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Health > Warts


Warts Fact Sheet

What to look for

The appearance of warts depends on wear they appear on the body.

  • On the palm of hands - hard, raised skin with conical projections. The colour is pink to brown.
  • On the hands, knees or face - many in number, flat.
  • On the face or neck - thin and elongated.

(See also Genital Warts and Plantar Warts).
Warts are a very common skin complaint. Warts are contagious as you can spread them to other parts of your body by touching them.


The human papilloma virus (HPV) is the cause of warts. It enters the skin through a cut or scratch and causes cells to multiply rapidly.

Traditional Treatment

It is usually best to leave warts alone as they will usually disappear on their own. If you want to remove one or it is uncomfortable or unslightly,
there are numerous over-the-counter remedies that can help.
If over-the-counter treatment fails, your doctor can treat the wart.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Chinese Herbs - You may be recomended place a slice of ginger (Zingiber officinale) root or garlic on top of the wart and cover it with smoldering mugwort (Artemisia). The burning herb enables the ginger to release its antiviral constituents. This process is called indirect moxibustion.
Herbal Therapies - Several herbs contain chemicals thought to fight viruses and help treat skin conditions. Herbalists recommend applying the sticky juices of dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), and celandine (Chelidonium majus). An ointment of thuja (Thuja occidentalis) applied four or five times a day may also help.
Homoeopathy - Homoeopathic medicines for warts include Causticum, Nitric acid, and Antimonium crudum.

Dietary Considerations

Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables especially the dark green and yellow variety as well as onions. Supplements to help fight off warts include beta carotene, L-lysine, zinc, and vitamins A, B complex, C, and E, garlic.

Personal Care

There are countless folk cures for warts. One that may have some validity is rubbing the wart with a slice of raw potato or the inner side of a banana skin; both contain chemicals that may dissolve the wart. You might also try any of the following applications:

  • vitamins A and E.
  • a paste of crushed vitamin C tablets and water.
  • fresh pineapple juice applied to wart.
  • over-the-counter medicines.
  • aloe
  • dandelion.


Practice good hygiene, and eat balanced meals high in vitamins A, C, and E to boost your immune system. Avoid stress, which can compromise your immunity, and learn to relax.

When to seek further professional advice

  • over-the-counter remedies don't work.
  • you develop genital warts.
  • you notice a change in a wart.

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