A cottage industry has developed online selling alternative treatments that, unlike the high-street shops, is not bound by the Trade Description or Medicines Act. This has led to a lot of vulnerable people being exposed to some truly insidious products that have the potential to cause a lot of pain and suffering. Perhaps one of the more shocking examples of this is the promotion of a paste called Black Salve (also known as Casema) to people suffering from cancer.
Black Salve is an escharotic substance meaning that when applied directly to the skin, it causes the cells to die – creating a thick black dry clump of necrotic tissue called an “eschar”. This often causes scarring and can potentially cause serious injury and disfigurement. The paste itself is made from a mixture of bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) extract and zinc chloride.