The 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.
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.
Homemade Drawing Salve
- 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