How Does a Drawing Salve Work?

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A drawing salve is a topical ointment, or mixture that is used to "draw out" foreign objects in the skin. It has been used for many years on splinters, boils, pieces of glass or cactus stickers. The drawing salve is applied, covered and in a few days, the foreign objects are drawn to the surface of the skin to be removed. In older versions, it was black in color, contained tar and was a thick ointment or salve. The main ingredients in modern brands are ichthammol, (which is a black distillation product of bituminous schist or shale), phenyl alcohol, Arnica Montana (Wolf's Bane) and Echinacea, and may contain bergamot oil or comfrey oil, in a base of beeswax. It is also known to act as a mild anesthetic and antiseptic. Pastes of honey and iodine, or brown soap and sugar have also been successful treatments. You can buy the drawing salve at most drugstores, but it is possible to make your own at home. The best home remedy would be made one of two ways. You can either make a drawing ... more
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