Short on eels, but long on warts? - A better solution!

Throughout the ages, people have come up with some pretty crazy "cures" for warts. In the Middle Ages one remedy involved using an eel's head. Here's what was required:

Procure a live eel - fresh or salt water – and cut off its head. Then anoint those parts of the body afflicted with warts, using the fresh blood of the eel. Allow to stand until the blood dries. Do not wash off for at least three days. Bury the head of the eel deep in the earth. Remember where you buried it, so you can check its decomposition. As the head of the eel rots over time, the warts will disappear. This cure generally works better in the summer months, because the eel's head rots faster.
Not knowing what caused warts (a human papillomavirus) or cured them, people invented strange ideas about the origin (like touching frogs and toads) and solution to this nasty dermatological problem. Approximately 75% of all people will be troubled by these growths at one time or another, with childhood being the most common time to have warts. Several of our kids have had them at various times, on hands, knees, and feet. 

Often warts eventually disappear on their own. But they are ugly and annoying, and, when on the soles of the foot, painful, so often it is desirable to try to speed their departure. Years ago we tried over the counter remedies involving salicylic acid, with mixed success. Sometimes it worked, and sometimes it didn't. In recent years we've found something much more effective: apple cider vinegar. 

Yep - while it might sound just a step above eel's head blood or rubbing a wart with a frog and then impaling the amphibian on a thorn, apple cider vinegar has been found by many, including several Wegeners, to be amazingly quick and effective in getting rid of nasty warts.

Here's how it works:
1. Soak a small piece of cotton ball with apple cider vinegar.
2. Place cotton on wart area.
3. Cover with bandaids. Use additional medical tape if necessary.
4. Replace cotton/bandaid with fresh ones at least every 24 hours.
5. Wart will begin to turn black, then will fall off.
6. Keep applying vinegar for at least a couple more days, to make sure no virus is left behind. 

Often there is some pain involved, somewhere around the wart turning black stage. You can give over the counter pain killers if the pain is severe, or remove the bandage for a while. Reminding the child (or yourself) that the pain means the wart is dying, also helps!

Our latest battle against warts has been the most intense we've had, involving an HUGE colony of plantar warts on the foot of a child who wishes to remain nameless. Instead of taking a few days to a week or two to completely fall off, it has been peeling off in stages. Each week for the past 3-4, he  has lost another layer, and the entire area continues to shrink. We're really encouraged that with a couple more weeks, the whole thing should be gone.


Jessica said…
Hello Anne,

Our daughter went through the same ailment (cluster of plantar's warts on one toe, plus scattered warts on other toes, plus one on her thumb!)

We tried many treatments, including having the dermatologist "freeze" them, topical creams, etc., to no avail.

Finally we tried some natural remedies (which we should have considered from the beginning!) We did not have success with tea tree oil, grapefruit seed extract, among others. BUT, success came with the apple cider vinegar! Stay the course! (Her experience was also a process of peeling.)

I also tried to give her plenty of garlic so as to treat the virus internally at that time.
ummelmommy said…
What to do if the wart is on the palm of the hand? Bandaids don't stick there, and tape would get gross pretty quickly. Any ideas?
Anne said…
Heather -

Some people I read about soak a foot in vinegar for about 20 min./day instead of using the cotton ball approach. That would be easier with a hand than a foot. The only other thing I can suggest is duct tape, which works for ones that we have trouble getting bandaids to stick on to.

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