Saturday, 19 November 2016

Better than the scalpel

Years ago my mum had what she thought was probably a skin cancer. The details are blurry for me now but I think it was behind her ear. At the same time there was an herbalist who attended our church and Mum must have mentioned this skin lesion to him because next thing (or as the kids would say nek minnit) she was off to his clinic to get the thing treated.
The herbalist applied a magical ointment, slapped a band aid on and told mum to wait. It stung a bit and came up red and inflamed, a scab formed and later dropped off and the lesion was gone.
This was my introduction to what I now know as black salve, also known as bloodroot salve, after the herbal ingredient.

At the time I wondered why mum had to go to the clinic to get an ointment put on and I still don't know for sure what the answer to that question is but it is illegal to sell black salve in Australia so I have to assume that our friend was taking steps to stay within the law.

At some stage we got hold of a teeny tiny vial of black salve and I have used it to remove a number of very small skin cancers myself. After a few uses the teeny tiny vial was empty and, no longer in contact with the herbalist, I went on a search for another source. One supplier has found a clever way around the legal situation, supplying an instructional dvd and kit for making your own. Another supplier I have heard of will sell ready made salve for use on pets. I find it all rather ingenious.

I once removed a small cancer from my nose and from the reaction of my skin, I knew that there was a lot of pre-cancerous sun damage there so I recently decided to treat the other side of my nose, just in case. Again, there was quite a reaction. The salve doesn't do anything at all to healthy skin, just sits there looking black. Where there is something abnormal, the salve initiates an increased immune response so the body cleans up the weird cells it previously missed.

My kids think the photos are "gross" so those with a weak tummy can look away now but it's really pretty tame and for anyone who is interested, I thought the photos are worth sharing.

Day 1
Day 2

Day 4

Day 6

19 comments:

  1. Interesting post. It looks like we can buy black salve in the states

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    1. Yes, you can. I think the US is just a little less draconian about things like that

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    2. Then why has weed taken so long to even challenge the convention? Even with the growing acceptance there are so many restrictions that it is still mostly underground here.

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    3. Mark, should I amend that to say that I think the US is just a teeny smidge less draconian than Australia?
      I think you had medical marijuana in one state when we didn't have it at all.
      When Monsanto figures out who to pay so they can trademark herbs, then you will be able to buy all the herbal remedies you want

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  2. Definitely interesting. I am fascinated to hear that if there is no problem it does nothing. If only the same was true of all medications.

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    1. EC
      Some people say it only works on cancers, some say it works on anything unusual so warts, infections etc. I dont know which is true but yes, smart medications would be good for all of us

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  3. I've never heard of black salve. It looks like it's very effective. And yes, better than surgery. If I ever get a suspected skin cancer, I'll know what to try.

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    1. Most people haven't, Nick!
      It's a secret hippie thing.

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  4. I have never heard of black salve and had to research before I could comment. You are braver than I am. Wikipedia calls it dangerous and controversial!

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    1. Ramana,
      When I first used it, I had no idea of that reputation so I was never worried. I think the dangerous idea is perpetuated by big pharma but used in small amounts it has always been ok for me

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    2. Kylie, I just wouldn't count on it being a safe product that's unfairly portrayed as dangerous. For one thing, even given the evils of Big Pharma, how do you know the research isn't sometimes right, and that's assuming that it's Big Pharma that's trashing your product. For another thing, if you're wrong about it being safe, the price you pay could be devastating and make you feel like an idiot in the process.

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    3. Snow,
      I hear your concern. Despite how it may sound, I am pretty conservative with these things. I use a small amount and would stop if I saw anything unusual developing.

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  5. I think that the advantage of the salve is that it would be comparatively cheap and you could do it at home, but whether it is safe or removes all of the cancer is another matter (PLEASE see http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/Cancer/eschar.html). Peggy will be going to see a dermatologist about a skin cancer on her face, and I’m assuming he will most likely spray it with liquid nitrogen. I’ve had this done with age spots (I inherited more than the normal amount and size of these things), and it was quick, painless, and worked really well. Unfortunately, the spots soon return, and the treatment is absurdly expensive. I even tried to buy liquid nitrogen off the Net but couldn’t find it.

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    1. The advantage of universal healthcare is that we can get simple things frozen off for nothing. I'm surprised you couldn't buy liquid nitrogen, it seems that every other thing is available online.

      I am aware that black salve is regarded as a quack product. There are a few stories floating around of people who have used it and followed up with a clear biopsy or thermography for breast tissues. One of the problems with getting evidence to support it's efficacy is that, being a product which is frowned upon by the medical community, users of black salve often go completely underground with it's use and dont use allopathic doctors for any part of their treatment so there is never a possibility of gathering evidence.

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    2. Peggy had two “precancer” spots on her nose sprayed with liquid nitrogen yesterday. I wish I could buy that stuff because I inherited what looks like age spots on steroids from my Granny, and I hate them. The nitrogen makes them go away, but they quickly return, and I can’t afford to keep going to have them sprayed.

      Another thought that came up is that you probably wouldn’t know what is and isn’t cancer, and this raises the concern that the black salve might mask the problem by taking away the bad appearance but without addressing the underlying cancer.

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  6. Don't they have doctors and health centres in Australia? I know you Aussies are toughnuts but treating your own cancers? Wow! That takes the biscuit.

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    1. Haha! The reason I do it is I'm a wuss!

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  7. You've reminded me of the time I was going to cut a mole off my face with a scalpel.

    Anyway I enjoyed the close up shots of your nose. :D

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