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Homemade Drawing Salve with Honey & Calendula

Homemade drawing salve - Dr. Axe

Homemade drawing salve may be one of the best options when it comes to healing. Drawing salve is a blend of ingredients that create an ointment used topically to help heal skin inflammation, boils, insect bites and splinters. In ancient times, drawing salve, also known as black salve, was believed to draw out evil spirits that were causing ailments, but it is regaining popularity due to its beneficial healing power and highly antiseptic qualities.

This homemade drawing salve stays true to its name because the ingredients not only pull out impurities, but also draws out foreign objects by softening the skin. This softening can also create pus that helps push any foreign object or poison out of the wounded area.

I consider homemade drawing salve a must-have in your first aid kit, especially if you are out in the wilderness on a hike, but it can do just as well at home making it a quick go-to for just about any skin irritation or small wound. While you can purchase drawing salve and may have heard of the popular brand Prid Drawing Salve, I find that making my own is better so that I can ensure I have ingredients that are safe and effective.

How to Make Homemade Drawing Salve

To make this powerfully healing drawing salve, I recommend to prepare your calendula-infused olive oil a few days in advance.

Using a double-boiler (or a glass boil in a pan of water), place the shea butter and coconut oil in the pan. On low heat, melt these two ingredients and stir. Shea butter is a favorite of mine because it adds just the right thickness while helping treat any skin irritation and aid in cell regeneration. And, of course, benefit-rich coconut oil is a must-ingredient due to the phenomenal antibacterial properties it contains.

Next, add the calendula-infused olive oil, honey and arnica oil. Blend well. In the same species as marigolds, calendula is an amazing flower that offers true antibacterial benefits. The acids that are found within the oils of the calendula plant are both antimicrobial and antiviral, which is why you want this as an ingredient in your drawing salve.

Additionally, honey must be included since it offers natural antibacterial wound-healing effects, and honey helps the body to naturally produce hydrogen peroxide, making it nearly impossible for bacteria to thrive. A raw honey or Manuka honey salve is ideal. Arnica oil works wonders due to the helanalin it contains, which is a lactone long known in folk medicine to be a healing agent. (1)

Now, add the aloe vera, vitamin E oil and activated charcoal and continue to mix. Aloe vera is famous for healing the skin of any irritations to include wounds. Activated charcoal helps remove toxins from the affected area while reducing any itchy feeling. You can’t go wrong with vitamin E oil since it is the perfect healing agent, reducing inflammation while speeding up cell regeneration.

Once all of these ingredients have been well blended, add the frankincense and tea tree oil. Frankincense is a true healer of most anything and can even help reduce any scarring that may occur due to the wound. Tea tree oil makes a great partner with loads of antibacterial benefits and can help prevent any infection.

To use your DIY drawing salve, apply a small amount to the affected area and gently rub. Leaving it on overnight may be needed to allow time for the skin to soften, especially if you have splinters. Applying a loose bandage can help prevent staining of your clothing or bed covers.

Some cases may require two or three nights of application. Once you see the end of the splinter, for example, gently grab it using tweezers, and pull it firmly outward. You will need to be careful so that it does not break as you pull. For boils and other skin inflammation, gently rub the salve directly onto the area.

Note of caution: I recommend making your own drawing salve. Another name for drawing salve is black salve. Some reports indicate that there are misperceptions in its use, in particular in relation to skin cancer. Some ingredients in store-bought versions may be harmful to the skin. (2)

Homemade Drawing Salve with Honey & Calendula

Total Time: 15 minutes
Serves: Makes about 3-4 ounces


  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon vitamin E oil
  • 2 tablespoons calendula Infused olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon arnica oil
  • 1 tablespoon aloe vera
  • 1 teaspoon activated charcoal
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons shea butter
  • 10 drops frankincense essential oil
  • 10 drops tea tree oil


  1. To make this powerfully healing drawing salve, you may want to prepare your calendula infused olive oil a few days in advance. The recipe can be found here.
  2. Using a double boiler or a glass boil in a pan of water, place the shea butter and coconut oil. On low heat, melt these two ingredients and stir.
  3. Next, add the calendula infused olive oil, honey and arnica oil. Blend well.
  4. Now, add the aloe vera, vitamin E oil and activated charcoal and continue to mix.
  5. Once all of these ingredients have been well blended, add the frankincense and tea tree oil.

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  1. Patricia Wakefield on

    Dr Axe, I’m so grateful I found you, I’ve watched several of your videos and, this web site is the best. Your drawing salve is going to be my first venture, I will comment again after the results are in.

    Thank you,
    P. Wakefield

    • Jeanette on

      Hi, I made it tonite. It looks like black salve. I accidentally burned my hand on the saucepan. I straight away put the salve on it, it stopped the pain immediatly.
      Thank you. Fun to make.

    • JB on

      I have not made this particular recipe but I have successfully blended other oil/aloe salves by using an electric mixer while it is cooling.

  2. Pam on

    My son has had a type of cyst on his lower lip for some months – no biopsy done.
    Now feels it is internal as well.

    Would this black salve be safe applied inside the lip in mouth?

    • M reag on

      Try colloidal silver works wonders helped a few people heal thier mouths swish 3 times a day even a swallow is he getting vitamin c in his diet? Not too many milk products or sugar

    • Kim on

      It’s really simple. Buy an olive oil and purchase some dried Calendula. You may also use fresh.
      I use a mason jar but anything you can seal. Glass is preferred.
      A medium jar. Half full of dried or fill the jar if fresh. Cover with oil. Make sure all the Calendula is covered. I keep mine for several weeks and I use about cup of olive oil. I shake mine every couple days. Then you just drain out the Calendula and use the oil in several different things. This recipe only calls for 2 tablespoon.

    • Leann on

      8 ounces dried calendula flowers
      16 ounces organic olive oil
      1 glass pint jar

      Place the dried calendula flowers in a clean, dry glass jar.
      Pour enough olive oil into the jar to cover the flowers. Shake the jar and let it sit for an hour or so.
      When you check back, the oil should cover the calendula flowers by at least half an inch, or if the flowers are floating, there should be a half inch at the bottom with no flowers. Add more oil if needed.
      Stir well, cap the jar tightly and place it on your warmest, sunniest windowsill.
      Shake the jar once a day.
      After 3 to 6 weeks, strain the calendula flowers out of the oil using cheesecloth. (You’ll know your creation is ready when the oil starts to turn yellow and smells nutty. Four weeks is usually a safe bet.)
      Pour the infused calendula oil into smaller glass bottles (or leave in its current container) and store in a cool dark place.
      Now you have an amazing, homemade oil to use whenever you like! Ideally, use your homemade calendula oil within a year or less.

    • Deb on

      Indian black salve, bloodroot salve, Black salve, cancema and a few other names is truly a miracle salve BUT it is very serious stuff! It should only be used knowing what the results will look possibly like or with a knowledgeable advisor. Bloodroot salve worked wonders on a few spots of mine removing (bad cells) I don’t think it is necessarily cancer but “bad cells”. It should not be used ALL OVER… only on a lump, bump, or something of concern and plenty of research. Ignore the skeptics that badmouth this. They usually are affiliated with people against what they can’t patent and make a profit with. “Big Pharma”. Please use caution if you decide to use bloodroot salve…. use it safely and knowledgeable and responsible.

  3. Sharon on

    A pharmacist in our town makes black salve (ichthamol ointment) for $5 a vial. It was interesting to see what ingredients make up this salve. My family has used this for decades; wouldn’t be without it.

  4. Roger Wilson on

    I am very surprised that castor oil was left out as one of the ingredients. Castor oil is prized for its healing effects on the body.


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