Barbara Roberts, Homeopath

Warts and their treatment

These are a common childhood complaint and can affect the skin anywhere on the body. (You can also get warts of the mucous membranes, of the anus or genitals, but I am not going to be discussing those today). 

Warts are caused by the Human Papillomavirus and are most common in school aged children, although any age group can get them. The virus affects the base layer of the skin which forms more keratin than normal, causing the thickened and hardened wart. They can be flat or raised, and may have little red or black dots from a capillary blood supply. 

Louise Hay states that the metaphysical cause for warts is a belief in ugliness. I would modify that a little, in my practice I have seen warts in children who haven’t figured out who they are. One girl was trying to be her big sister, and do all the same activities, even though she wasn’t really interested in the same things. Another was very controlled by her parents and didn’t show her personality in the consult, instead being very dominated by her mother. 

Without treatment, 50% of warts in children spontaneously disappear within 6 months and 90% within 2 years. 

Conventional treatment for warts can be harsh, and damage the healthy skin. Options include: 

*Using liquid nitrogen to freeze the wart (cryotherapy), and this may need to be repeated several times to be effective. 

*Wart paints with Salicylic acid (sometimes with lactic acid) to break down the keratinised skin. This can take weeks to months to remove the wart. 

*Other toxic substances like Podophyllin which prevents viral replication (but is also toxic to healthy skin). 

*Surgical removal. 

Other treatments 

There are plenty of home remedies for warts. Some of these work well for some people, but can be completely ineffective for others. 

“Selling your wart” was one method sometimes used to get rid of warts – often an older family member would pay money for the wart, and sometimes, a few days later it would be gone. When we relate this to the belief in ugliness, for this “ugly” part of you to suddenly have value, and for someone to be willing to give you something because they value you as a person, it may well resolve that lack inside.

Many other treatments involve putting something on the wart itself.

Duct tape is something that is written about on DermNet, a dermatologist run NZ website for many skin conditions. By keeping the wart completely covered by duct tape, all the time, there is no exposure to air and oxygen, and the wart will die and come out on the duct tape when you change it. 

Home remedies have applications of various sorts placed on the wart and bandaged to hold it on. This often also needs to be repeated for several months to be effective. Suggestions include banana skins, potentially for the high potassium, Apple Cider Vinegar, which is also acidic, and Milkweed (aka the milky sap from the swan plant), which irritates healthy skin so can work to remove the wart. 

Now let’s talk homeopathy. There are a number of specific wart remedies, and I have listed a few below. There are over 200 remedies listed in my repertory for warts, and often a remedy that addresses the whole picture will also clear the warts, even if it is not specifically a wart remedy.

Possibly the most commonly known remedy for warts is Thuja. It is commonly sold for topical and oral use, and does work for a lot of people. However, homeopathy works by matching the picture of the remedy to the symptoms of the person, so when it doesn’t work, it just means you need a different remedy. 

A Thuja wart can be rapidly growing, large and impressive. They can be ones with a broad base and a conical top, and older warts may crack and face a discharge that is unpleasant. They can be dark coloured or brown. It can be used for plantar warts on the soles of the feet, as well as hands, face and elsewhere. 

Causticum is indicated for warts around the tips of the fingers or around the fingernails, but they may also be on the face. Causticum warts have a wide variety of styles, can be flat or stick out and stalks. Over time they become hard, and jagged, may ulcerate and will be sensitive and bleed easily. 

Nitric Acid warts can be jagged, itchy, and sometimes will smell bad. They can be quite large warts on stalks, or may be soft, cauliflower like warts. They can bleed easily from rubbing. 

There are many other wart remedies, including Calc Carb, Phosphorus, Lycopodium, Sulphur and Tuberculinum, which are all frequently indicated in childhood. 

I had a great case with a boy who had warts all over his hands, over 20, more on the right but distributed over fingers and palms on both hands. This however was not the focus, and I prescribed him Sulphur for something else. A week or so into the course of Sulphur 30c the warts had all completely disappeared. Parents and child were all very pleased! 

If your child has a wart and you have tried different topical treatments or tried wart homeopathic remedies without success, it is time for constitutional treatment, so please make an appointment with me or another Homeopath to get to the core of the problem. 

Reference: 

Morrison, R., Desktop Companion to Physical Pathology. 

Image Credit: DermNet NZ

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