The herbalist applied a magical ointment, slapped a band aid on and told mum to wait. It stung a bit and came up red and inflamed, a scab formed and later dropped off and the lesion was gone.
This was my introduction to what I now know as black salve, also known as bloodroot salve, after the herbal ingredient.
At the time I wondered why mum had to go to the clinic to get an ointment put on and I still don't know for sure what the answer to that question is but it is illegal to sell black salve in Australia so I have to assume that our friend was taking steps to stay within the law.
At some stage we got hold of a teeny tiny vial of black salve and I have used it to remove a number of very small skin cancers myself. After a few uses the teeny tiny vial was empty and, no longer in contact with the herbalist, I went on a search for another source. One supplier has found a clever way around the legal situation, supplying an instructional dvd and kit for making your own. Another supplier I have heard of will sell ready made salve for use on pets. I find it all rather ingenious.
I once removed a small cancer from my nose and from the reaction of my skin, I knew that there was a lot of pre-cancerous sun damage there so I recently decided to treat the other side of my nose, just in case. Again, there was quite a reaction. The salve doesn't do anything at all to healthy skin, just sits there looking black. Where there is something abnormal, the salve initiates an increased immune response so the body cleans up the weird cells it previously missed.
My kids think the photos are "gross" so those with a weak tummy can look away now but it's really pretty tame and for anyone who is interested, I thought the photos are worth sharing.