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Drawing Salve: A Comprehensive Guide to Uses, Benefits & Safety

drawing salve


Drawing salve, also known as black salve or healing salve, is a time-honored remedy that has been used for generations to address various skin issues.

This thick ointment has gained popularity for its potential to “draw out” foreign objects, infections, and impurities from the skin.

In this comprehensive article, we will explore the origins, ingredients, uses, benefits, and safety considerations.

The Origins of Drawing Salve

Drawing salve has its roots in traditional folk medicine and has been a trusted remedy for centuries. Its name, “drawing salve,” reflects its historical use in helping to draw out splinters, thorns, and other foreign objects embedded in the skin. Over time, it has been employed for a wider range of skin conditions.


While the precise composition of drawing salves can vary, they often share some common ingredients:

  • Ichthammol: A key ingredient derived from shale oil or bituminous coal, ichthammol is known for its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. It’s often credited with the “drawing” effect of these salves.
  • Beeswax: Beeswax is used as a base and thickening agent in many drawing salve formulations.
  • Plant-Based Oils: Some drawing salves contain plant-based oils, such as castor oil, olive oil, or coconut oil, which contribute to the salve’s consistency and moisturizing properties.

Common Uses

  • Splinters and Foreign Objects: Perhaps the most well-known use of drawing salve is for extracting splinters or foreign objects embedded in the skin. The salve softens the skin and surrounding tissues, making it easier for the object to be removed.
  • Boils and Abscesses: It is often used to help “bring out” the pus from boils and abscesses, aiding in the healing process.
  • Insect Bites and Stings: It may provide relief from the discomfort caused by insect bites and stings.
  • Minor Skin Irritations: Some individuals use drawing salve on minor skin irritations, such as minor cuts, scrapes, or rashes.


  • Non-Invasive: Drawing salves offer a non-invasive approach to addressing skin issues, potentially reducing the need for more aggressive interventions.
  • Time-Tested: It has a long history of use, suggesting its effectiveness in certain situations.
  • Readily Available: Many drugstores and online retailers offer drawing salves without the need for a prescription.

Safety Considerations

While it can be effective for specific purposes, there are important safety considerations:

  • Consult a Healthcare Professional: It’s crucial to consult a healthcare professional for any serious or persistent skin issue. Drawing salve may not be appropriate for all conditions.
  • Allergies: Some individuals may be sensitive or allergic to its ingredients, so it’s essential to perform a patch test before applying it to a larger area.
  • Avoid Internal Use: Drawing salves are for external use only and should not be ingested.


Drawing salve, with its historical significance and potential benefits, remains a versatile remedy for various skin conditions. While it can be a valuable addition to your home healthcare kit for minor issues like splinters and boils, it’s crucial to use it judiciously and seek professional medical guidance when dealing with more serious or persistent skin concerns. Always prioritize safety and consult with a healthcare provider when in doubt.

Featured photo: (special thanks!)

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Navjot Singh
I'm an independent healthcare analyst with a passion for exploring and researching overall well-being. From cutting-edge medications to time-tested traditions, I delve into various perspectives. My extensive analysis covers health, alternative treatments, nutrition, fitness, herbs, and parenting. Every write-up on Bloomposts is churned thoroughly from authentic & published mediums. My aim is to provide valuable information for those who seek it. Now, let's dive into the articles - I hope you find them enjoyable and valuable.

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