sap those warts

Warts are a sign of a virus – the human papillomavirus (HPV) in fact – which causes the body to produce an excess of skin cells. The best way to tackle them is to attack the virus by boosting your immune system – diet, herbal teas and vitamin supplements will all help. Meantime look to the cosmetic and also health eradication of those warty excesses – which are always unsightly and always contagious – so not just from somebody to you and you to your loved ones and colleagues but from you to you – as scratching a wart and then rubbing your neck or any skin surface can move the virus-filled cells around like seeds – In fact common warts are often referred to as seed warts.

While most are mostly painless they are ugly and some can become uncomfortable and sore – especially on the fingers and thumbs fractioned by gardening chores. Much like botrytis on tomato plants they enter the system via cuts and nicks, often at moist sections of skin; so barefoot to work boots or bare hands to sweaty gloves provide the right incubation. Warts come in all shapes and sizes and different parts of the body are prone to different types of wart. Many warts will eventually resolve themselves, even without treatment, but it can take up to two years. That’s two years of ‘spreading potential’ so like a weed – once spotted best eradicated.

There are more than 100 strains of HPV including a strain considered a sexually transmitted infection. Conventionally they are all treated similarly – with first point treatment via a Gp or beautician generally being Cryotherapy (or ‘freezing’) using liquid nitrogen to destroy the wart and its blood vessels – blistering and pain accompanies the treatment, sometimes slight scaring too, but it is predominately a one visit treatment.

Sometimes rather than ‘frozen off’, the wart is ‘burned off’ by a chemical application, mostly by cantharidin which blisters and damages the skin beneath the wart as part of its process. Retinoid cream (derived from vitamin A) is often employed and can be quite effective at checking the growth of warts – Vitamin A disrupts the warts cellular development and can easily be sourced from capsule supplements as much as expensive creams or from home pressed pumpkin seed or apricot kernel oil – if home pressing puts you off – a mortar an pestle of nuts and seeds may yield an A-rich paste – then there is always good old sunflower oil. Eating vitamin a rich foods also boost immune function.

Warts can be stubborn and if any of the above don’t yield results then the conventional road can lead to Surgery (with a scalpel), surgical removal via Electric needling or via Laser surgery. Some practitioners offer Antigen shots often comprised of Candida (yes, of yeast infections fame) to prompt your immune system to attack the injected foreign bodies and thus the wart in the process. Home kits if not freezers are often chemical peels that remove the wart in layers and many employ salicylic acid to do the wart eradication.

The immunotherapy of the antigen shots is often considered a leap in treatment; less scaring, more natural etc but it stems for the ancient practice of Needling – you can notice in many warts little pinprick-like trace marks where the wart has taped into the skins blood vessels and somewhere in our evolution of consciousness (and ethnomedicine) that may have inspired primitive man to prick the wart many times with something sharp – with all the sympathetic magic of ‘like cures like’ – well in this instance it worked – by triggering an immune response, causing immune cells to cluster in the needled skin cells and attack the wart from within.

Other natural approaches to wart removal can include a homemade retinoid via a vitamin A capsule rubbed into the wart or by the gentle corrosion and cellular altering of Apple Cider Vinegar, lemon juice, pineapple juice, garlic or onion juice. The vitamin c content in some of those is also beneficial to recovery of skin after the wart has been eradicated and may even contribute to the destruction of the virus causing the wart. The best way to tackle warts is to tackle the virus so immunity boosting herbs on page 00 will help your system reboot and go on the attack, a lowered immune system or a fatigued person are more prone to warts – so some energy smoothies along with alternative or conventional treatments will treat the underlying cause too.

The duct tape method – here you cover the wart with a corn plaster size of duct tape for six days. Then, remove , wash or soak the wart in warm soapy soak for a few minutes before filing it down with a pumice stone or emery board or nail file, wash again and leave uncovered overnight before repeating the process – Until wart is eradicated (generally within 2-3weeks). There is no magic, covering the wart stops it spreading, restricts its growth, puts under stress etc, soaking and filing virus infected removes infected tissue and the whole thing together is a war of attrition on the wart.

Garden treatment: In the cannon of global ethnobotany both wild and garden grown Euphorbias (along with other members of the Spurge family) have been employed to burn off warts and other skin growths – via dabs of their caustic milky sap. Perhaps first chronicled by the Greek philosopher and natural historian Theophrastus in the 4th Century B.C. but a staple depilatory of published herbals from the 1500s on – where corrosive and rubefacient properties are called for. Similarly dandelion milk – the corroding milky sap was once traditionally applied 2-3 times daily until wart eradicated. There are of course gentle garden options – not least wrapped poultices and compresses of marigold flowers (both tagetes and calendula varieties) and also basil, comfrey and lavender leaf version – but with these its more that the moisture of the sap/foliage under the bandage wrap makes the wart more amiable to pumicing or other friction removal as with the duct tape method.

Many over the counter treatments echo the ancient usage of willow sap treatment , by employing salicylic acid in the ingredients. Salicylic acid was first extracted from willow treats and meadowsweet plants for commercial production and the synthesis of aspirin. Some in frugal circles still recommend taping a moist aspirin to a wart – and yes it works, slowly over several repeats, over several weeks but you could go back to the original and extract your own salicylic acid by blending some willow growing tips and foliage in a little water or witch-hazel extract and applying that twice daily until wart shrinks away to nothing- helped along by some pumicing post Salix soak. As warts can be transferred in sloughed off skin cells , get a dedicated wart pumice stone and clean it thoroughly between uses.

About The Holistic Gardener

author of wellness books, columnist, keynote speaker.
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