A 55 year old Australian man has been left with an inch wide hole on the side of his head after using a black salve ointment.
Upon turning up to a Brisbane hospital where he finally sought treatment, the man told doctors he had turned to to the ‘alternative medicine’ ointment because he believed it would help treat his skin cancer.
Further questioned by doctors, the man said he had been applying the black salve ointment every day for four months until it led to a black hole in his head.
The incident came to be noted when the 55 year old Australian man first entered Princess Alexandra Emergency Department in Brisbane.
Told Dr Natalie Ong: ‘He was using a ‘strong narcotic analgesic used to relieve pain’ to combat the agony.’
At the time doctors thought they would have to operate on the man but after being sent home to tend to the wound the wound miraculously came to heal within three months.
According to the UK’s dailymail, black salve ointment also known as drawing salve, contains sanguinarine – derived from bloodroot – and is often mixed with zinc chloride, working as a corrosive.
The paste is used on a topical area, moles, scars and sometimes cancer, it destroys skin tissue, leaving being a black scar which later falls off.
Black salves were popular in the early 1900s to treat skin lesions, but have been listed as a ‘fake cancer treatment’ by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since 2004, and the organisation is actively trying to ban it in the U.S.
In Australia, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) condemned the ointments as recently as 2012, although they are not yet banned.
A naturopath with more than 20 years experience, who asked not to be named, agreed that many people in the community were using the treatment independently. “This particular case looks like gross over-treatment, where he’s put it on many more times than he needed to,” he said. “He probably just should have put it on for 24 hours then left it.””>Contemplated dermatologist Dr Erin McMeniman: ‘I think it’s used a lot more commonly than we realise,’
‘Patients are often quite secretive about where they get it from, but dermatologists often end up seeing cases where there are major complications.
‘Most commonly the tumor is not adequately treated and then 12 months later it’s still growing beneath the scar the cancema [black salve] has produced.’
A naturopath with more than 20 years experience, who asked not to be named, agreed that many people in the community were using the treatment independently.
‘This particular case looks like gross over-treatment, where he’s put it on many more times than he needed to,’ he said.
‘He probably just should have put it on for 24 hours then left it.’
The restriction of black salve ointment by the TGA has done little to stem the flow of users in Australia. Until now one presupposes….