Activated Charcoal Drawing Salve

beth March 29, 2013


Activated Charcoal  <a class=Drawing Salve” width=”720″ height=”405″ />

By Sharon Wallace, Contributing Writer 

Have you been working on your own herbal medicine chest this month?

I’ve been running trials with herbal combinations and other naturally occurring remedies for various first aid treatments that are easy to recreate at home. Some of my favorite herbs for first aid healing include weeds that are growing right outside my kitchen door, like chickweed and plantain.  I’ve included them in my recipe for Backyard Healing Salve. Others are Melissa (Lemon Balm), Comfrey, Self-heal, and Yarrow.

Activated Charcoal Drawing Salve

Chickweed is my all time favorite herb, but I’ve been reading a lot about Activated Charcoal as a drawing agent. Activated charcoal has been used since antiquity to deal with many health related issues from whitening teeth to relieving gas, removing toxins from our digestive tract (including those from food poisoning), and pulling bacteria from wounds to relieve or prevent infection.

The way activated charcoal works is by trapping bacteria in the many tiny little pockets in its surface. When used internally, it doesn’t enter the blood stream but passes right through our digestive system taking its unwanted cargo with it. When used topically, as a poultice, it provides amazing drawing properties that pull infectious bacteria from wounds and boils.

How it would work in a salve ? Would the tiny pockets needed to carry bacteria away be clogged with the oils and waxes in the salve ? I did my research and found that many folks are finding that activated charcoal is also effective when used this way ! So I thought…why not add a few herbs with healing properties to provide a little extra healing help to the activated charcoal…you know how I love herbal synergy !

**Don’t want to make your own?  Grab some at our store!**

You can click on the following links for some how-to posts on making salve ,  making poultices, and infusing oils.


  • ½ Cup of Castor Oil- very healing
  • ½ Cup of Olive Oil or Herbal Infused Oil- also healing and a great medium for infusing with herbs.


I used the olive oil I had already infused with the herbs from the Backyard Healing Salve.

To make your own infused oil, simply add your fresh or dried herbs to the oils and allow them to warm for 2-3 hours.  Then strain off the oils and continue.  You’re not limited to the herbs I’ve used here.  Feel free to use whatever healing herbs you have on hand or even use the olive oil without infusing.

Note : I like to use Comfrey in many of my healing balms but didn’t include it in this one because comfrey speeds cell regeneration and healing which is great but often knits together the skin over a wound before the tissues inside have healed. We want to avoid this until we’re sure the wound is infection free.

**Don’t want to make your own?  Grab some at our store!**

Warm the oils in a double boiler over low heat.

Add :

  • ½ oz. Beeswax
  • Stir until melted

Add :

  • ¼ cup Activated Charcoal
  • 1/8 cup Bentonite Clay (also exceptional properties for drawing out toxins)

Stir until smooth. Remove from heat and allow to cool just a bit so our volatile essential oil doesn”t evaporate.

Add :

  • 20 drops of tea tree Essential Oil

Pour into sterilized tins or small jars.

Apply as needed to wounds, boils, splinters, insect bites and other infected skin irritations.

Caution:  What we’ve prepared here is basically a tarry, sooty, oily treatment that is quite effective but also a bit messy.  Always cover the salve with a bandage to avoid staining clothing or furniture.

**Don’t want to make your own?  Grab some at our store!**

Activated Charcoal  <a class=Drawing Salve” width=”400″ height=”654″ />

Have you used Activated Charcoal?  What’s your favorite application?

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  1. Yes! My brother-in-law had a horrible carbuncle on his lower back, just above his bottom area. It had gotten really big and painful (he was trying to care for it on his own, but it just made it worse) to the point where he couldn’t even sit down. Things like car rides, watching TV, eating at the dinner table were excrutiating for him. It was so deep you could no longer really see anything, it was just a hard, red, swollen mass. I made a concoction using castor oil, activated charcoal, bentonite clay, colloidal silver, tea tree EO, manuka honey and some lavender EO. Mixed this all together in a glass jar and told him to spread it over his carbuncle. Then place a clean rag (like an old t-shirt scrap) over it, cover with a paper towel (for extra absorption) and finally plastic wrap. This is just to make sure it doesn’t get on any furniture or blankets. He did this for one night while he slept on his stomach and the next morning it had pulled the infection up to the top of the skin so he could break it open with a sterlized needle and drain it. He is 22, so the only one allowed to help him was his mother 🙂 They were all amazed at how well it worked and it helped lessen his pain to drain some of the junk out. He still ended up going to the doctor to have it surgically removed, but I think he could have just continued to use my poultice and it would have gone away completely!

    I still have some of the stuff and my father-in-law asked me to put some on a band-aid for him to put on an infected cut on his finger. Also my husband has used it a few times to help with a few skin issues. This stuff is amazing. Messy and kind of scary looking, but really works wonders. Thanks for this great article!


  2. The only way I have used activated charcoal is for constipation. I was amused at the instructions on the package: use so many for constipation; use so many more for ‘obstipation’. 🙂
    I have made a note of your recommendations and will keep it in my medicine chest.


  3. I have used activated charcoal when one of my children swallowed something very toxic. Poison Control recommended it because they did not wanting her to throw up the poison. She didn’t even get a belly-ache.

    Twenty-five years later she is still doing well!!!

    No home, school, or church should be without activated charcoal.


  4. […] Activated Charcoal Drawing Salve by Modern Alternative Health […]


  5. […] Activated Charcoal Drawing Salve by Modern Alternative Health […]


  6. […] Activated Charcoal Drawing Salve by Modern Alternative Health […]


  7. Great info to have and sounds like a great purifying salve! Thanks for sharing this on Wildcrafting Wednesday! Congrats on your feature today! Hope to see back with more great info 🙂


  8. We always had drawing salve in the house growing up. You can still by tubes/jars of it in Holland. It works like a charm for a multitude of things, whether boils or splinters etc


  9. […] How to make your own Activated Charcoal Drawing Salve:/2013/03/29/activated-charcoal-drawing-salve/#.UlAI_tJJMnA […]


  10. […] venom and help the wound heal more quickly. Or you can mix it with activated charcoal and make a drawing salve that works […]


  11. I’ve only been introduced to activated charcoal, for internal cleansing, in the last few months. I’ve put myself on a monthly routine during which I take it for about 3 days. I haven’t thought about it being used in a salve but it makes complete sense. I will give it shot on my own first. Thanks for the tip! – Tara


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I’m Kate, mama to 5 and wife to Ben.  I love meeting new people and hearing their stories.  I’m also a big fan of “fancy” drinks (anything but plain water counts as ‘fancy’ in my world!) and I can’t stop myself from DIY-ing everything.  I sure hope you’ll stick around so I can get to know you better!

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