Black Salve Guide
Black Salve is a controversial cancer treatment that is backed by limited scientific evidence but has ardent supporters across the world. Here’s our guide to black salve.
What is Black Salve?
Black salve is a treatment used in naturopathic medicine for decades. The salve is applied to the skin in order to fight skin cancer.
By applying black salve, you can remove small skin lesions permanently and physically remove cancerous skin cells from your body – at least, that’s what supporters of black salve believe.
The most popular version of black salve is sold under the brand name Cansema. You apply the paste to your skin topically to burn and destroy skin tissue. After applying it, it leaves being a thick black scar called an eschar – which is why black salve is classified as an escharotic.
There’s no single recipe for “black salve”. Traditionally, black salves were made with a mixture of herbal extracts and chemicals like ammonium salt.
Before you get your hopes up about using black salve to cure your skin cancer, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has classified the salve as a “fake cancer cure” and has recommended that consumers avoid it.
The salve was popular for years in backwoods medicine and among traditional healers. In fact, the first documented evidence for the use of black salve appeared in a 1955 Time article where the writer classified it as a form of “quackery”.
Black salve remained mostly unknown for the last 60 years. However, thanks to the internet and the rise of naturopathic treatments, black salve is making a bit of a comeback.
Alternative medicine practitioners on the internet are using black salve as a purported cure for skin cancer. Some people are choosing to apply black salve instead of relying on more science-backed treatments like cryotherapy, radiation therapy, or topical treatments like fluorouracil.
How Does Black Salve Purportedly Work?
Black salve Black salve purportedly works by physically removing your skin lesion and the cancer cells that are inside that legion.
This type of topical treatment is classified as an “escharotic”.
A traditional black salve combines a wide range of ingredients, including:
— Zinc Chloride
— Chaparral (also known as creosote bush)
— Bloodroot Extract (also known as sanguinarine)
— Ammonium Salt
These ingredients scour the skin and physically remove your skin lesions – often in painful and permanently damaging ways.
How Does Cansema Work?
Cansema comes in a small .8 ounce container. The paste kind of looks like vegemite or a similar thick, black substance.
You apply the salve topically onto the targeted area of your skin – like an area with suspected melanoma.
Then, over the first 30 hours, a skin lesion forms. That lesion turns into a scab. According to AltCancer.com, “the cancer is completely dead” at this point, “but the healing process has only begun.”
Within 4 days, the scab builds up antibodies and serum in the surrounding tissue and forms an edema. At this point, Cansema “has successfully triggered the body’s immune system.”
7 days after that, the eschar dries out like any scab. The skin starts to heal beneath the eschar and the healthy skin begins to slowly push the eschar away from the body – just like what happens with a normal scab.
8 days after that, the eschar has been entirely pushed out, “representing what had been a thriving cancer only days before, is pushed out of the body when the last connective skin tissue beneath it is broken or deteriorates.”
At this same time, a cavity area of the skin remains where the tumor was ejected. This is raw, unprotected skin. Within about a month, that skin should heal over, although many patients will have a noticeable scar in the area.
A website called AltCancer.com has published a series of photographs showing exactly how Cansema works. If you’re a little squeamish, you probably shouldn’t look at this pictures.
The FDA’s Battle Against the Creator of Cansema, Greg Caton
The FDA has aggressively pursued action against those who market black salves. The best example of this is with Cansema’s creator, Greg Caton, who was arrested in 2004 for promoting the use of Cansema.
Today, Caton continues to manufacture and distribute natural health products – he just does it from Ecuador under his company name “Alpha Omega Labs”. That company was originally founded in 1991 in the United States.
In the 1990s, Caton created two products that purportedly fought skin cancer, including Cansema and H30. He actively marketed these products across America as cures for cancer.
One woman named Sue Gilliatt would later sue the manufacturer of H30 and Cansema because it burned off her nose after topical application (to see how nasty Cansema and black salve treatments can be, just check Google images – NSFW).
After renewed media attention, the FDA decided to raid Caton’s offices, factory, and home in 2003. In 2004, Caton pled guilty and served 33 months in prison.
Soon after Caton’s release, he and his family moved to Ecuador. When he arrived in Ecuador, he was arrested at a checkpoint. He would later serve 24 months in prison according to a ruling passed down by a Louisiana court.
Today, Alpha Omega Labs continues to operate out of Ecuador and, according to AltCancer.com, ships Cansema to consumers in the United States. AltCancer also describes Cansema as a “miraculous product” that “will never be openly approved in the West”.
You can read more about Greg Caton here.
At his official site, Greg Caton tells a different story. Greg claims that he served a “false 30 month imprisonment” and that the FDA fabricated a “breathtaking collage of false information about Alpha Omega Labs and its products.”
When you search for black salves and Cansema online, there’s one website that supports the use of black salve against all scientific evidence and FDA bans. That website is AltCancer.com, which I’ve referenced several times already in this article.
AltCancer.com is the online home of Alpha Omega Labs, which is the controversial company founded by Greg Caton. The company was originally founded in America in 1991 – which is when the whole Cansema controversy started. Today, Caton operates out of Ecuador but ships his black salve all around the world.
The website is a trove of information about alternative cancer treatments. There’s also a petition to “Stop Supporting Racketeering in Medicine” and “Sign the Petition to Decriminalize Black Salves”.
How to Buy Black Salve
The most common type of black salve is the one sold by Alpha Omega Labs, called Cansema.
All ordering information for Cansema can be found at this page: AltCancer.com/bsalve.htm
Alpha Omega Labs sells Cansema to residents anywhere in the world with the exception of America. Nevertheless, the company sells something called AO Black Salve specifically for US residents.
That AO Black Salve is priced at $24.95 for a 22 gram (0.77 ounce) bottle.
Orders are processed through sites like HerbHealers.com
Scientific Evidence for Black Salve
Black salve isn’t backed by “limited” scientific evidence: it’s backed by no scientific evidence.
Here’s what one Australian doctor said when asked about black salve:
“The problem is that it has never had any scientific analysis. The patient is the one who is deciding what a lesion might be, and my concern is that there is no examination of what has been removed by the salve to see what has been removed, or if enough has been removed. The one big thing is that there is no tumour to analyse, so there is no histological information or proof that it's helpful. I think some people use it because of the fear of having surgery, but they could well be doing themselves a disservice.”
The treatment is popular among those who forego modern medicine and favor more naturopathic treatments.
Even the biggest supporters of black salve – like Greg Caton – don’t really provide a lot of scientific evidence to support the use of the salve.
At this page, for example, Caton’s company explains the history and use of black salve. There’s anecdotal evidence throughout that site – but no major clinical or scientific studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of black salve thus far.
Conclusion: Who Should Use Black Salve?
Black salve is an exceptionally controversial cancer treatment that promises to cure your melanoma by scouring your skin and forming a scab.
If you talk to the FDA, black salve (sold under the brand name Cansema) is a fake cancer cure that is banned in the United States and dangerous to consumers.
If you read websites like AltCancer.com (which just happens to be operated by Cansema’s manufacturer, Greg Caton), then you’ll learn that Cansema is a “miraculous product with a miraculous history” at curing cancer.
At this point, scientific evidence does not support the use of black salve or Cansema for fighting any type of cancer.