Black Drawing Salve Recipe Made with Healing Herbs — All Posts Healing Harvest Homestead (2024)

NOTE: This article is about black salve: What is it? What is the difference between a safe recipe and one that’s not? How do you make a good drawing salve? Activated charcoal, plantain, and other healing herbs can help draw toxins from your skin in a safe, non-invasive, and effective manner. You can make this easy recipe to relieve and draw out splinters, venom from bug bites, stings, infection and boils, or soothe rashes or itching and even pimples.

Homestead work is ongoing HARD work. This week, we've been putting up fencing, and sometimes the posts and railroad ties we use pierce our hands with slivers. Once in awhile, these get under the skin really deep! Especially Mr. V.--as he is fond of working without gloves.

I’m sure you’ve had a sliver before——they HURT, right?

He had four different, deeply embedded splinters last week, pretty bad, and at least one was beginning to fester. I figured it was time to make another batch of Black Drawing Salve.

Black salve made with herbs and activated charcoal draws out toxins and things that do not belong in your skin: boils, splinters, infection, and more.

This drawing salve is so easy to make, and I try to keep it on hand all the time. You don’t always need it, but when you do, you really want it ready to go for first aid emergencies. And best of all? You can use your weeds to make this healing salve!

NOTE: Here’s a quote from one of our readers who made this salve. It’s amazing to keep in your survival medicine kit or your home apothecary:

” This is a great salve! I made it for my son who came over with an infected spider bite. The bite was already creating a deep hole in his forearm. We dressed him with a plantain poultice for 24 hours while making the salve. He used the drawing salve for about a week or so before finally going to the doctor (and only because his dad pooh-poohed herbs and paid for the dr appt.) The salve had already drawn out most of the poisons so the doc only needed to give him a script for a Manuka honey. It healed with very little scarring, and the crater was easily 1/4+ inch deep, and probably as big as a fifty-cent piece. At any rate, I was amazed at how well it worked, won’t be without it anymore.” —Rita N.

FTC Disclosure: There are affiliate links scattered throughout this article. If you click through and make any kind of purchase, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Black Drawing Salve Recipe Made with Healing Herbs — All Posts Healing Harvest Homestead (2)

What on Earth is Black Drawing Salve?

Black Salve, if made well, is an incredible, safe, and effective remedy for helping remove slivers, toxins, impurities, and things that don't belong under the surface of your skin. It's useful on boils, wounds, embedded glass shards, cactus spines, or needle-like pieces of wood.

In addition, it's wonderful for speeding up the healing from bug and spider bites, ingrown hairs, and thorns.

It's also useful for acne and pimples! Cool, right?

Some people believe it is helpful for skin cancers, however, there are specific ingredients that need to be involved. My recipe for drawing salve is just a good old basic remedy that works for what it was meant to do: Drawing out things that don't belong in the skin.

How Does Black Drawing Salve Work? The Ingredients

Here is a bit of information about the ingredients in this recipe for black drawing salve and why they work:

The first is activated charcoal:

The activated charcoal has been used since ancient times as a detoxifier and purifier. It's what is often used when someone ingests a poison too.

The charcoal helps clean the wound and pull out the offending object.

Next up is the herb-infused oil:

I chose St. John's Wort, Comfrey, and Plantain for my version of drawing salve. Comfrey is well known to speed up wound healing (it's also known as knit-bone). Plantain and St. John's Wort are incredible healing herbs. And St. John's Wort is also great for helping soothe pain.

You may note in the picture I have lavender and calendula herbs also infused in this oil. It's what I had on hand, and these two herbs do add additional skin soothing and healing benefits.

The oil is also useful for helping to soften the skin around the splinter, which helps the body dispel the object much more quickly.

Castor oil:

Castor oil is a viscous oil that has excellent anti-microbial properties. Therefore, it helps kill any bacteria that may cause infection.

Bentonite clay:

Some folks feel any kind of clay is fine to use for drawing salve. However, different clays do different things, depending on their composition.

I prefer to use bentonite clay because it enhances the detoxification and drawing action of the activated charcoal.

Kaolin clay actually has hemostatic properties, so I don't recommend using it to draw out foreign objects. What you are trying to do with this salve is help the skin puncture open to allow pus, the objects, and any toxins to leave the wound.

The clay also helps thicken the salve.


The beeswax is not only healing to the skin, but it is what creates the "salve," or ointment feel of this topical herbal remedy.

The Essential oils:

This blend of equal parts clove essential oil, rosemary, and lavender essential oils smells SO good. But more importantly, the properties of these essential oils all lend themselves to speeding healing. The Clove essential oil also helps numb the area, which helps with pain relief.

NOTE: One of our readers commented that Comfrey may close the wound before the splinter can emerge. This may possibly occur, although I've never had an issue with it. I have seen some pretty amazing things happen with this salve!

**I generally have this infused oil blend ready to go at all times, so this is what I always use for the Black Salve. If you have a very bad skin issue, perhaps consider leaving the Comfrey out if you have concerns. I appreciate those of you who write in with questions and comments!

Black Drawing Salve Recipe Made with Healing Herbs — All Posts Healing Harvest Homestead (4)

How to Make Your Own Black Drawing Salve

This salve is really easy and simple to make. It sets up fast, too. Best of all….It WORKS!

You can use regular olive oil if you don't have herbal infused oil ready to go. However, the addition of the herbal properties make this salve much more powerful. You can find out how to infuse herbs into oil right here in this article.

Ingredients for Black Salve:

** A scant 1/3 cup of the herb infused oil. (Remember, it's ok to use regular olive oil in a pinch. But consider getting a Mason jar of oil infusing so it's ready for next time!) The herbs I used are Plantain, Comfrey, and St. John's Wort in equal measures. You could also use Calendula or Lavender for additional healing.

** 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons Castor oil.

** 2 to 3 teaspoons Beeswax. The beeswax thickens it for a firmer salve. I used 2 teaspoons in this particular batch, and it just always turns out a little runnier than I'd like when I use this small of an amount. Therefore--consider using 3 teaspoons, if you like it firmer. If you like a more "ointment-y" salve, then go with 2 teaspoons.

** 1 tablespoon Activated Charcoal

** 1 tablespoon Bentonite Clay

** About 60 drops each of these essential oils: Clove, Rosemary, and Lavender.

NOTE: The amount of essential oil I used in this recipe is a bit heavy, so if you want less essential oil, that will work just fine, too.

ANOTHER NOTE: The links above are for Amazon. But you might want to check out Starwest Botanicals, which is where I purchase most of my essential oils and products for body care recipes.

ONE LAST NOTE: There is a fast and slow way to infuse herbs in oil. You can find out both methods to infuse herbs in oil in this article.

Black Drawing Salve Recipe Made with Healing Herbs — All Posts Healing Harvest Homestead (5)

Black Drawing Salve Recipe Made with Healing Herbs — All Posts Healing Harvest Homestead (6)

Instructions for Making Your Black Healing Salve:

Step 1) Combine your infused (or not) olive oil and the beeswax in a double boiler. I just use a pint size (wide mouth) Mason jar set in a pan of shallow water---about 1 1/2 to 2 inches. Set the burner on low. Melt the beeswax into the oil. Once the mixture is all liquid, remove from the heat.

Step 2) Now add the charcoal and the bentonite clay. Stir well.

Black Drawing Salve Recipe Made with Healing Herbs — All Posts Healing Harvest Homestead (8)

Step 3) Add in your essential oils.

Step 4) Pour your salve into a jar. This recipe makes four ounces. I used one of my pretty jars this time, as my four ounce jelly jars are still packed away after the move!

Black Drawing Salve Recipe Made with Healing Herbs — All Posts Healing Harvest Homestead (9)

Step 5) Leave it to set up until it's nice and firm. Because I used a little less beeswax this time, I put my salve in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Then I gave it another good stir. I removed it from the freezer and just left it alone. Usually, you can just leave it alone and it will set up just fine without freezing after several hours max.

That's it!

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How to Use This Black Drawing Salve

This is a great salve! But fair warning: Charcoal stains. Be aware of this and take precautions because you sure don't want this near your good clothes!

Mr. V.'s favorite way to use this is to spread it over the wound or splinter, then wrap it with a bandage. If it's small, a band-aid works just fine.

Both he and I have seen it work overnight! It's pretty incredible stuff. In tough cases, you may need to apply the salve for a couple more days.

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Some Notes on Making Salves and Adjusting The Beeswax Ratio

One of my online herbal friends contacted me recently and explained that she thought my ratio of beeswax to oil was way off. The thing is, she lives in a VERY cold area. For her colder area, a great ratio might be around 1:7 or even 1:8. For the area where I was living when I created this recipe (Las Vegas, NV), a ratio of 1:4 was perfect. When it’s 120 degrees outside, you need a firmer salve, after all.

Even here in N. Idaho, where I live now, I love the consistency of this salve, as written here in this recipe. For a simple salve, like my Lavender Salve, a ratio of 1:5 might be nice, or perhaps even 1:6 (one part beeswax to six parts oil). However, I still use the 1:4 ratio that I originally learned, and I find it works very well.

Another thing about this recipe is that it’s not just “regular” infused oils and beeswax. It’s got the charcoal and the castor oil, which makes it behave a little differently. So, even with the 1:4 ratio, it’s got a really nice texture that’s not extremely firm.

The reason I’m mentioning all of this here, is that there are going to be some environmental factors as well as ingredients factors to take into consideration when creating your herbal salves. If you live in a very hot area, then consider a bit more beeswax in your salves. If you live in a very cold area, then you may be able to get away with less beeswax.

One last consideration: If you’re planning to ship your salves in the summertime, then a higher ratio of beeswax to oil is best. After all, you don’t want it melting all over the place!

I hope these thoughts on salve consistency are helpful!

Final Thoughts and Reflections on Making Your Own Black Drawing Salve

If you have been reading my blog for any time, you know how I feel about homemade: I love it! Doing it and making it yourself is the BEST way to go. You know exactly what is in your product, you can make your own adjustments as you see fit, and you are avoiding the toxic chemicals found in most commercial products.

Gosh---you are also saving a great deal of money!

And guess what: I'd put this black salve up against any similar salve in the stores!

Do you make your own salves? I'd love to know your thoughts on this, and maybe you have other ingredients you enjoy adding? Share in the comments!

You may also enjoy these similar articles:

  • How to Make Herb-Infused Oils

  • How to Make Soothing Lavender Salve

  • How to Make a Sore Muscle and Joint Support Salve

  • Learn to Make a Cold Sore Relief Healing Salve

  • St. Johns Wort Healing Salve

  • Lavender-Rosemary Hot Process Soap Recipe and Tutorial

If you have any wood-workers, hard-workers, or gardeners in your life, you'll probably want to give this a try! If you do, let us know how it goes for you!

Hugs, Health, and Self-Reliance,


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P.P.S. Have you been wanting to learn more about using herbs and essential oils for your health? If you want to start with a great book, I recommend Rosemary Gladstar's book, Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner's Guide. Otherwise, take a look at this well-priced online course: The Confident Herbalist: A Guide to Home Herbalism.

Black Drawing Salve Recipe Made with Healing Herbs — All Posts Healing Harvest Homestead (12)

Black Drawing Salve Recipe Made with Healing Herbs — All Posts Healing Harvest Homestead (13)


Heidi Villegas, MA, CA, Herbalist

black salve, black drawing salve, drawing salve, healing salve, herbal salve


Black Drawing Salve Recipe Made with Healing Herbs — All Posts Healing Harvest Homestead (2024)
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