Alert: Doctors warn against use of "Black Salve" for skin cancer

  1. A Utah man who used an herbal treatment that promised to remove skin cancer ended up loosing a large portion of his nose and now doctors are warning against the use of a Native American medicine called black salve or bloodroot.

    "A friend of mine that I worked with told me about it,” said Pleasant Grove resident Leland Overson in reference to an Herbal remedy known as black salve. The friend told him it would draw out spots of skin cancer Overson had on his face and arms. "It eats up the cancer it gathers it and actually pulls it right out of your flesh." Overson said. "

    But after only a few weeks of use the salve ate away a large section of Overson's nose. "It was a little bit too radical for me and I didn't realize that it was going to eat my nose up."

    The Native American's supposedly invented black salve which is a mixture of an indigenous plant called bloodroot and crushed ash. The salve embalms the skin and then kills it. The Native Americans apparently used the salve to draw out infections. But in recent years herbal companies have promoted the salve as a cure for skin cancer. "The one I got came from an Indian reservation,” Overson said. “Supposedly the medicine man figured it out."

    Dozens of internet companies now sell black salve or bloodroot in cream, spray and tablet form. Some have stronger acidic properties than others. Provo Dermatologist Ray Peterson said he sees a lot of problems cause by home remedy skin cancer treatments. “I have also seen most of an ear eroded and eaten away from the same agent. The most common thing I see is probably just a bad scar from the herbal remedy that is used."

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