Black salve has been used by some for generations to get rid of bee stings and warts, but Diane Smith says she and her husband use it to help fight skin cancer.
"I've had cancer here, here, and here pulled out of me with the black salve," she said.
Her husband Frank tried surgery first, but says the skin cancer came back decades later, so they gave black salve a try, not just on the cancer, but on dozens of spots of their bodies, that looked suspicious.
"I didn't want anyone cutting holes in my face," he said. So, the black salve, when you put that on there, maybe anywhere from three to seven days, it comes out, and then there's no more pain.
The Smiths are among those giving this home remedy a shot, despite potential danger, and the American Academy of Dermatology is very concerned.
The board says yes, it can destroy the top layer of skin, but may leave dangerous cells behind.
Dermatologists argue you may end up causing more problems than you started with by trying this homeopathic option, since most black salve products contain zinc chlorida and sanguinarine, both very corrosive ingredients.
New research shows the majority of patients who try black salve do so without consulting a dermatologist first hand aren't aware of the harm it might cause. Debra Jaliman, MD, is with the American Academy of Dermatology.
"The research shows that it's very uncontrolled damage to the tissue," said Debra Jaliman, MD, with the American Academy of Dermatology. "So you can have very deep wounds, you can get skin infections from it. you can end up with damage to your skin, to your nerves, to your blood vessels."
The FDA has gone after companies claiming the product cures cancer going so far as to call it 'the fake cancer cure' and has warnings on its website advising consumers to steer clear of salve. The AAD agrees.
"We're telling patients that they should avoid it at all costs," Jailman said. "That they should stay away from black salve and shouldn't use it anywhere near their skin."
Despite the FDA warnings, you can still find black salve online, available from various companies, along with instructions to create your own recipe for self-care.