Crazy Cancer Cures: Black Salve

You guys! It’s time again for another in my series on Crazy Cancer Cures, where we discuss the many dumb ideas I’ve heard about alternative ways to cure my cancer. I’m gonna warn you not to google this one unless you want to see pictures of people with holes burned through their faces. No, I’m not kidding.

In the olden days when modern medicine meant leeches, people would sometimes use salves on skin conditions called “black salves,” so called because they left a big black scabs on your skin. What made those big black scabs? Well, black salves are made of stuff that will burn your skin, like zinc chloride and bloodroot. So, the idea behind using them to cure your cancer is, you rub it where your cancer is–usually skin cancer, but also other cancers including breast cancer lumps that you can feel–and BAM, the black salve will suck the cancer right out of you. Hooray!

I should note at this point that it’s illegal to market black salves as a cancer cure in the US. Because, no, they don’t suck the cancer out of your body. They just burn the fuck out of your skin. Which is really fucking painful. One “testimonial” from someone who claimed black salve sucked out her breast cancer said she wouldn’t recommend you try it at home unless you have morphine on hand. I’d also like to point out that bloodroot is strongly associated with oral premalignant lesions. 

Like, do people not realize the red flags here? Are people actually just that stupid that they’d put something on their skin that hurts so badly that you need morphine and think “Hooray, I’m cured”? WHAT IN THE ACTUAL FUCK. And for those of you in skin cancer land, why on earth would you choose this over having your skin cancer cut out? 

Please, I beg of you: do not try this shit on your cancer. And if you do, please, I beg of you, don’t send me a photo of the giant hole it burnt in your skin, because I’ve already been traumatized enough.