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.


272 responses to “Black Drawing Salve Recipe”

  1. Tanya Avatar

    LAUGHING! I know have a Dalmatian toe (polka dotted) and some pretty spots in my kitchen…thanks to the activated charcoal…I’ve been so excited to make this and finally infused my oils…and now 😉 I’ve learned to be veeeeery careful with the powder Hahaha. I saw where Kaite says be cautious as it stains when someone asked about using it on her face…well…she means it!! I’m going to have nightmares of my children opening this bag and my home being covered charcoal powder!!!

  2. Frank Avatar

    Wellness Mama,
    How much olive oil do you use to infuse the comfrey, calendula, and plantain? Is there any specific type of olive oil? Do you use the darker or lighter colored olive oil. Thanks for the recipe.

  3. Lee Avatar

    Have you heard of Prid Drawing Salve? If so, do you think that would be good and safe for acne? I would love to make your version but don’t have the money for all the ingredients at this time:( Also, I read and saw pictures of drawing salve burning the skin? Has this happened?

  4. Renee Avatar

    Hi there! I came across your recipe quite by accident, but I also came across this article as well. I was thinking of making this for mosquito bites, but now that I’ve seen this, I’m not sure? What’s referenced in the article is made with Blood Root, which of course is not in your recipe, but I wanted to be DOUBLY sure that it won’t be harmful before I make this.

    WARNING! This article has a picture that can be considered pretty graphic, so if you’re squeamish at all, it’s probably best to not look. It’s VERY early in the article.

    Thank you for your help! 🙂

  5. Tanya Skinner Avatar
    Tanya Skinner

    I’m infusing oils for this now; so excited! So…anyone think this would be good to put on a tick bite of caught within first 24 hours? Just a precaution to getting in maybe Yuck out or to not even bother? I am reading an article about ticks now…#ticksaremynightmare

  6. Heather Wilson Avatar
    Heather Wilson

    Hi! I have a quick question for you. Do you ever sell your concoctions already made up? Like this salve recipe? We are away visiting family for a few weeks, so I don’t have many of the ingredients available to make this up, but we are in need of it. Let me know if you’ll sell a little jar and I could paypal you! 🙂

    Heather Wilson 🙂

  7. Tanya Skinner Avatar
    Tanya Skinner

    Infusing: Just received my calendula flowers from MRH today…I already have Plantain and Comfrey…I’m going to do solar infusing…how much of each dried flower do I need to the ratio of oil? 1 T of each to 8 ounce oil? Just an example. Totally no idea. Thanks! I’m ready to make some black salve. Whoot whoot!

  8. Emma Avatar

    I use this when I get metal splinters from work – works wonderfully! But, biggest test – severe road rash from getting hit while biking. Left leg from ankle to mid thigh, left arm from elbow to hand, and worse was entire left palm. I knew the ER couldn’t have gotten all the grit out, and while waiting for plastic surgeon, I slathered this on for 48 hours on most, 72 hours on my palm. Then used your healing salve on everything. By the day the surgeon saw me, everything was clean and I had tons of healthy tissue. I’m down to the worst damage being slightly open at 5 weeks. It’s probably going to scar, but that’s it and I left a lot of skin on the road. My bruises are taking longer to heal, but they are. A big part was I couldn’t do any natural care for 18 hours, so they got plenty of time to develop, plus I was hit by a truck going 15 mph so bruising is all but guaranteed.

  9. Heidi Avatar

    Hi, I was wondering how many ounces this recipe yielded. Thanks!

  10. Brit Avatar

    Made a poor version of this today (I only had about half of the ingredients) as I was desperate to try SOMETHING because I got a hair splinter in my foot yesterday. I couldn’t see or feel it on the surface to pull it out (I searched for so long, so many times since yesterday morning, even using a bright flashlight and magnifying glass) and it felt like it was getting deeper with each step. Soaked my foot for around 20 minutes, then put some of this on and covered it with a rolled tissue covered by a large bandage. Kept it on most of the morning, the whole afternoon, and into early evening. I think it is gone! Foot is still a little tender, but I can’t feel the sharp jabbing in my tender flesh any more! Yay! I was sceptical it would work with so many important ingredients missing, but it seems to have done the job! I need to make a real batch now, and keep it on hand!

  11. Lou Gamalski Avatar
    Lou Gamalski

    I got a splinter in the palm of my hand two days ago, and stepped on something yesterday that put a jab in my heel–ah, the joys of yard work! 🙂 My family always used to have this black drawing salve on hand for just such needs, but I’ve never been able to find it. As I limped to my computer this morning, I hoped I’d be able to find a recipe, and VOILA! Wellness Mama to the rescue! 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to share your wisdom!

  12. Elishia Avatar

    Can shea butter be substituted with cocoa butter in this recipe? I’m assuming it is just for moisturizing and softening purposes more than it is actually helping create the drawing effect.

  13. Will Ray Avatar
    Will Ray

    I can honestly say I watch my grandpa pull cancer out of his body with this stuff as a teenager, plus went back to the Doctor and showed no sign of having cancer.

  14. miki Avatar

    I’m seriously questionably confused by this recipe and your story of its source. Every Amish on earth knows that black drawing salve is made with bloodroot, not charcoal, and zinc, not clay.

    I was asked about this recipe today by soneone whose naturopath recommended drawing salve for a lesion. The recipe you’ve given wouldn’t even touch it, let alone draw it out. I’m very disappointed to see this on your site.

    1. Jexxi Avatar

      Charcoal AND clay are both widely known for their excellent drawing abilities. It’s usually best to do a little research before you try to tell someone they’re wrong…especially when you don’t know what you’re talking about.
      I have used this recipe for years, as well as a different recipe containing bloodroot. Both get the job done wonderfully. Just because there’s different variations of salve doesn’t mean that the one you personally haven’t used isn’t top quality.
      Just saying. Have a great night!

    2. Robin Avatar

      If you read through the posts there is BLACK SALVE then there is BLACK DRAWING SALVE. Both work for the respective conditions they are made for. Clay & charcoal are powerful drawing agents. Have used this to pull out something kind of desert thorn in my shoulder for 2 years 2-3 inches deep. Please be careful in poo-pooing someone’s work. This DOES work… it is just not Black Salve it’s Black DRAWING Salve. Two different things

  15. Sam Avatar

    Hi Wellness Mama!

    Thank you so much for a wonderful site. I am looking at all your awesome remedy recipes!

    Quick question. Does this work on cysts? I found that I get some acne that heals and appears there is a cyst under the skin and I can’t seem to get rid of them. I’ve tried a few poultices, with no success.

    Thanks so much for any advice.


  16. Cari G. Avatar

    I know this is a really old post so I’m hoping you’ll see this … Will the salve still work decently without the vitamin E oil? I’m having an incredibly difficult time finding vitamin E that is not derived from soy or wheat, locally (I’m allergic to both), and I’m looking to make the salve asap. I’ve got a nasty sliver of glass in my heel and my skin closed up over it too fast 🙁

    1. Aubrie Avatar

      Vitamin e oil is a mild natural preservative; it helps prevent spoilage. You can get it in pill form and empty the capsules out. Trader Joe’s also sells an oil form very cheaply, if there happens to be one near you.

  17. Brad Avatar

    I plan on trying this recipe, but if you don’t have a month to prepare this, you can buy several good drawing salves. CVS does sell Ichthammol in a small tube. You can also find Ichthammol at Farm and Home stores and Tractor Supply Co. (TSC). It is in the equestrian area and is used on horses, but is safe for humans. The drawing salve is 20% Ichthammol. I came from a family of farmers and we use to use a product called McNess – For Man or Beast, which is also an excellent drawing salve. Another home remedy was to put a piece of raw bacon on a bandage and cover a splinter or thorn over night. The fat from the bacon softens the skin and the salt draws out the splinter or thorn.

  18. Clara Avatar

    i found this is my health food store. I bought it because the smell reminds me of my Grandfather over 50 years ago. I now use it for Excema.,j

  19. Lia Avatar

    I have all but Plantain. I actually have comfrey and calendula in process for about 3 weeks now. I dont have plantain. Will there be much of a difference without it?

  20. Alyssa Avatar

    I’ve actually found this product at my local CVS under the name Ichthammol ointment! I’m not sure if it’s exactly the same but it’s working for me.

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