Bloodroot, Natural Medicines

Using Black Salve (Cansema) Effectively: Elevate your Wellness Journey

black salve (cansema)

Definition: Black salve, commonly referred to as Cansema, is a topical paste made from a mixture of various herbs and other ingredients. It’s primarily known for its claimed ability to draw out and destroy skin cancer cells. The main ingredients often found in black salve include bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) and zinc chloride, among others. 

How Black Salve (Cansema) is Claimed to Work:

Black salve’s purported efficacy is primarily attributed to its main ingredients, which are believed to have specific properties:

  1. Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis): This plant extract contains alkaloids, with sanguinarine being the most prominent. Sanguinarine is believed to have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Proponents claim that it can target and destroy cancer cells while sparing healthy cells.
  2. Zinc Chloride: This chemical compound is known to be caustic, meaning it can burn or corrode organic tissue. In the context of black salve, it’s believed to help the salve penetrate the skin and reach deeper tissues. Some claim that it can target and destroy cancerous growths.
  3. Escharotic Action: When applied to the skin, black salve is said to cause the affected area to become necrotic, forming an eschar (a piece of dead tissue). This eschar eventually falls off, leaving behind a cavity. Proponents believe that this process effectively removes the cancerous tissue, allowing the area to heal naturally.

However, it’s crucial to understand that these claims are not widely accepted in the medical community. Many experts believe that the escharotic action is non-discriminatory, meaning it damages both healthy and cancerous tissues.

Uses of Black Salve (Cansema):

  1. Skin Cancer Treatment: The primary and most controversial use of black salve is as an alternative treatment for skin cancers, including basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma.
  2. Treatment of Skin Lesions: Some people use black salve to treat various skin lesions, such as warts, moles, and skin tags. They believe that the salve can target and remove these growths without harming surrounding tissue.
  3. Historical Uses: Historically, Native Americans used black salve preparations to treat infections, inflammation, and other skin conditions.
  4. Veterinary Use: There are reports of black salve being used to treat tumours and growths in animals, especially horses.
  5. Internal Use: Some formulations of black salve are claimed to be safe for internal use, targeting internal tumours or parasites. However, this is highly controversial and can be dangerous.

Controversies and Concerns:

  1. Lack of Scientific Evidence: There’s limited scientific evidence to support the efficacy of black salve as a cancer treatment. Most medical professionals and organizations, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), have warned against its use.
  2. Potential Harm: Black salve can cause severe skin damage, including burns, scarring, and disfigurement. There have been reports of users experiencing severe pain, infections, and even the progression of skin conditions due to its use.
  3. Misdiagnosis Risk: Relying solely on black salve without a proper medical diagnosis can lead to the progression of undetected cancers or the misdiagnosis of benign skin conditions as cancerous.

Conclusion: While black salve has historical roots and some anecdotal support, it’s essential to approach its use with caution. It’s always recommended to consult with a healthcare professional before trying any alternative treatments, especially for serious conditions like cancer.


  1. Black Salve in a Nutshell – Australian Journal of General Practice
    • Link to the article
    • Summary: This article provides a comprehensive overview of black salve, its history, ingredients, and the controversies surrounding its use. It discusses the lack of scientific evidence supporting its efficacy, the potential dangers associated with its use, and the reasons why some individuals continue to use it despite the risks.
  2. Cansema / Black Salve For Sunspots – Dr. Davin Lim
    • Link to the article
    • Summary: Dr. Davin Lim provides insights into the various formulations of Cansema and its active ingredients. The article touches upon the use of black salve for sunspots and the potential risks associated with its application.
  3. A Review of Black Salve: Cancer Specificity, Cure, and Cosmesis – PMC – NCBI
    • Link to the article
    • Summary: This review article delves into the claims of cancer specificity associated with black salve. It evaluates the scientific evidence available and discusses the cosmetic outcomes and potential dangers of using black salve as a treatment for skin cancer.

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