The human papillomaviruses are a family of viruses that cause benign skin growths commonly known as warts, most often afflicting hands or nearby areas, but can appear anywhere on the body.
Warts are very common, which may be reflected in the variety of common treatments both traditional and pharmaceutical.
There seems to be a link between diminished immune response and susceptibility to warts. But whether one’s aspirations lie in achieving a healthy balance and a stronger immune system, or directly treating warts with natural remedies, many herbs can be beneficial.
There are herbs with the right medicinal properties that can be of use for the treatment and removal of warts. Many of these herbs have a traditional medicinal use and some have been tested in scientific trials.
Some plants are shown to have proteolytic enzymes that soften the wart tissue or even affect the virus. Other plants have anti-viral substances that counteract the virus itself.
Herbs Used for Treating Warts
Bloodroot (Sanguinaria officinalis)
Bloodroot is a herb that is traditionally used as a wart remover. It contains skin irritants such as chelerythrine and sanguinarine as well as proteolytic enzymes. As they cause proteins to dissolve they can be effective against warts. Contact with healthy skin should be avoided as this herb may cause irritation.
Celandine (Chelidonium majus)
Celandine is known to contain some of the same compounds as bloodroot, namely chelerythrine and sanguinarine as well as proteolytic enzymes. It is used in traditional wart remedies much in the same way as bloodroot.
Fig (Ficus carica)
Figs contain the proteolytic enzyme ficin. The use of figs for medicinal purposes can be traced back to King Solomon who used fig juice for his boils. Fig milk has been used to remove both warts and corns.
Pineapple (Ananas comosus)
Pineapples contain proteolytic enzymes that can be helpful in the treatment of warts. Pineapple husk is said to be especially effective in the treatment of foot warts. Pineapple juice also contains the desired proteolytic enzymes.
Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca or various species)
Milkweed sap is used by herbalists to deter and treat warts.
White Willow (Salix alba)
White willow, like birch, contains salicylic acid which is similar to aspirin and can be helpful in removing warts.
Yellow Cedar (Thuja occidentalis)
Yellow cedar is thought to contain anti-viral substances and has been recommended in removing smaller warts.
Banana (Musa acuminata, Musa balbisiana)
Herbalists recommend a topical tincture of banana peel scrapings for the treatment of warts as it contains proteolytic enzymes which are thought to be helpful in removing warts.
Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
Basil contains a number of anti-viral compounds and is often used in traditional tinctures and remedies to treat warts and many other ailments.
Turmeric (Curcuma longa)
Turmeric contains the chemical curcumin that has antiviral effects and it is a popular herbal remedy in India to treat warts.
Birch (Betula, various species)
Birch bark has been used in many parts of the world, including Scandinavia and China, to treat warts.
It contains the chemicals betulin and betulinic acid that both have antiviral effects.
Birch also contains salicylic acid which is proven to have many beneficial effects and is used in various pharmaceutical drugs to treat anything from joint pain to warts.
Other natural herbs that have been used to treat or remove warts.
- Tea Tree (Tea Tree oil) (Melaleuca alternifolia
- Garlic (Allium sativum)
- Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)
- Marigold or Calendula (Calendula officinalis
- Oat Straw (Avena sativa)
- Castor Oil Plant (Ricinus communis)
- Carob (Ceratonia siliqua)
- Biting Stonecrop (Sedum acre)
- Scarlet Pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis)
- Chicory (Cichorium intybus)
- Sun Spurge (Euphorbia helioscopia)