Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Forget Antibiotic Cream: Ichthammol is Better!!


Decades ago when one of my daughters had a bad skin infection, the old hareidi nursery school teacher told me to buy "mishchah shechora," "black cream." So that's what I did, and in a few days the infection got better. I used it for years, and it has always been more effective than antibiotic creams.

The real name of the cream is Ichthammol, and in the 1970's I didn't need to learn the real name, since all the pharmacists knew what I meant.
Ammonium bituminosulfonate or ammonium bituminosulphonate (synonyms of ichthammol, CAS#8029-68-3 brand name: Ichthyol) is a product of natural origin obtained in the first step by dry distillation of sulfur-rich oil shale (bituminous schists). By sulfonation of the resulting oil (or purified fractions thereof) and subsequent neutralization with ammonia Ichthammol results as viscous, water-soluble substance with characteristic bitumen-like odor. It is used in medicine as a remedy for treatment of different skin diseases, including eczema and psoriasis (see below). Ointments containing 10% or 20% Ichthammol are most common. They are sometimes called "black ointments" or "drawing salves". Ichthammol's dermatological action was promoted by German physician Paul Gerson Unna.[1] Wikipedia
Just recently I used it on myself when the antibiotic cream was ineffective and I was tempted to make a doctor's appointment to get antibiotics. Suddenly I remembered our old standby and found quite a few pretty full tubes.

Now, why don't I use it automatically, instead of even bothering with the antibiotics? It stinks. Yes, literally so. It smells like tar. For all I know it could be tar or related to tar.

Who cares, because it it really clears infections that nothing else other than maybe taking ten days of oral antibiotic can do. And a few years ago I had an awful infection, took a couple of rounds of antibiotics and then finally finished it off with Ichthammol and cabbage leaves. Yes, cabbage leaves, but that's another blog post...

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