Health – That Pesky Wart

Not too long ago several people asked for suggestions in getting rid of warts naturally. After a little research, this is what I found.

The wart is classified as a viral skin infection that remains solely within the skin. Because it takes repeated contact with the wart to spread, it is usually not contagious unless you continually rub your wart onto another person’s skin. Some people have more than one wart on their body because of the repeated contact with their own skin. Most warts are harmless, but they are just plain ugly.

Is there a way to get rid of the unsightly, pesky wart naturally? Many people have tried different things that have worked for them. Here are a few comments and suggestions I found while researching for natural ways to annihilate it.

“The simplest and probably most effective natural way to get rid of warts that I know of is to apply vitamin E directly to the thing and keep applying it once or twice a day until it falls off or disappears. Many people have found it most convenient to saturate the gauze portion of an adhesive bandage, apply it over the wart and change daily. It may take anywhere from one week to several months to achieve results.

“Curiously, I have never come across a single word in the medical literature about applying vitamin E to warts. But many readers have sent in letters to Prevention, describing what often seems to be astonishing success, and when others try it, they too write in about amazing results. So the therapy is kept alive—a true folk remedy.

“Robert Rodale, editor of Prevention, told me that as a young boy he developed some ugly-looking warts on his arm, and his father, J. I. Rodale, took him to a doctor. The doctor, apparently a wise old bird, looked at the warts and told young Robert that if they did not go away within two weeks, he was going to have to burn them off. To the child’s mind the idea of having his skin burned was a horrifying prospect. Two weeks later, all the warts had vanished.

“I should add, though, that the action of vitamin E on warts seems to be rather more than a placebo effect, as a number of readers report that warts on their pet dogs went away after application of the vitamin.

“An interesting remedy involving the application of banana skins was described in the journal Plastic Reconstructive Surgery (December 1981). In this report, an Israeli doctor found the inner side of a banana skin to be ‘a painless, non-inflammatory local treatment’ in curing warts, especially plantar warts. ‘A piece of fresh banana skin is applied once daily to the affected area [by surgical tape], after washing,’ she writes. ‘After one week of treatment, the wart becomes softer and the pain diminishes. … After two weeks of treatment shrinkage of the wart becomes obvious.’ After six weeks, the warts ‘completely disappear’ and a two-year follow-up revealed no recurrence whatsoever.

“Plantar warts on the feet have been reported to die of heat prostration following daily 15-minute baths of the affected foot in water heated to 118° to 120° F (just about as hot as you can tolerate). Trim the callus off the growth first, and keep up the baths for two weeks. The virus that causes plantar warts, it seems, is sensitive to heat, and when the temperature reaches 120° F, its goose is cooked.” Mark Bricklin, Executive Editor Prevention Magazine, The Practical Encyclopedia of Natural Healing, New, Revised Edition, by Rodale Press, Emmaus, Pennsylvania, p. 517, 518.

Then he continues with the following folk remedies for warts:

“An old Indian method, which a woman from Ontario, Canada, told us ‘really works,’ is to ‘go out and pick a dandelion two or three times a day and put the milk from the cut end on the wart.’ The woman said that she got rid of her warts ‘in no time after they grew back again after having them burned off.’

“This anecdote brings up an important point. Many people probably imagine that having warts burned off or surgically removed by a doctor is the swiftest and most reliable method to rid yourself of warts.

“Not true. The fact is, as any honest dermatologist will tell you, warts that are ‘destroyed’ have an amazing propensity to return over and over again, no matter how many times they are treated, often spreading or growing in the process. This does not seem to happen with vitamin E or other natural methods.

“Another reader took the advice of the mystic, Edgar Cayce, who suggested putting warm castor oil on gauze and applying it three times a day for half an hour. The reader reported that Cayce’s method got rid of 14 warts on both hands in two months.

“Cod-liver oil, rubbed often on a wart, is yet another remedy reported to us.

“If this doesn’t work, you may be interested in knowing about a combination herbal-abrasive technique described to us by Dr. Karl-Heinz A. Rosler, of the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy. Dr. Rosler, who holds a Ph.D. in pharmacognosy, and is therefore highly knowledgeable about herbs, said that as a youth he suffered acute embarrassment from warts on his hands. He tried an emery nail file and worked on the warts until they almost bled, but had to stop because they became so inflamed.

“The warts stayed with him for many years. Then, he was told by a neighbor that the juice of the aloe plant, famed as an anti-inflammatory agent, could be useful in getting rid of warts. What the neighbor had done was to deliberately burn his warts with a match and then apply juice from the aloe leaf, so the inflammation would disappear along with the wart.

“Dr. Rosler said that by coincidence, at about this time, a Ph.D. wrote a paper saying there is nothing beneficial in the aloe plant. Nevertheless, Dr. Rosler told us, ‘I decided to try a little folk medicine on myself. I again filed the warts back and applied the juice from a fresh aloe plant, and this did keep down the inflammation, to such an extent that the next day I was able to continue filing—and I filed the warts flat, applying the aloe juice each day. I soon had all of the warts filed down to nothing, and they never reappeared.’ ” Ibid., 518, 519.

In The Merck Manual of Medical Information, Second Home Edition, published by Pocket Books, New York, London, Toronto, Sydney, 1229, the following information is given:

“In general, warts can be removed with chemicals, cut off, frozen off, or burned off with a laser or electrical current.

“Typical chemicals used for removal include salicylic acid, formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde, trichloroacetic acid, cantharidin, and podophyllin. Flat warts are often treated with peeling agents such as retinoic or salicylic acid. 5-Fluorouracil cream or solution may also be used. Some chemicals can be applied by the person, whereas others must be applied by a doctor. Most of these chemicals can burn normal skin, so when they are applied at home, it is essential to follow directions carefully. Chemicals usually require multiple applications over several weeks to months. The wart is scraped to remove dead tissue before each treatment.

“Freezing [cryotherapy] is safe and does not usually require any numbing of the area but may be too painful for children to tolerate. Warts may be frozen with various commercial freezing probes or with liquid nitrogen sprayed on or applied with a cotton swab. Cryotherapy is often used for plantar warts and warts under the fingernails. Multiple treatments at monthly intervals are often required, especially for large warts.”

We have looked at some natural ways and some chemical ways to destroy the pesky wart. When it comes right down to it, you will need to make the final decision of what is best for you.