A drawing salve is an ointment that can be used in treating various kinds of skin inflammation. The ointment is so named because it “draws out” the source of the problems. It could be an infection, wood splinter, glass shard, ingrown toenail, or insect poison.
For many generations, the drawing salve has been used by many as a home remedy. The main use for the ointment is for the treatment of sores, cuts and poison ivy. It became quite successful during the late 1800s when medicinals and various balms were widely advertised. Old fashioned pharmacies were filled with many sworn testimonials about ointments that come in bright packaging and armed with many catchy slogans. Even though it was a time when true medicines and frauds were hard to distinguish from each other, the drawing salve, which was also known as Black Ointment or Icthyol Salve, was actually an effective concoction that consisted of roots, herbs, extracts, and oils. The ointment actually soothed the skin when applied.
Even though drawing salves are still unregulated by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and actually not classified as a medicine in the United States, it still enjoys immense popularity as an over the counter purchase. A look at the medicine cabinets of the typical home will reveal that many families stock up on drawing salves and usually bring it out and apply it for such incidents as splinters bee stings.
Based on the most popular drawing salve brands, the main ingredients used include phenyl alcohol, ichthammol, arnica Montana, and number of herbs that include calendula, and Echinacea. These ingredients are mixed with Vitamin E, bergamot oil, comfrey oil, and a beeswax base.