feed store to use on a horse. Would it work on cracked/bruised ribs to draw bruising and soreness out?

        1. Aubrie Avatar

          Any salve made of just calendula and comfrey would help with that. You can just make an infused oil with those herbs, and then mix 8oz oil to 1 oz beeswax. Very simple and effective at helping with healing, if nothing needs to be drawn out. I’m definitely excited to try this recipe, for sure though!

      3. Kim Avatar

        Activated charcoal comes in different size grains called “mesh”. Is 40 mesh small enough for black salve?

    1. Erin Avatar

      Ichthamol is commonly used for livestock. Most often to pack hoof abscesses in horses. Check your local farm supply stores. One of them should carry it. 9therwise you can probably find it on Amazon.

    2. Erin Avatar

      Just made a batch of this tonight. I did omit the plantain because I couldn’t find any locally and didn’t have the patience to wait for an online order. I’m kicking myself because I thought about picking my own from the yard/woods this summer and never got around to it.
      I also made a couple other variations to the recipe:
      I substituted neem oil for vitamin E oil.
      I also used manuka honey in place of regular honey.
      It turned out very well. I was nervous at first because the olive oil was separated in the jar while I mixed in the other ingredients. Once I had everything in I closed the lid and gave it a good shake. Everything mixed perfectly then.
      I’m giving it a try on a weeping abscess that just showed up on my horse. Very interested to see the results.

    3. Terry Avatar

      Ichthammol Ointment 20% is still available.
      Manufactured by Allan Pharmaceutical Warminster, PA. I bought mine from Walgreens, I think.

    4. Mona Avatar

      You can also get Ichthammol at CVS pharmacy. I just bought a tube of it less than an hour ago. Looked everywhere for it and couldn’t find it until CVS .

    5. Chef Val M. Avatar
      Chef Val M.

      Yes, My parents had a tube of black Ikthemol salve that was inherited from my mom’s parents in 1967. It never lost it effectiveness and the tube was finally emptied in the 1980’s.

  7. Barbara Powers Avatar
    Barbara Powers

    Once again, you rock my world! You come through on SO MANY LEVELS! Thank you!

  8. Amy Frev Avatar
    Amy Frev

    My husband’s uncle has made black salve and he and his wife have used it on moles on the skin and it does work to get the moles to fall off.

    1. Kristine Charbonneau Avatar
      Kristine Charbonneau

      When it’s used for moles, do you apply the salve daily and cover with a bandaid to keep it in place? Any idea how long it takes to work? Thanks in advance for your response!!

      1. Stephanie Avatar

        I think there’s some confusion here between (black) drawing salve and black salve. Drawing salve–what’s described in this post–is not strong enough to remove a mole. Think about it; if it could remove a mole, would you want to put it on an open wound? Black salve (without the word “drawing”) is something else entirely and literally eats holes in the skin.

    2. wilma Avatar

      I’ve been trying many different “remedies” to get rid of brown moles on my skin…this drawing salve will work??

  9. Madre Hendriksz Avatar
    Madre Hendriksz

    So strange! My parents always had a small pot in the cupboard and we’re from South Africa! We used to buy it in the chemist. Used to love the smell, very distinctive, probably because it made everything feel better. Will try your recipe. Curious if it’s the same recipe as to what I’m used too…

  10. Pkuta Avatar

    for the Black Salve: are the herbs dried or fresh? Can you mix dried and fresh?

    1. Tanzi Melton Avatar
      Tanzi Melton

      Leave, fresh if possible (but not wet with dew). Dry well work too, though.

        1. Melanie Avatar

          This recipe doesn’t have any necrotic ingredients. The FDA warning is the following:
          “Ng adds that if you’re not sure if a product is, in fact, a dangerous black salve product, you can look for these (active and/or inactive) ingredients: sanguinarine, Sanguinaria canadensis, bloodroot, and zinc chloride, any of which signal that it is a harmful product and you should not use it. “

          1. Becky Avatar

            Thanks for asking the important questions. God forbid it stains the skin! Who would possibly want that?

  11. Kristen Schwartz Avatar
    Kristen Schwartz

    Wow! This will smell so much better than the kind I’ve been using for the last 20 years. Thanks for the recipe!

  12. Nancy Avatar

    I have made a good deal of what I called my “Black Magic salve” (I was only able to find black wax at the time) over the years. It need not be hard, however. I put all of my infused ingredients in a food processor with the whipping blade. Then with the processor turned on slowly start drizzling the melted wax into the the processor until it is like creamy butter. Once it is the consistency you like turn off processor and put in jar. It came in handy for the farm cats that would get into scrapes with each other.

  13. Juliana Lopes Avatar
    Juliana Lopes

    Hi there, I have started reading your blog a couple of months ago and I have been trying to make changes little by little. I was looking into starting to take supplements, since my family and I don’t take any right now. Do you think it is ok to start everything at once or what would you do?

  14. Justin Avatar

    I just love your blog! I am putting a large order in at Mountain Rose… to start making my own toothpaste and other things. Keep the recipes coming! I do live vicariously through you… as I am slowly but surely adding your “things” to our lives.

    Question… do you think this SALVE would be good to put on warts? My son has one on his leg. Just wondering if you’ve heard.

      1. DC DiGiovanna Avatar
        DC DiGiovanna

        Try a slice of raw garlic set on the wart with a bandaid to keep in place; do this overnite.
        Yes, it can stink, but the antiviral components of the garlic will dispatch that wart.
        It worked for me on large wart making its home on a finger joint and a cluster of warts on my daughter’s elbow.

        1. Sue Avatar

          Could I use essential oils of the herbs? If so, how much should I use? That way, I could make a batch very quickly when needed.

          1. Aubrie Avatar

            Hi, Sue, I don’t know if I’m much too late with my reply (no dates on the comments section!) but no, I really wouldn’t! For quite a lot of reasons actually. Essential oils can be rough on the skin, and if used in excess can create sensitivities. Also, the parts of the plant that you will get infused in an oil or water are different than those found in essential oils (oddly enough). Fresh or dried herbs infused in oil are quite different than essentials.

            The good news is, if your oil infusion contains no water (use dried herbs to be absolutely certain) then it will keep for a while. As long as everything is strained out and you don’t have more then an inch of air in the top, then it should keep in the fridge for up to a year. You might even be able to keep it unrefrigerated, but I would do more research! Good luck!

      2. Adam Avatar

        This is one of the worst things you can ever put on your body. Please NEVER use this.

    1. Bron Avatar

      If you soak a cotton wool ball with apple cider vinegar and apply to the wart with a bandaid/sticking plaster and leave for a day or two, the wart will dry up and disppear in about a week or so, just as if you had it frozen off. My kids use this, it really works.

        1. Carley Avatar

          Cotton wool ball is simply a piece of pure wool rolled into a pad or a tiny ball. You can buy a piece of wool about the size of a small scarf just for this purpose at the health food store (usually sold with castor oil.) Wool has wonderful drawing properties. If a wool cloth is drawn around the neck for sore throats with castor oil, it draws out impurities. Same thing if you put it on other areas of the body for pain or infection. Castor oil kills parasites and draws out impurities as well. If you use a small cut piece of wool, fold into a pad and put some drawing salve on it. Apply to skin with adhesive tape or bandaid. The infection gets drawn out and into the cloth. You can discard or wash and sterilize to use over again. Preferably use a natural off white color wool that has not been dyed. You can also use natural organically dyed wools.

          1. Alli Avatar

            Don’t put anything in the dryer that has had oil on it. There is the possibility of fire. I don’t know how much oil would have to be present, but I would not want to find out.

          2. Teresa Avatar

            Sweetie, I don’t know where you’ve been living but a cotton wool ball isn’t actual wool rolled into a ball. It’s literally cotton that’s been made into a small ball. You can find them at the beauty and health section of a supermarket or in a chemist. Google would supply some good images and information if you’re not sure.

          3. Sasha Avatar

            Oh dear…this info is massively inaccurate!
            Cotton wool is NOT wool like from a sheep (knitted or otherwise) or other animal as you are suggesting. The clue is in the name itself. It’s COTTON wool, meaning that it’s cotton fibres from the cotton plant, teased out so it’s soft and fluffy, then made into little balls, which are really just rolled up lengths of the fibre.
            They’re usually used in the bathroom for cleaning off make-up or cleaning the skin when you have a wound, or can even be used as a wound dressing in a pinch, although obviously, there are better products out there for that.
            I really don’t know why you would make up such rubbish and mislead people like that. If you don’t know the answer, than that’s ok, but don’t go making stuff up and spreading misinformation to confuse people.
            It’s not right!

    2. Harriet Avatar

      Oregano essential oil works extremely well and relatively quickly at removing warts.

      1. Rene Trigg Avatar
        Rene Trigg

        The other excellent essential oil to use on warts is TeeTree oil.

    3. lynne Avatar

      warts are viruses, the coconut oil is anti virus but the rest is not. a mixture of coconut oil and tea tree oil (used sparingly) will work better. apply once or twice dailey. not too much. be patient. it might take some time.

    4. Kimberly Avatar

      You can remove any wart (in my experience) with a fresh apple. Just stand the apple (stem up) and cut in quarters from the top down. Rub both sides of each quarter on the wart, and then put the apple back together. Dig a shallow hole in the ground and bury the apple. When it rots, the wart will be gone. I know it sounds insane, but I have used it on myself and others many times, and it has NEVER FAILED me so far. An old Mexican medicine man told me this trick, and I thought he was crazy. But it worked!

      1. Brenda Avatar

        Is there a particular type of apple you use or can you use any kind of apple?

      2. Gary Jakacky Avatar
        Gary Jakacky

        AND you end up with an apple tree! Maybe Johnny Appleseed was curing warts?

    5. LynneMcilvaine Avatar

      Thirty years ago, my then 11 year old son, had 32 warts on the bottom of his foot. I smeared black salve on the warts repeatedly for three days. Without any pain, he picked at the warts and they all came off, including the white roots.

  15. Nadja Van der Stroom Avatar
    Nadja Van der Stroom

    Duh…just saw that you answered that already…sorry!

  16. Nadja Van der Stroom Avatar
    Nadja Van der Stroom

    Katie, would Betonite clay work in place of Kaolin? It’s used on the skin for its drawing properties, too (and I have it on hand!)

  17. Valérie Pelletier Avatar
    Valérie Pelletier

    Could I omit the shea butter? I’m allergic to latex and react to the small amount found naturally in shea butter.

      1. Kaley Avatar

        Would you then have to replace with something else? Or is it just easy enough to omit it?
        It is the only ingredient I don’t have currently on hand!

  18. Donna Godfrey Avatar
    Donna Godfrey

    I remember my grandma had black drawing salve she bought from a Amish man. She was raised Amish… also would draw out a boil.

      1. Lloyd Avatar

        My folks used to make a naptha pollace (from Fels Naptha bars, orange (citrus) peel, sugar and a couple other things. Anyone know the full recipe?

    1. Darcy Avatar

      I don’t think we have Amish in Australia, but my grandmother had a jar bought commercially that we used to call the black witch’s brew. We always joked that it could draw a nail out of a fence post. This was early 50’s. Have not heard of it for years. It was magical stuff. And it doesn’t sting.

        1. Amanda Avatar

          Any latex containing plant is good for warts- dandelion, prickly lettuce, chicory, etc.

      1. Ric Avatar

        What I had in Australia was Bates salve, it came in a block about the size and shape of a pack of gum and you heated it to put it on wound or on a band aid to draw the splinter.

    2. victoria Avatar

      I wonder if it is the same thing my grandma in Peru put on my cheeks when i got the mumps. Then she would wrap me up,

  19. Kat Avatar

    I have everything to make this except the clay- can I use bentonite clay?

        1. Dove Avatar

          I wouldn’t substitute diatomaceous earth with the clay since the DE is actually microscopically sharp (fossilized diatoms), and that’s not something necessarily needed in a drawing salve. Also, the DE doesn’t have the full adsorption qualities found in clay.

    1. Serena Avatar

      I had an issue getting the clay (I used bentonite) to blend in. It clumped for me–any tips? Thanks so much!

      1. Jim Avatar

        I had to dehydrate mine in the oven. The salve is oil based and the water in the clay won’t blend with it.

        1. vanessa Avatar

          water in the clay?? NO, there should be no water added to the clay.. just disperse the clay and coal in the carrier oils before doing anything… use a small coffee frother to mix up powders in the oils so there are no clumps, then proceed to melt harder oils only & combine them to the other oils afterwards, so they slowly melt together. You want to do this anyways because shea will get grainy if heated and rushed into mixing….

      2. JORDAN Avatar

        I had the same problem. No matter how much I mixed… I even used a wisk on the powder before adding it to really break it up, and then tried to wisk it just wouldnt mix. I feel i just wasted alot of ingredients!

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