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Health Condition

Warts

  • Garlic

    Studies have shown topically applied garlic to be effective at clearing common warts.

    Dose:

    Rub cut clove onto area nightly and cover until morning, or apply oil-soluble extract twice per day
    Garlic
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    In a preliminary trial, topical application of garlic cloves was used successfully to treat warts in a group of children. A clove was cut in half each night and the flat edge of the clove was rubbed onto each of the warts, carefully cleaning the surrounding areas, so as not to spread any garlic juice. The areas were covered overnight with Band-Aids or waterproof tape and were washed in the morning. In all cases, the warts cleared completely after an average of nine weeks.1 In another study, 23 people with warts applied an oil-soluble garlic extract twice a day to the warts. Complete recovery was seen in every case after one to two weeks. A water-soluble garlic extract was less effective.2 Side effects after application of the oil-soluble extract included blistering, redness, burning, and increased pigmentation of the skin around the application area, which usually disappeared completely in one to two weeks. Zinc oxide ointment was applied to the surrounding normal skin in all cases in an attempt to prevent these side effects.

  • Zinc

    In one study, supplementing with zinc, resulted in complete disappearance of warts in 87% of people treated.

    Dose:

    Take under medical supervision: 2.25 mg per 2.2 lbs (1 kg) body weight, up to 135 mg per day
    Zinc
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    In a double-blind study, supplementation with oral zinc, in the form of zinc sulfate, for two months resulted in complete disappearance of warts in 87% of people treated, whereas none of those receiving a placebo improved.3 The amount of zinc used was based on body weight, with a maximum of 135 mg per day. Similar results were seen in another double-blind study.4 These large amounts of zinc should be used under the supervision of a doctor. Side effects included nausea, vomiting, and mild abdominal pain.

  • Greater Celandine

    Herbalists sometimes recommend the use of topically applied greater celandine in treating warts.

    Dose:

    Refer to label instructions
    Greater Celandine
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    Herbalists have sometimes recommended the use of greater celandine (Chelidonium majus) for the topical treatment of warts.5 The milky juice from the fresh plant is typically applied to the wart once daily and allowed to dry.

What Are Star Ratings
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Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

Holistic Options

Distant healing is a conscious, dedicated act of mental activity that attempts to benefit another person’s physical or emotional well-being at a distance. A controlled study found that distant healing by an experienced healer for six weeks had no effect on the number or size of warts.6

A controlled study found that the application of 122ºF heat from a heat pad for 30 seconds led to regression in 25 warts.7 After 15 weeks, none of the regressed warts had regrown.

Hypnosis is a widely recognized treatment for warts. One controlled trial found that twice-weekly hypnosis sessions resulted in greater wart disappearance than did medication, placebo, or no treatment after six weeks of therapy.8

References

1. Silverberg N. Garlic cloves for verruca vulgaris. Pediatr Dermatol 2002;19:183. [Letter]

2. Dehghani F, Merat A, Panjehshahin MR, Handjani F. Healing effect of garlic extract on warts and corns. Int J Dermatol2005;44:612-5.

3. Al-Gurairi FT, Al-Waiz M, Sharquie KE. Oral zinc sulphate in the treatment of recalcitrant viral warts: randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial. Br J Dermatol 2002;146:423-31.

4. Yaghoobi R, Sadighha A, Baktash D. Evaluation of oral zinc sulfate effect on recalcitrant multiple viral warts: a randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial. J Am Acad Dermatol 2009;60:706-8.

5. Weiss RF. Herbal Medicine. Gothenberg, Sweden: Ab Arcanum, 1988, 337.

6. Harkness EF, Abbot NC, Ernst E. A randomized trial of distant healing for skin warts. Am J Med 2000;108:448-52.

7. Stern P, Levine N. Controlled localized heat therapy in cutaneous warts. Archives of Dermatology 1992;128:945-8.

8. Spanes NP, Williams V, Gwynn MI. Effects of hypnotic, placebo, and salicylic acid treatments on wart progression. Psychosom Med 1990;52:109-14.

9. Bairati I, Sherman KJ, McKnight B, et al. Diet and genital warts: a case-control study. Sex Transm Dis 1994;21:149-54.

10. Schneider A, Morabia A, Papendick U, Kirchmayr R. Pork intake and human papillomavirus-related disease. Nutr Cancer 1990;13:209-11.

11. Feldman JG, Chirgwin K, Dehovitz JA, Minkoff H. The association of smoking and risk of condyloma acuminatum in women. Ostet Gynecol 1997;89:346-50.

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The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2019.

Drugs used to treat WARTS. Select drug name to view medication information and pricing