When it comes to natural solutions to common health and wellness issues, the Amish are a good group of people to ask. After all, without using truly any of the modern conveniences such as electricity or most chemical products, they use natural, homemade solutions in their everyday lives. This black salve, sometimes also referred to as Amish Drawing Salve, is an example of this. They have been using it to treat mild skin conditions for centuries. (1)
The Healing Power of Amish Black Salve: A Traditional Skin Tonic for Mild Skin Issues
The Amish community has been using a black salve for centuries to help treat various skin problems. However, it is important to note that this black salve should not be confused with products containing corrosive ingredients, including black salve, which are not approved by the FDA to treat or cure any skin condition, particularly skin cancer. The FDA warns consumers not to use salves or other topically applied products that list potentially dangerous ingredients: sanguinarine, Sanguinaria canadensis, or bloodroot, alone or in combination with zinc chloride. (2)
While scientific evidence is lacking to support the use of Amish black salve, it is mostly based on traditional use and anecdotes. The formulation of Amish black salve may also vary, but it is generally known as a skin tonic for various mild skin issues.
What Is Amish Black Salve Made Of?
Amish salve is a mixture of a few ingredients, all with their own purposes for your skin. As to which ingredients and how much of each is not precise because the formula varies from family to family. This is common with traditional remedies, which have been passed down through the generations and can fluctuate depending on what is available. The following are the typical ingredients you can find in black Amish salve.
One of the main ingredients in Amish black salve is activated charcoal, which has been used for centuries to help draw out impurities from the skin. Activated charcoal is known for its ability to absorb toxins and impurities, making it a popular ingredient in skincare products. Activated charcoal is a form of carbon heated to make it porous, allowing it to absorb toxins and impurities. It’s often used in water filters because it can filter out chemicals and heavy metals. Activated charcoal has also been used as a natural remedy for centuries, including many Native American tribes who used it as a laxative or stomach remedy. (3)
Read: 8 Powerful Natural Remedies for Pain and Inflammation
Another ingredient in Amish black salve is calendula, which has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Calendula is often used to soothe and heal minor skin irritations, such as cuts, scrapes, and burns. Calendula comes from the marigold plant, and the Amish and indigenous groups have used it in herbal medicine for centuries. It’s been shown to reduce inflammation and speed up wound healing in studies. (4)
Comfrey is another ingredient in Amish black salve, which the Amish have used for centuries to help heal wounds and promote skin regeneration. It contains allantoin, which is known for its ability to help speed up the healing process. Comfrey comes from a perennial herb that’s often used as a remedy for bruises and other minor injuries. It’s also been shown to reduce pain and swelling in studies. (5) Comfrey is not to be used internally, as it is toxic.
Finally, Amish black salve includes beeswax to help moisturize and protect the skin. Beeswax is a natural emollient, which means it helps to soften and soothe the skin. It comes from the honeycomb of honeybees, and it’s made up mostly of esters of fatty acids and long-chain alcohols. Beeswax is a white or yellowish substance that has a sweet aroma. Many cosmetics use it as an ingredient to prevent moisture loss from the skin. (6)
The Bottom Line
While little scientific evidence supports the use of Amish black salve, the Amish have used it for centuries as a traditional skin tonic for various mild skin issues. The ingredients in Amish black salve, including activated charcoal, calendula, comfrey, and beeswax, all have properties that may be helpful for the skin. However, it is important to avoid using salves or other topically applied products that contain potentially dangerous ingredients, such as bloodroot, alone or combined with zinc chloride.
If you have concerns about using Amish black salve, consult a healthcare professional. Also, if you have a skin problem that doesn’t heal within a few days despite using Amish Black Salve, you should speak with your healthcare provider or dermatologist.
Keep Reading: Nutritional Yeast: Health Benefits, Nutrients, and How To Use
- “Black Drawing Salve Recipe.” Wellness Mama. Katie Wells. April 12, 2013.
- “Do Not Use: Black Salve is Dangerous and Called by Many Names.” FDA
- “What are the benefits of activated charcoal?” Medical News Today. Jennifer Huizen. January 12, 2023
- “Calendula officinalis and Wound Healing: A Systematic Review.” HMP Global Learning Network. Matthew J. Leach. August 2008.
- “Comfrey: A Clinical Overview.” NCBI. Christiane Staiger. October 2012.
- “Beeswax Uses for Skin Care.” Healthline. Sarah Kester. September 14, 2022.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and is for information only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions about your medical condition and/or current medication. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking advice or treatment because of something you have read here.