Dr. Bray Links

Monday, November 3, 2014

Natural Treatments for Common Warts

"Warts are benign growths caused by a virus called the human papilloma virus (HPF). Children and teenagers are more susceptible than adults to being infected with the virus that causes common warts.

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.

Vitamin A
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]."

Written By: Erin Chamerlik, MS, MT(ASCP)

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