ALTHOUGH generally not dangerous, warts are embarrassing for many owing to their ugly appearance, and can also be contagious and painful.
These annoying skin irritations are among the most common dermatological conditions, affecting people of all ages.
In fact, warts have plagued mankind for thousands of years and have even been discovered on 3 000-year-old mummies.
The virus that causes warts is known as the human papilloma virus (HPV).
There are different types of warts, each with a distinct appearance and appearing on a different part of the body.
Common warts usually appear on fingers and toes, while plantar warts grow on the soles of the feet.
The virus can also cause flat warts (on thighs or arms), filliform warts (skin tags), and more serious warts around the genitals, which require immediate medical attention.
Plantar warts thrive in warm, moist environments and are typically contracted by walking around barefoot near swimming pools, public showers or locker rooms.
Surgery to cut out the wart, or burning the wart with an electric needle are also common treatments.
Salicylic acid preparations in gels, drops or plasters available over the counter work by dissolving the wart and the hard, outer surface of skin that surrounds it.
Besides being painful and uncomfortable, some of these treatments may cause scarring, burning or stinging.
These methods also only work temporarily to remove warts from the skin, without addressing the virus itself and require repeated visits to the doctor’s office because the warts tend to recur.
Naturopathic approaches to treat warts aim to fortify the immune system – this in turn enables the body’s defence system to fight the virus and consequently, the warts.
Boost immune system
Immune system boosters include vitamin C, zinc, and plant substances such as garlic and mushroom extracts.
A weakened immune system may allow the virus to proliferate.
Individuals with diabetes or other immune deficiencies require extra attention.
Homeopathic remedies such as natrum muriaticum or thuja, are also very effective wart medicines.
Application of natural substances such as vitamin E, vitamin A, and essential oils such as tea tree or lemon have also shown great benefit at combatting warts.
Some traditional medicine even points to the use of banana peels or fresh aloe vera gel to eliminate warts.
For many, the warts resolve on their own without any treatment.