drawing salve

Homemade Drawing Salve

drawing salveThe Drawing Salve – It Works

This drawing salve is homemade, easy to make, and works powerfully. The jar I have is many years old, and the salve still works well. A few days ago I cleaned up broken glass in my kitchen. Apparently I missed a small sliver, for it found its way onto the bottom of my heel. That wouldn’t happen, I know, if I didn’t go barefoot. 😉 

I hobbled around on my foot all day because I couldn’t find the sliver. That evening, Dave clipped some skin to try to find the problem – but couldn’t. So . . . I got out my mama’s Tseek Shmih [drawing salve] and applied it to a bandaid, which I put onto the sore.

Tseek Shmih is Pennsylvania Dutch for “pull” and  “salve”. The English translation is drawing salve. My kids (who can’t speak this dialect) call it Tseek Shmih as well. That’s because it’s the only thing they have heard me reference it by. You pronounce it just like it reads phonetically.

drawing salve
Yes. I know what this salve looks like on this band aid.

And that sliver of glass? I pulled the Band aid off the next morning, and I knew the drawing salve had done its work because the pain was gone. Like I said, this drawing salve pulls out pus, splinters, glass and anything else too small to find with a magnifying glass.

The Drawing Salve

My kids never liked the smell of this salve, but it reminds me of home. That’s because there was always a jar in the medicine cabinet at home – and using the salve brought relief. 

There are only four ingredients, and you use equal parts to make this salve. How much you want to make is decided by the amount of each equal part you use. The drawing salve is thick and sticky – and hard to wash off your hands. I recommend a tongue blade or a Q-tip to apply it to a Band-Aid, but you can use your finger if you’d like. Be sure to use a lot of soap and warm water to get it off your finger.

I have no idea where this drawing salve recipe originated. My mother grew up with this salve, so it possibly came from her mother, who might have received the recipe from her mother. Mama had plenty of jars of this salve, and she gifted me one soon after I got married.  Years later, I brought another jar home with me, and I’ve kept it in my house ever since. This is the baby food jar of drawing salve that came from her. It’s an old jar, but the medicine is still like new.

The How To on Making the Drawing Salve

I have never made this salve, so I called my cousin (who is almost 86) to ask her about the directions. Hilda says she has made this salve dozens of times. She has given it for Christmas gifts to her children who are now grandparents.

Back in the day, they used camphor cakes, which take a long time to melt down. Camphor oil would probably work. Make sure you get rosin instead of resin, because rosin takes less time to melt down. I purchased rosin from a music store years ago for our son’s violin bow. If you know someone who raises bees, you can get beeswax from them.

To make this salve, you will want to use an old kettle that you don’t care if you can’t get clean. You can do it on top of the stove in a double-boiler or in the oven. If you use the oven, know that it will take several hours. You’ll just need to keep an eye on it as it melts. When it is nearly melted, stir it so it keeps melting. When it is completely melted and mixed together, ladle it into jars. Once it is cool, cover with a lid.

Added note: I realize that finding these ingredients and paying for them can be a hassle. Posted a week later, in this post, you can find a similar homemade drawing salve that is ready-made for you. 


drawing salve

drawing salve

Homemade Drawing Salve

My Windowsill
A homemade drawing salve that helps pull infection, splinters, glass, and other miniscule items from under the skin.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Medicine
Cuisine American
Servings 2 cups


  • Equal Parts of the following:
  • 1/2 cup Unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup Beeswax
  • 1/2 cup Camphor
  • 1/2 cup Rosin


  • Mix all ingredients together
  • Put into an old pan, preferably a granite pan, 9 x 12 or smaller or use a double boiler on top of the stove
  • For oven heating, set oven to 250 or lower
  • Heat until mixed well
  • Put into small jars and cover with lids
  • Store in a cool, dry place

drawing salve

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  1. I’m sorry, I really can’t tell you. I called my cousin and she suggested you get the melted rosin because that makes it easier to make.

  2. It’s is pine rosin I looked it up It’s in a lot of old drawing salve recipes

  3. my husband had his toe removed, i have tried to find ingredients that my granny made for me years ago when i threw a pocket knife blade in my foot. red streaks started fast i would have lost my leg. the ingredients are octagon soap,camphor terpentine achicaol suger i dont know if this is it.

  4. Hello,
    I think you might want a different salve. I have a suggestion, and am wondering if the email listed is the correct email?

  5. I have never bought either, but both can be purchased through Amazon. You can probably find them other places, but a Google search confirms Amazon sells them. 🙂

  6. As the blog says, my cousin used to make it with cakes but you can also use liquid.

  7. 5 stars
    Bought all of my supplies on Amazon, for the record. I used the liquid camphor. This turned out beautifully and works! Thank you so much for this recipe!

  8. This is good to know! I will tell others when they ask. I’m so glad the recipe turned out for you. Thanks for sharing!

  9. I read you can use plain clover honey with a few drops of iodine as a drawing salve. been using it and the glass came to the surface finally. i ordered prid as a back up.

  10. 5 stars
    I bought the pine rosin and have been wanting to make this. I also used liquid camphor. Easy to make in a double boiler. Trying it tonight to get a tiny sliver of glass out of my finger. Can feel the drawing power already! Thanks so much for sharing. 💜

  11. My grandma used to make hers using black puff ball …. me and my sister liked to go barefoot and play in the barn where we both stepped on several rusty nails. Mamaw would put some black salve on our wounds wrap a bandage around it and put a white sock over it.. in a day or so she took the sock and bandage off and it was like I’d never had a wound there. I’m trying to recreate the recipe after finding several puff balls in my yard lately.

  12. 5 stars
    What ingredients did Lucy use? It looks more like the one my aunt used to make.
    She has passed away.

  13. I don’t know what ingredients Lucy uses. You’ll have to email her and see if she will tell you. 🙂

  14. Mother had a small jar of drawing salve worked like a charm neither of us ever knew what was in it. So glad I found this

  15. I have an old family recipe for homemade drawing salve: equal parts of beeswax, lard, pine rosin, pine turpentine. Cooked in a double boiler until melted and combined thoroughly. Best to do it outdoors over a campstove and watched closely because it is flammable as it cooks. This has been passed down for many generations.

  16. My great-grandfather was a doctor and this salve looks exactly like what my mother used on me for preventing infections. My grandmother gave a little jar of salve to each of her children and so I and my 30 cousins were always protected from infections!

  17. Hi. I’m preparing to make a batch of my grandmothers recipe (scribbles in her handwriting from 60 years ago). My question is are you using powdered rosin or solid? Some websites suggest to “never use powder” – of course that’s what I bought. Ha. Thanks for any suggestions.

  18. I have never made this, but I know it is not powder. My mother had solid rosin. I can still smell it. And my cousin who makes it used solid. This probably doesn’t help because I can’t tell you if the powder will be good or not. 😉

  19. My mother used to get black drawing salve at the Army’s pharmacy. It has been since the late 1060’s, early 1970’s. They made it with carbolic acid and petroleum jelly. Turns out that carbonic acid is phenol. When Mom ran out of it and asked for more (years later), they said they had never heard of it and weren’t witch doctors. Looking like the

  20. It’s seems we all have the same story on this. I have a recipe that is a little different from my great-grandmother (I and 46 year as old) The story is told that her grandmother’s father was a Doctor in Germany so early 1800s and came up with this recipe to heal his patients. All I can tell you is it works wonders but smells terrible. The original recipe also has red lead in it and was omitted somewhere along the line for its toxicity.

  21. That’s interesting. Thanks for sharing! My great-grandfather came from Germany so it’s possible this recipe came from there as well. Yes, I agree on the smell but it takes me back to my childhood, so I rather like it because of that. Now my kids . . . that’s a different story! 🙂

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