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Garlic and warts

Submitted by Druss on Wed, 2016-10-19 00:36

So I have this weird little growth on my arm and my guess is that it's a wart. I remember someone telling me that rather than going in for ointments and other applications, I should just use garlic. There's a lot of stuff out there on this, but in this write-up, I'm going to only collate information on this subject from reputable (or relatively reputable) sources.

From Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients. .243 (Oct. 2003): p53. by Dr. Alan R Gaby:

Five children (all aged 5 years) with verruca vulgaris (common warts) on the hands (mean number, 2.2 per person) were treated with raw garlic applications. A clove was cut in half each night and the flat edge of the clove was rubbed onto each of the warts, carefully cleaning the surrounding areas, so as not to spread any garlic juice. The affected areas were covered overnight with Band-Aids or waterproof tape and were washed in the morning. The warts disappeared in all five cases; improvement was noted after an average of 3.2 weeks (range, 2-4 weeks), and complete clearing occurred after an average of 9 weeks (range, 7-12 weeks). One child experienced itching from the treatment, which was otherwise well tolerated. However, garlic can cause irritation and blistering contact dermatitis, so it should be used with caution. Patients should be careful to avoid applying the juice to normal skin and should cover the areas of application, so as not to induce a blistering contact dermatitis.

He also notes that "warts appear to be highly susceptible to a placebo effect".

In the journal, Clinical Medicine & Research December 1, 2006 vol. 4 no. 4 273-293, Michelle M. Lipke provides an exhaustive overview of "wart treatment literature" which includes:

Components of garlic (Allium sativum) have been shown to have antiviral activity and to inhibit cellular proliferation of virally infected cells.(ref 1, ref2) In one placebo-controlled trial, the application of chloroform extracts of garlic was reported to result in the complete resolution of cutaneous warts with no recurrence after 3–4 months.(ref 3)

The ref1 cited is Weber ND, Andersen DO, North JA, Murray BK, Lawson LD, Hughes BG. In vitro virucidal effects of Allium sativum (garlic) extract and compounds. Planta Med 1992;58:417–423., and the ref2 is Seki T, Tsuji K, Hayato Y, Moritomo T, Ariga T. Garlic and onion oils inhibit proliferation and induce differentiation of HL-60 cells. Cancer Lett 2000;160:29–35.. The placebo-controlled trial that Alan Gaby was looking for was documented in ref2, Dehghani F, Merat A, Panjehshahin MR, Handjani F. Healing effect of garlic extract on warts and corns. Int J Dermatol 2005;44:612–615.

From Therapeutic approaches in the management of Plantar warts by human papillomaviruses: A reviewby Pai, Vasudev; Sudhakar, G K; Pai, Arvind; Kamath, Venkatesh in the Asian Journal of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences3.26 (2013): 1-4:

Home Remedies for Removal of Plantar Warts

Garlic has antiviral, antibacterial; actions that may help to remove warts more rapidly. Apply little volume of castor oil or olive oil to the wart, and follow with a thin slice of garlic. Tape the garlic in place with surgical tape, and leave on overnight. Repeat every night for up to two weeks or until the wart disappears.

These guys list a bunch of other home remedies (aloe vera, tea tree oil, lemon oil, banana peels, etc.) as well. This is less research and more a catalog of home remedies.