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Black drawing salve is an extremely easy salve to make for your chickens. You can use this salve to treat and heal wounds, or to keep flock members from pecking at wounds. It’s a fabulous natural alternative to Ichthammol, which is a chemical ointment and drawing salve sold in most livestock stores.
Black drawing salve also helps draw infection, splinters, and other yuckies from out of the skin of your chicken’s body. It is the one salve we keep on hand on our homestead for not just our flock, but for ourselves. Its incredible healing ingredients are generally easy to find and mix. Even a beginner can make this salve!
How Does Black Drawing Salve Work?
Not all black drawing salves are the same. I created this salve for our specific needs and it has worked well. We use this salve on every animal on our property, as well as ourselves. Let’s break down each ingredient so you can understand them better, and how they work.
Calendula and plantain are two herbs that are well known to be soothing for the skin. They also help speed the healing process of the skin, and they have antibacterial properties.
Coconut oil and the essential oils mentioned in this recipe also have antibacterial properties. This is extremely important when treating wounds and treating and preventing infections.
What really makes black drawing salve black and with the ability to “draw”, however, is the activated charcoal and clay. Both the charcoal and the bentonite clay in this recipe have the unique ability to draw out Microparticles, infection, and more. These two ingredients have been used around the world for centuries for exactly this reason. They also help create a natural barrier between the ailing part of the body and the outside world. This helps a fresh wound to stay safely protected from bacteria.
How to Make Black Drawing Salve
If there’s one salve you should keep on hand at all times, it’s this salve. It is so versatile when it comes to ailments. Use it on frostbitten rooster combs, bumblefoot, wounds, irritations — the possibilities are endless. This salve not only soothes and heals, but it also draws out infection and helps with inflammation.
This recipe calls for infused oils. After the recipe, you’ll find the instructions on how to make an infused oil.
- 6 tbsp calendula-infused oil
- 3 tbsp plantain-infused oil
- 1 tbsp coconut oil (or sweet almond, castor, or grapeseed oil)
- 3 tsp beeswax
- 3 tsp activated charcoal
- 3 tsp bentonite clay
- 10 drops tea tree essential oil
- 10 drops lavender essential oil (optional)
- Storage tins or jars
- In a saucepan, add about one inch of water to the bottom and turn on to medium heat. You’re going to be making a double boiler so that your oils won’t be touching direct heat.
- In a glass or tin jar, add calendula oil, plantain oil, coconut oil, and beeswax. Place the jar in the saucepan to create a double boiler. Stir oils and beeswax until melted completely.
- Add charcoal and clay, mix well. If you need a thicker consistency, add a little more clay.
- Remove from heat and add essential oils. I like to add tea tree and lavender because of their healing properties, but the possibilities are endless.
- *Optional — if you’d like a more whipped consistency, leave the salve in the mason jar until almost hardened, then whip it with a whisk or immersion blender.
- Pour salve into a jar or individual tins. Allow to cool completely, then cap tightly, label, and store for up to a year in your medicine cabinet.
- When needed, use a small amount topically. You can leave the wound uncovered or, after using the salve, cover the wound with a bandage for up to twelve hours before rinsing the salve off.
Note: Activated charcoal and bentonite clay can be purchased from most health food stores and online. They can sometimes be found in the health and beauty section of regular stores as well.
How to Make Infused Oils
Making infused oils is so simple. I like to make a lot at one time so that I can keep them on hand for salve recipes like these. Use the instructions below to make the infused oils you’ll need for this recipe.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a glass jar, measure out one ounce of herb to five ounces of oil (I like to use avocado or jojoba oil). Be sure that the oil covers all of the herbs. You may have to crush the herbs to get them to be submerged.
- Once your oven is heated, turn the oven off and place the jars (on a cookie sheet) into the oven. Let them set for three hours to infuse into the oil.
- Remove jars from the oven and let cool. Strain out the herbs as much as possible, and bottle each individual infused oil into a new jar or bottle. Store for up to one year.
If you prefer to make infused oils the old fashioned way, you can simply measure the herbs and oils into your jar, cap tightly, and set the jar in a sunny window for four to six weeks. Make sure you share your jar once a day. After infused, continue with step 4 for straining and storing.
I, personally, enjoy the quick method better. I am awful at waiting!
Enjoy this homemade black drawing salve and keep in on hand in your chicken medicine cabinet at all times! You never know when you might need it. Enjoy!
Originally published in the Backyard Poultry Special Subscriber 2020 issue — Comb to Tail Health — and regularly vetted for accuracy.