White rumpled ointment tube

Ichthammol ointment is also known as black drawing salve. It is made of sulfur-rich shale and mixed with either a beeswax or paraffin base so it can be used to treat skin aliments. It is known for its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. It helps treat and clear up many minor wounds on humans and animals.


One of the most common uses for ichthammol is to treat boils. Boils are staphylococcus infections that are mainly in the hair follicles. A boil can be very painful and it can become red, swollen and filled with pus. Drawing salve will draw out the infection, pulling the pus to the surface of the skin so that it can be lanced.

Spider Bites

Many spiders are poisonous and can leave painful bumps when they bite someone. It is important to seek the advice of a medical professional if you have been bitten by a poisonous spider. Ichthammol can be used to treat spider bites by drawing out the poisonous venom. You will need to apply the ointment to the bite and cover it with a bandage. Check the area in approximately 12 hours. You should feel and see relief from the ichthammol.


Ichthammol can help draw out splinters that are embedded in the skin. The most common splinters are wood and glass splinters, which can become infected if they are not removed. Clean the area well before you apply the ointment. Cover with a bandage and check the area in approximately 24 hours. You should notice the foreign object coming to the surface of the skin so you can pull it out with tweezers.


There are many insects that sting--hornets, bees, wasps and yellow jackets. Their stingers can be very painful when they penetrate the skin. You can relieve some of the discomfort by applying ichthammol salve to the area where the stinger was. Be sure to watch for allergic reactions and seek medical attention if you have any trouble breathing.

Not Just for People

Ichthammol has been used to treat skin ailments in animals, too. For example, farriers recommend ichthammol to treat infections on horses' legs. If you have an animal suffering with an abscess, ask your vet whether ichthammol is a good treatment for it.