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A salve is a medical ointment used to soothe the surface of the body.
Black Ointment, or Ichthyol Salve, also called Drawing Salve has been traditionally used to treat minor skin problems such as sebaceous cysts, boils, ingrown toenails and splinters. The main ingredients are often ichthammol, phenyl alcohol, or arnica montana, and may contain herbs such as echinacea or calendula. The name comes from archaic belief that an irritant can "draw out" evil humors.
In the days before dipping, a greasy salve was rubbed into the wool of sheep in the autumn as a precautionary measure - as referenced in social literature about ancient farming areas in England.