What Are Warts?
Common warts are small, noncancerous, usually painless skin growths. Warts tend to appear on the hands, but they also can be found on the feet, face, and under or around the fingernails or toenails. Known as "plantar warts," warts on the feet may itch or cause a great deal of pain (especially when walking or running).
What Causes Warts?
Warts are caused by a strain of the human papillomavirus (HPV), which triggers abnormally rapid growth of cells on the outer layer of your skin. Warts are particularly common among children and young adults and people with impaired immunity.
Symptoms of Warts
In most cases, warts appear as a raised round or oval skin growth with a rough surface. Warts may also:
Natural Remedies for Warts
Although warts often go away on their own, many people find the growths unsightly and opt to have them removed. Treating warts can prevent them from spreading to other parts of your body or to other people. However, warts sometimes reappear even after treatment.
Standard treatments for warts include the use of over-the-counter, topically applied medications; prescription medications; surgical removal; and removal by freezing, burning, or laser treatment.
Here's a look at the few natural remedies that have been scientifically studied for their effects on warts:
In a 2005 study of 23 people with warts on the hands and/or feet, those who applied a garlic extract to their warts twice daily experienced complete recovery within one to two weeks. In study members using a placebo treatment, meanwhile, no improvement was seen.
In a 1990 study comparing the wart-fighting effects of hypnosis and salicylic acid (a chemical found in white willow bark), researchers found that only the patients who'd undergone hypnosis had lost significantly more warts than the placebo group at a six-week follow-up.
Some alternative-medicine practitioners suggest that using guided imagery to visualize your warts shrinking and disappearing may also help in the treatment of this condition.
Although there's limited research on homeopathy's effects on warts, a 1996 study of 60 children with warts found no difference between the effects of homeopathic therapy and those of placebo after eight weeks of treatment.
Dehghani F, Merat A, Panjehshahin MR, Handjani F. "Healing effect of garlic extract on warts and corns." Int J Dermatol. 2005 Jul;44(7):612-5.
Kainz JT, Kozel G, Haidvogl M, Smolle J. "Homoeopathic versus placebo therapy of children with warts on the hands: a randomized, double-blind clinical trial." Dermatology. 1996;193(4):318-20.
Spanos NP, Williams V, Gwynn MI. "Effects of hypnotic, placebo, and salicylic acid treatments on wart regression." Psychosom Med. 1990 Jan-Feb;52(1):109-14.