Warts! Even the name sounds ugly and annoying! Is there anything you can do about them yourself that is safe and effective? You bet! Home remedies shine brightly when it comes to wart removal. Additionally, the cure rate is right up there with the most common (and expensive) treatments used such as laser, burning or freezing.
Understanding what causes an infection like this is beneficial to treatment. Warts are growths on the skin caused by HPV or human papillomavirus. HPVs produce proteins that interfere with cell function preventing excessive growth, including the growth of tumors. This family of viruses, including those that cause warts, are transmitted through contact. Even though warts present externally, internal treatment (boosting your immune system with good diet, appropriate herbs and vitamins) used in conjunction with topical treatment will greatly increase long-term cure rates.
Listed below are the treatments I have found useful in wart removal. As with most home remedies, effectiveness can vary from person to person. If one method proves ineffective, or too painful, try another. Whether this variation is due to personal chemistry or specific form of the virus causing the wart(s) is debatable, but one of the methods will almost always be successful.
Persistence is the key. Continue the treatment until all traces of the infection are gone. Use fresh towels and washcloths when bathing and drying as well. Being a virus, warts can be spread or you can re-infect yourself otherwise. Another good idea is to check everyone in the household for warts and treat everyone at once. This will help prevent re-infection.
When using any new treatment, sensitivity testing is advised. Dab a small spot of any topical remedy on the soft skin in the fold of the elbow. Allow 24 hours and check for reaction. If there is minor inflammation or sign of irritation, be cautious in using on more than one wart at a time or larger areas. If the reaction is notable, don't use it at all.
_VINEGAR (my personal favorite)
Apple cider vinegar is my choice, but white distilled vinegar will also work for topical treatment. You will need a bit of absorbent material such as cotton or a snippet of gauze folded over to create a pad about the size of the wart and tape or a bandage.
Wash the area well and pat dry. Saturate the cotton or gauze with vinegar until wet, but not dripping, and tape or bandage in place. If you are allergic to tape and must use a cloth bandage, place a moisture barrier of plastic over the vinegar pad before wrapping.
This can be applied each night and removed each morning if desired. Though I have seen reactions within hours, it will usually take 3 to 5 days to see noticeable results. The wart will usually sting (sometimes it will hurt like the dickens!) and get irritated looking, develop a dark spot then start shrinking and getting dark and crusty looking. Eventually, it will scab over and fall off. If there is a hole remaining that is not entirely pink, healthy skin, apply the vinegar again. If you see any further irritation or darkening it means there is a bit of the "root" left and treatment should be continued until this is gone.
If you want quicker results, wear the vinegar round the clock. Be sure to change the pad and bandage every 8 hours or so to maintain effectiveness.
Flat warts have a tendency to appear in clusters, often making intensive topical treatment with vinegar too painful. In this case, I usually focus more on internal treatments and use one of the other methods, like garlic, aloe vera or milky sap. See below for details on use of these.
One of the reasons I prefer apple cider vinegar (the real stuff, not apple cider flavored!) is that I use it internally along with any topical treatment applied. Taking 1 teaspoon of good quality, all natural, apple cider vinegar diluted in a small glass of water before each meal has proved beneficial for many ailments from indigestion to colds and flu and even diabetes. From some of the studies I've read, it appears that vinegar helps by aiding the digestive tract extract nutrients from the foods we eat more effectively. This helps give our immune system the extra "punch" it needs to fight viral and bacterial infections of all sorts.
Garlic is a staple in my medicine cabinet! Its use in the treatment of warts is not surprising since it has been proven to have anti-viral properties. Garlic does not seem to be as painful to use as vinegar, but oh, the smell! That is probably why almost everyone is willing to endure the stinging it usually causes instead of using garlic.
Sliced, crushed or made into a paste, fresh garlic is used in basically the same way as vinegar. Apply it directly to the wart(s) and hold in place with tape or a bandage. Change the garlic and dressing every 12 hours, or twice a day. In 3 to 5 days you should see results.
This is another internal treatment item. Eating two cloves of fresh garlic a day for a few days will help fight almost any infection, warts included. There are some good garlic supplements on the market that do a pretty good job too, without all the odor.
Fresh aloe vera is a good alternate choice. It does take longer, but seems to work nicely for those larger areas of flat warts. You can use the gel directly from a cut piece of the plant to cover a rash of flat warts easily. Allow the gel to dry. It does not need to be covered, but you should be careful of clothing, because I have seen it stain some fabrics. Repeat this every few hours for a couple of days. After a week or so, if the warts haven't shown much reaction, do it again. Most warts I have treated with aloe have completely cleared up within two months.
I know lots of folks that swear by taking aloe vera gel internally. I never could get past the taste, so I can't honestly vouch for drinking the stuff.
There are several plants with milky sap that I have used for warts successfully. Sap from the poinsettia, dandelion, milkweed and the latex from Mexican poppy have all proved useful.
When using milky saps simply break off a stem or leaf and dab the sap on the wart twice a day. A fresh leaf need not be used every time; just break it off a little higher up the stem for fresh juice. (Refrigerate unused portion to retain freshness.) It does not take much, and you only want to cover the wart. This usually takes two weeks to see results.
Using the yellow latex from the stem of Mexican poppy is another story entirely! I have only used it once and all it took was one application. The reaction was almost violent and hurt like crazy, so I don't really recommend it except as a last resort for a really stubborn wart. It took several hours for my hand to start hurting and the wart to puff to an angry red. Even after washing off the latex, the pain and reaction continued. By the next day, it looked like a short, fat, scabby worm was pushing its way out of my skin! Totally gross! By the second day it fell off and left a bleeding hole, which scabbed over, then healed nicely.
_OTHER CHOICES AND INFORMATION
100% aspirin (not the aspirin substitutes) or vitamin C can also be used. Crushed aspirin, vitamin C tablets or acetic acid powder can be made into a paste with a little water and applied in the same way as the vinegar or garlic. In fact, almost anything highly acidic or anti-viral (lemon, grapefruit, grapefruit seed extract, tea tree oil, will work to kill this virus topically. Vitamin E oil will help protect the skin around the wart when treating and aid healing without scarring if applied afterward.
Adding vitamin C and zinc to the diet as supplements seems to be of great benefit as well.
I haven't used it for this, but I am told that taking elderberry extract (internally at the rate of 30 drops to 6 oz. water, twice a day for 5 days, lay off two days, and taken again for 5 more days) will cause warts to go away without pain or scarring. My friend said that within a month of taking the elderberry extract, all of her warts had fallen off and have not returned.
The ideal is to catch warts in their early stages. This make treatment easier, quicker and generally less likely to return. When the wart is overly large or well established, treatment can take longer and prove quite painful. In these cases, I usually recommend a trip to the doctor for initial treatment, which is usually minor surgery. These almost always come back, so once the incision is healed I usually use one of the topical treatments on the area for a couple of weeks. Sometimes there has been a reaction, sometimes not. Keep a close eye on the spot for the next several months anyway. If any of the usual spots or bumps appear, treat right away for at least 3 days and you should be able to completely clear it up.
Once you get them in check it is easy to watch for new outbreaks and treat them quickly. Washing all your clothes and bedding, once you have them on the run, will help prevent re-infection. If you are prone to getting fungal infections or warts, try adding one half cup of vinegar to your bath water once a week. If you only have a shower, use a washrag saturated with vinegar or the vinegar with warm water and rinse with it. Allow this to remain on the skin for a few minutes before lightly rinsing off with fresh water. I started doing this several years ago and haven't gotten a single wart since.
Spending a small fortune on prescriptions or over the counter remedies for common warts, that can take months to clear up only to come right back, is just silly. You have what you need, right there in your kitchen, to put an end to those ugly, embarrassing infections!