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Conventional treatments include topical treatments of salicylic acid and painful procedures such as freezing with liquid nitrogen, electrocautery, surgical removal, laser therapy and duct tape occlusion. Often these treatments are ineffective and can cause scarring because these treatments are designed to damage the lesion and not to kill the virus.
When warts appear, this is a signal to boost the immune system with a nutrient-dense diet, targeted supplements and lifestyle changes. Several natural treatments and nutritional therapies have been shown to be effective and safe in the treatment of common warts.
Zinc is essential for a healthy immune system and wound healing. Zinc helps the body resist infections in many ways including the support of the barrier of the skin. Low zinc levels are common due to poor absorption or low consumption of food rich in zinc, like animal protein.
These topical and oral zinc treatments have been shown to be effective treatments for common warts [i].
Zinc sulfate solution (10%) applied three times a day for four weeks was shown to completely clear warts in 80% of patients [ii].
Raising serum zinc levels is an effective treatment for warts. A study reported in the British Journal of Dermatology in 2002 showed that oral treatment with zinc supplementation for two months resulted in complete clearance of warts in 87% of patients [iii].
Components of garlic, like allicin, exhibit antiviral activity and can aid in the complete, painless removal of warts [v].
Lipid garlic extract was very effective in a 2014 study involving 50 patients with recalcitrant multiple common warts. Half the study group received topical treatments using lipid garlic extract for four weeks. The control group was treated with saline. The group treated with the lipid garlic extract exhibited complete response in 96% of patients [vi].
To prepare lipid garlic extract, peel cloves of garlic and make a paste with coconut oil. Apply the garlic-coconut oil paste to the wart and cover with a bandage. Reapply several times a day if possible.
Alternatively, raw garlic gloves can be used directly by placing the cut side of the clove directly over the wart and covering on all four sides with a bandage overnight [vii]. For additional research on garlic's anti-wart and anti-viral properties see this article.
Topical vitamin A has been used to successfully treat common warts [viii]. Daily application of vitamin A derived from fish liver oil (25,000IU) led to the disappearance of recalcitrant warts within 70 days.
Obtain Vitamin A, 25,000IU capsules. Open the capsule and apply to the warts. Because zinc increases serum vitamin A, supplementing with zinc can increase the positive effect of vitamin A on warts [ix].
Multiple immune supportive nutrients are available in certain oral supplements. Look for capsules combining the nutrients discussed above: zinc, garlic (Allium sativum), and vitamin A, combined with echinacea purpurea root [x].
Oregano Oil (Origanum vulgare)
Look for oregano oil essential oil preparations with 60-75% carvacrol. Prepare the oregano oil by diluting with a carrier oil like coconut oil. Try mixing 25 drops of oregano oil in 2 tsp coconut oil and apply four times a day. Alternatively, oregano oil can be applied directly to the warts and covered with a bandage on all four sides. If undiluted oil is too strong, then use a carrier oil as suggested.
Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca alternifolia)
Tea tree oil has been used to successfully treat fungal, bacterial, protozoal and viral skin infections. The essential oil is steam distilled from the leaves of the Australian plant, Melaleuca alternifolia. Two key constituents, Terpinenol-4 (30-45%) and Gamma Terpinene (10-28%), exhibit strong antibacterial, antiviral, anti parasitic and anti-inflammatory properties [xii].
Nature offers many safe and painless options to heal common warts. This article does not completely cover every safe option studied in science, but shows the many options that are available to those who suffer from recalcitrant common warts.
[i] Gupta M, Mahajan VK, Mehta KS, Chauhan PS. Zinc therapy in dermatology: a review. Dermatol Res Pract. 2014 July; 709152. Epub. PubMed PMID: 25120566.
[ii] Sharquie, K. E., A. A. Khorsheed, and A. A. Al-Nuaimy. Topical Zinc Sulphate Solution for Treatment of Viral Warts. Saudi Medical Journal. 2007; 28 (9): 1418-421. PMID: 17768472.
[iii] 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 Mar; 146(3):423-31. PubMed PMID: 11952542.
[iv] Raza N, Khan DA. Zinc deficiency in patients with persistent viral warts. J Coll Physicians Surg Pak. 2010 Feb; 20(2): 83-6. doi: 02.2010/JCPSP.8386. PubMed PMID: 20378032.
[v] Weber, N. D., D. O. Anderson, J. A. North, and B. K. Murray. In Vitro Virucidal Effects of Allium Sativum (garlic) Extract and Compounds. Planta Med. 1992; 58(5): 417-23. PMID: 1470664.
[vi] Kenawy S, Mohammed GF, Younes S, Elakhras Al. Evaluation of TNF-a serum level in patients with recalcitrant multiple common warts, treated by lipid garlic extract. Dermatol Ther. 2014 Sept; 2(5): 272-7. PMID 24910383.
[viii] Gaston, A., Garry, R.F. Topical vitamin A treatment of recalcitrant common warts. Virol J. 2012 Jan 17; 9(21). PMID: 22251397
[ix] Verma, K.C., Saini, A.S., Dhamija, S.K. Oral zinc sulphate in acne vulgaris: a double-blind trial. Acta Derm Venereol. 1980; 60(4): 337-40. PMID 6163281
[x] Cassano, N., Farrari, A., Fai, D., Pettinato, M., Pelle, S., Del Brocco, L. Oral supplementation with a nutraceutical containing Echinacea, methionine and antioxidant/immunostimulating compounds in patients with cutaneous viral warts. G Ital Dermatol Venereol. 2011 June; 145(3): 191-5. PMID 21566549
[xi] Gilling, D.H., Kitajima, M., Torrey, J.R., Bright, K.R. Antiviral efficacy and mechanisms of action of oregano essential oil and its primary component carvacrol against murine norovirus. J Appl Microbiol 2014 May; 116(5): 1149-63. PMID 24779581
[xii] Pazyar, N., Yaghoobi, R., Bagherani, N., Kazerouni, A. A review of applications of tea tree oil in dermatology. Int J Dermatol 2013 Jul; 52(7): 784-90. PMID 22998411