Feb 182011

BLACK SALVE….aka…Drawing Salve, Ichthammol, Black Drawing Salve not to be confused with the black drawing salve made with bloodroot also referred to as black drawing salve and is used for skin cancer.

UPDATE 6/22/14:  The salve I’ve been using (below) has either gotten extremely hard to find or extremely EXPENSIVE.  That said, I’ve ordered this Squire Drawing Salve  at Amazon.com (NOTE: the image below shows that the label is blue – it is NOT.  The product I have is the red label you see when clicking on the link):

Now, I can’t tell you how well it works compared to what I had been using, but can tell you that it contains the same ingredients as the Perrigo brand and is a drawing salve like Perrigo’s.  The other important piece that I have noticed once I received this, is that the scent of this brand’s isn’t as strong as Perrigo’s….whether that be good or bad – I don’t know yet.

I do know that it smells exactly like the Prid brand drawing salve, which I know has worked on healing other issues on humans.  That said, I’m COUNTING on it working as well as Perrigo’s and will update you after I’ve tried it out on a cat’s abscess (it’s only a matter of time before one of the 13 cats gets another).


I have been dying to tell you about my encounters with Black Salve. So, for you who don’t know what it is, or would like to read what black salve is all about….here you go.  This stuff has saved me so much money in vet bills you can’t even begin to imagine!  Plus, I have saved countless trips to the doctors using Black Salve….read on!

What is this salve?  Well…if you go to a store you would more than likely find…Ichthammol ointment on the shelf, or many times you need to ask the pharmacist for it, as it’s kept in the pharmacy.  I have asked some pharmacists for Black Salve, and have them not have a clue what I was talking about, as most only know it by Ichthammol ointment.  You can purchase alternative products made with herbs online and possibly in health food stores.  

For purposes of this writing, I am going to use the ingredients you’d find in Ichthammol ointment. It is made from sulfonated shale oil and combined with other ingredients, like lanolin or petroleum, to treat skin problems. It comes in different strength concentrations. Ichthammol ointment, well-known for its drawing effect, also has antibacterial, antimycotic and anti-inflammatory properties. Ichthammol ointment can be useful to treat different types of skin conditions in both humans and animals.* And…don’t say I didn’t warn you…it stinks!

This is the same exact product (below) I use to treat…boils, ingrown hairs, pimple like lesions that don’t come to a head (sorry…don’t know how to describe them otherwise), slivers, and the countless abscesses my cats have encountered (as they aren’t too smart and have to fight thinking they each own the home). I recommended this to a friend when she had no health insurance as she had an issue with a toe nail…she told me it worked like a charm! One can find it online at Amazon.com and many other online retailers as well as in pharmacies.  I would not hesitate in buying the product below either – it’s the same as the one below – just by a different company.  If you don’t have the need for the larger tub above, try this.

So here’s what you do with it:


When you have a boil manifesting apply the black salve to the area and cover with a bandaid. Continue this treatment…usually about 3 days until the boil or pimple like lesion erupts and begins to drain. Once this happens, you need to stop using it right away. Next, I use a triple anti-biotic ointment on the wound to help keep the area from getting infected (not always necessary…but I like to be on the cautious side…you know…an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure…kinda thing). That’s it!

The lesions I refer to are very common for my son who has multiple handicaps. He gets them on his back and on one shoulder. Just recently, he had one on his lower back…it looked so sore! So I applied the ointment at bedtime, and come morning…yes…the very next morning, the lesion opened and drained. It’s was completely healed in two days. He has fabulous skin otherwise. I am actually thinking these lesions may be a result of the fabric softener I insist on using in my laundry (they contain oils I recently discovered). I am going to try the Purex Crystals to see if these lesions disappear as the Crystals don’t contain oils.

Cat Abscesses

On my cats abscesses I use the ointment the very same way, except of course, no bandaids. As I write this, I am in the processing of nursing Ollie Ollie (cat) back to normal as over the past week he had developed a lump on his hind quarter. It was getting huge, and as it did, I could tell it was an abscess (it ended up being the size of a golf ball by the time it erupted). So three days ago, I began applying the black salve to a good portion of the lump…I couldn’t find the wound that caused it. I also applied a warm wash cloth (only because he let me) to the area. Last night, I went to check it to see how it was as he was lying on it. Well…it had erupted and was draining real well. I am thinking he knew it needed to drain, and it more than likely felt good to relieve the pressure, so he laid on that side which he had been avoiding for the past week. Today, I began using the triple anti-biotic ointment to the area and will continue to do so for a few days. I am sure he’ll be as good as new…he’s already giving me loves again. I did have to clean my couch as that’s where he was lying when it drained…but that’s a small price to pay considering what the vet bill would’ve been!

I have treated MANY abscesses on my cats like this and only once did I have to take one to the vet. Mr. Mu had one near his ear and I just couldn’t get it to go away. No matter what I had done, he would have needed that abscess surgically drained as it was in his ear as well. That’s what he gets for thinking he’s all that and more!


A tube of black salve costs all of $4 – $8 depending on where you purchase it. I would venture to say I have saved over $2000 over the years treating the cats’ abscesses this way…never mind the doctor visits I would have had to attend for us humans. Below is the very exact product I use. I always keep a tube in the house whether it’s needed at the time or not, as I have run into having to have the pharmacist order it. Of course…when it has to be ordered, this means I have to wait for it to come in…delaying treatment!


For slivers, the smalls one that aren’t too deep, I find it works well on. However, when I get a sliver…I want the thing out NOW. I am a baby when it comes to pain so I will get myself some ice, a needle, and a pair of tweezers and get rid of it the old fashion way! That being said, I found my daughter would much rather deal with the sliver and wait for the salve to work…no needles for her. If after reading this you have any questions…feel free to ask. I know sometimes it’s hard to digest whether you can trust an article that’s been written, or wonder if…can I safely use it for? …So please, don’t hesitate to ask…anything! *Taken from the product description of: Ichthammol 20% Draw Out Drawing Salve Ointment

Skin Cancer – black drawing salve made with bloodroot – Do your homework before using this.

The black drawing salve that one needs to be very aware of is the one made with bloodroot.  It is often used to treat skin cancer.  Some people claim this ointment is a lifesaver for skin cancers. I would have to really, and I mean really, read up on reviews before I would use it for that.

  24 Responses to “Black Salve, Ichthammol Ointment, Drawing Salve – all the same!”

Comments (22) Pingbacks (2)
  1. Thanks for sharing this!!

    • Stray cat in neighborhood has entire ear flap infected and inflammed and beat red looks bigger than a cherry tomato it has drained a bit of pus and i have been putting triple antibiotic on it the oozing hole keeps closing up and the swelling is not going down is it safe to use ichthamol since its oozing a little?

  2. Thank you for this post. This is really something every home should have on hand at all time.

  3. Oh wow I will have to get some. My cats are constantly tearing each other up. I have never even heard of this….

    • Same here Shannon – there are a select few males of mine that are just hateful to each other. You can always tell when one of them has a case of the butt – but only if I’m awake to intervene. Sometimes, the dog will intervene, but she’s not always going for the right cat 🙁

  4. this is a great post and i have used that before and yes it does stink, very hard smell to it.. my brother had a boil under his arm pit one time and i had to use this on him… worked great, thanks for share , i never new you could use it on animals 😉 @tisonlyme143

    • Doesn’t it stink Dorothy?! That said – it also works wonders! I’ll take the smell any day over having to pay a $200/$300 vet bill for an abscess on one of my cats.

  5. We keep this in our home at all times. It is great for splinters, cuts, boils. Wouldn’t go without it!!!

  6. Are you certain it’s safe to administer Ichthammol on a cat? I have an 11 y.o. who has what the vet calls cellulitis around 3 puncture wounds and would like to apply this to it, but am concerned he’ll ingest it. Thanx!

    • Lynda – my question to you would be – the puncture wounds – are they abscessed? If they aren’t abscessed I would NOT use the ichthammol ointment but rather triple antibiotic ointment. If they are abscessed, and you use the ichthammol – the cat may lick it – mine do and I haven’t had any issues with them doing so. Of course I try to discourage it…but that doesn’t work 99.9% of the time. If I were you – and you decided to use it – I wouldn’t put a huge gob on each puncture – I’d start with a thin layer on each one.

  7. The World could use a lot more like YOU!
    Thank You for sharing your very valuable information. 🙂

  8. I have a question, as my cat is suffering a ruptured abscess… Is it safe to use on the open wound??

    I have been cleaning it with warm water and peroxide as well as putting antibiotic ointment on it when he allows it….. He is limping more now than when it first ruptured.

    I’m so worried for him!

    • Sara, my first thought is – does the kitty have another one that you haven’t discovered yet? If not, I don’t know as if I would put the ointment on at this point. I know that when my cat’s abscess ruptures – they’re uncomfortable for a couple of days. If you’re kitty doesn’t get better within 2-3 days, I’d take him to the vet. I’d be worried that the infection got into his blood stream.

  9. Hello. I have an infected open wound on the plantar region of my foot. Can I use Ichthammol on this wound? It was originally caused by a splinter, but MRI reveals no foreign body in the foot. Still infected, though. Will Ichthammol help?
    Thank you for your attention.

    • I would like to say yes, Deborah – but not knowing the details of the wound …how deep it is, the size of it etc. – I am leery on giving you an answer. My first thought – what about trying a triple antibiotic ointment? My second thought is – have they checked you for staph infection? Maybe you have a deep tissue infection going on? If you do try the ointment (IO), I’d love to hear how it worked for you.

  10. hi i have a dog that has had a grass seed in his paw (thought i pulled the whole thing out 4 mths ago) that has healed over and now the under side of his paw is inflammed was wondering whether i could use ichthammol on the lump where the seed still seems to be but im not sure whether it will penetrate the skin to get in to the seed . Any advice would be welcomed as we live in the bush unable to get to the vets. P.S I do have the salve at hand though

    • Just my opinion here – People use drawing salves for splinters all the time and on in-grown toenails. So, personally, I’d try it; but I honestly don’t know how you’d keep it on long enough to work – unless of course, you are blessed to have a compliant dog – which ours isn’t. If I did try it – I would follow it up with triple antibiotic ointment if you found the seed came out or opened the paw pad. Maybe some heat to the pad would work with the ointment? That’s how I open abscesses on my cats…if they allow me to (the heat)…that said, anything near the face – if I can’t get it open in a couple days – I make a trip to the vet, just in case there’s an eye or tooth issue going on and not a real abscess. If you try it – come back and let us know how you fared 🙂

  11. How do you keep it in the cat and not all over the furniture? Thank you MN I’ve used it on pimples and bumps for years

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>



This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

GDPR Cookie Consent with Real Cookie Banner