Q:

What is ichthammol ointment?

A:

Ichthammol ointment is a salve with antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties for skin infections. Composed of ammonium bituminosulphonate distilled from sulfuric shale, the most common concentration is 10 percent and 20 percent for over-the-counter. This is ideal for boils, insect stings, ear infection, eczema and poison ivy irritation among others.

The ointment is also known as black drawing salve, and is pungent and tar-like with a drawing power strong enough to tease out slivers from the skin. Although it is approved for use in both human and veterinary medicine, users need to show caution as it is strictly for external use.

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