Drawing salve is an ointment that can be used to treat a variety of skin inflammations. The ointment "draws out" problems such as infections, ingrown toenails, wood splinters, glass shards, and insect poison. The term "drawing" appealed to some people's sense that infection was a spiritual affliction. Instead of drawing something out, the liniment simply treats the wound. For generations, this home remedy has been used to heal cuts, poison ivy, sores, and many other surface abrasions.
The most popular brands of drawing salve list their main ingredients as ichthammol, phenyl alcohol, arnica montana, and several familiar herbs such as echinacea, calendula, etc. These are combined with skin-enriching vitamin E, antiseptic bergamot oil, and anti-inflammatory comfrey oil, in a base of beeswax. Ichthammol, the most active ingredient, is considered a medicine in some countries and is natural substance found in the rock, schist. It softens skin by weakening it slightly, which increases circulation. When more blood goes to the area, the wound will heal faster by ejecting any pus or irritant.
The History of Drawing Salve
Drawing salve became successful during the period of widely advertised medicinals and balms of the late 1800s. Catchy slogans, bright packaging, and sworn testimonials from satisfied customers littered the old-fashioned pharmacies. The line between medicine and fraud was not as firmly drawn as it is today. However, this salve, otherwise known as Black Ointment, or Icthyol Salve, was an effective blend of herbs, roots, extracts, and oils, which actually serve to soothe skin.
Drawing salve is still commonly used in modern times. Many families today consider it a staple of their medicine cabinet, and use it liberally when children encounter bee stings, splinters, or rose bushes. Due to advances in modern medicine, it is now known that the salve does soothe irritated skin, and this has now become it's main purpose. While still unregulated by the FDA, and not considered a medicine in the United States, over-the-counter demand for drawing salve remains high. The ointment can be purchased from many major drug stores or online in a variety of brands.
In the early 2000s, interest was reinvigorated in the use of drawing salve as a holistic treatment for cancerous tumors, in particular skin cancer. Some people believe it can heal internal inflamed or abnormal tissue, like cysts and tumors. However, more scientific research needs to be conducted to support these claims.