Infection Drawing Salves

Marye Audet
hurt knee

There are many types of infection drawing salves. These salves have been used to treat many kinds of problems both on top and within the skin. This old fashioned remedy has been used to draw out infections for many generations.

Ingredients in Infection Drawing Salves

Most drawing salves also go by the name of Black Drawing Salve. The ingredients in each brand are similar and generally the main ingredients contain differing amounts of the following:

  • Ichthammol
  • Phenyl alcohol
  • Arnica
  • Echinacea
  • Calendula
  • Vitamin E
  • Bergamot
  • Comfrey
  • Beeswax

It may also have healing clay, activated charcoal, or other ingredients depending on the particular recipe. Generally a true infection salve will also contain pine tar.

Ichthammol is the primary ingredient in most infection drawing salves. It is extracted from rock schist. Schist is a natural formation on metamorphic rocks that are subjected to pressure underground. Over eons these rocks form large, coarse grained, crystalline minerals on the surface.

These minerals work by weakening the skin where it is applied. When the skin is weakened circulation is increased and blood is sent to the infected area. This increase in circulation causes pus to be ejected, allowing the wound to heal.

The History of Drawing Salve

Drawing salves reached the height of popularity in the late 1800s when over the counter medicines became main-stream. These salves were often family recipes that were manufactured and then peddled door to door. As customers used the salves and the market for them increased, pharmacies began stocking them.

Bright advertising with easy to remember slogans were displayed in store windows and on the shelves. Old magazines held entire pages of testimonials about the miraculous cures that were brought about by these liniments.

Throughout the early part of the twentieth century, these salves were found in nearly every medicine cabinet. Farmers used them for their animals as well as their children with good results.

With establishment of the big chemical laboratories in the 1940s these over the counter wonder drugs began to see a decline in popularity as more advanced medicines took over. Bactine, Neosporin and other commercial remedies replaced the old stand-by salves and liniments. They continued to be manufactured and purchased by those that wanted a more natural solution to their infections.

Because the salves do not contain any ingredient that is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, they can be sold over the counter and are still unregulated. Some people are skeptical of the healing powers of drawing salves but for those who use them, the salves are a staple of their first aid kit.

Uses of Drawing Salves

Some of the things infection drawing salves have been used for are:

  • Splinters
  • Boils
  • Bee stings
  • Insect bites
  • Infections
  • Sunburn
  • Acne
  • Mastitis in cows and goats
  • Infected wounds in both humans and animals

The Future of Drawing Salves

Drawing salves have seen a resurgence in popularity over the past decade as bacteria has become immune to antibacterial chemicals. There is an interest among naturopaths and others in drawing salves being used in the treatment of skin cancers and tumors. Some people feel that there are good results with these remedies while others remain unconvinced. There has not been any scientific research that has been done in this area to date.

For those that believe in its virtues there is no scientific evidence necessary. Theoretically the salve works by destroying the tumor within a week or so. It is even believed to be able to draw out cancers from tissues beneath the surface of the skin.

Whether these claims are true or not remains to be seen. Science has admitted to the curative powers of some of the old remedies that it had scoffed at in the past.

Many people believe that drawing salves are a first line of defense against infection. They will continue to use them in a variety of ways.

Infection Drawing Salves