Black salve is an alternative therapyincreasingly chosen by patients to selfmanagetheir skin lesions. It is promotedas an effective, safe and natural skincancer treatment, but such claims arenot evidence-based, and seriouscomplications have been reported. Thesale of black salve in Australia is illegal.
The aim of this article is to educategeneral practitioners (GPs) about blacksalve, enabling informed discussion withpatients considering using black salve.An overview of the scientific literatureis presented.
Case reports have described significantmorbidity and even mortality associatedwith the use of black salve. Despite this,black salve is readily accessible to thepublic online; a simple internet searchyields multiple links to websitesendorsing black salve as an effectivenatural skin cancer remedy. As GPs areoften called on in the initial presentationof skin complaints, they are wellpositioned to ask patients about theiruse of black salve and educate themabout its risks.