Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Black Drawing Salve: Recipe

Personally, I think that no herbal first aid kit is complete without black drawing salve. This common ointment treats infections and draws splinters, stingers, thorns and infections from the skin.

Black drawing salve (Black Ointment) is a natural remedy traditionally used in Pennsylvania Dutch country in the late 1800s. Today it's considered a staple of a modern medicine cabinet, and it's used liberally for bee stings, splinters, or rose bushes. 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.

I have made a number of variations of black drawing save, but this one is my favorite. It does take some time to make, but I swear it works, and its shelf life is long. This is how.

Black Salve Ingredients:
3 Tbsp infused oil (comfrey, calendula & plantain)
2 Tbsp shea butter
2 Tbsp coconut oil
2 Tbsp shaved beeswax
1 tsp Vitamin E
2 Tbsp activated charcoal powder
2 Tbsp Kaolin Clay
1 Tbsp honey
20 drops essential oil of choice


1. Infuse oil with herbs for 6 weeks. To do so, place 2 Tbsp of each herb (comfrey, calendula & plantain) in a glass jar. Cover with olive oil. Let sit in a dark corner for 6 weeks, mixing every so often to be sure the herbs remain covered with oil.

2. In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, combine infused oil, shea butter, coconut oil, beeswax, vitamin E, and honey. Heat until melted, and stir.

3. Remove from heat and add charcoal powder, kaolin clay, and essential oil. Mix thoroughly.

4. While the mixture is hot, pour in to tins and let sit until hardened.

To use the salve, clean the surface of infected or wounded skin. Place a generous amount of black salve on the area and cover with gauze. Leave it for a few hours or overnight. Wipe clean and repeat if necessary.

Note, I'm not a doctor. Consult your doctor before using.


  1. My Dad used this on us kids for splinters and it works great! Thanks for sharing this! I've been looking for this for a long time!

  2. This is awesome for boils too. Thanks!

  3. Is this the same as the black salve that is used to cure skin cancer?

  4. How much olive oil should cover the herbs (just enough to skim the top of the herbs, an inch over or fill the jar to the top)? And what form should the vitamin e be (liquid, powder)?

    1. Hi Danielle. I use just enough oil to cover the herbs and - yes - with about an inch above which helps prevent molding. For the vitamin e, I used tablets that I broke in half (powder).


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