Diluted Thinking

in Australian healthcare

Black Salve in Australia

Basic Information

Black Salve is promoted as a natural, safe, alternative treatment for cancer. It is a corrosive substance that is applied topically. Black Salve is popular with people who believe conventional approaches to cancer treatment are dangerous and ineffective. Other common names for Black Salve are red salve, yellow salve, escharotics and Cansema.

Proponents believe that when the salve is applied to a cancerous area, it draws all the cancer cells to that site, eating them away, and leaving normal tissue unharmed.

Common ingredients of Black Salve include zinc chloride, DMSO, and bloodroot. It is an unregulated product so consumers can never be sure exactly what it contains. Some websites and DVD's include instructions on how to make your own Black Salve and how to apply it.

Black Salve is most commonly used to treat skin cancers, but some people have used it to treat breast cancer and other internal cancers.

For further information, please visit:

Use of Black Salve in Australia

Any product for which therapeutic claims are made must be listed, registered or included in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) before it can be supplied. Black Salve is not included in the register because the TGA has found no credible scientific evidence that these salves can cure or treat cancer. Therefore, it is not legal for any persons to supply Black Salve for therapeutic use.

Black Salve is not banned in Australia because the TGA can only ban products listed in the register, though it can issue warnings about any listed, or unlisted, therapeutic good.

Use by Health Practitioners

A few alternative medicine health practitioners have stated they have used Black Salve on their patients as a cancer treatment. Many more support the right for it be used in treating cancer, but it's unknown if they use Black Salve on their own patients or recommend it to them.

Patients need to be aware that health professional indemnity insurance held by practitioners would not cover the use of Black Salve. In the event a patient was harmed or left disfigured by Black Salve, their only recourse would be civil action. And the effects of Black Salve can be horrific. [WARNING: graphic images]

It is likely that the only health practitioners using Black Salve today on their patients will be unregistered and/or unqualified.

Use by Individuals

As it is illegal to supply Black Salve for therapeutic use, there's an increasing number of individuals making their own salves and applying it themselves. Instructions for making and applying Black Salve can be easily found on the internet.

Government Warnings

On 10 February 2012, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) issued the following advice Black Salve use on animals, advising that Black Salve is not registered for use on animals and included a warning that the supply of unregistered veterinary chemical products is a serious offence.

On 19 March 2012, the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) issued a safety alert TGA warns customers about the use of Black and Red Salves in treating cancer.

Further warnings about Black Salve can be found at:

Support for Black Salve

A number of support groups have appeared in recent times, campaigning for the use of Black Salve in cancer treatment and to legalise the supply of it for therapeutic use.

A vocal supporter of Black Salve is Elaine Hollingsworth, a Queensland based campaigner for natural health. She has produced the DVD One Answer to Cancer which includes instructions on how to make and apply your own Black Salve.

Adrian Jones, a Queensland-based naturopath, has written two ebooks about using Black Salve in cancer treatment. He also features in Hollingsworth's One Answer to Cancer DVD, describing Black Salve as "There's a natural substance that cleans out cancer tissue so well, that I refer to it as 'Nature's Scalpel'".