What Are the Causes of Warts?

Warts are a common but unpleasant skin condition. They are small, benign skin tumours that appear as growths of varying shape and are extremely common. They tend to develop slowly and haphazardly, can disappear quickly for no apparent reason and may be slightly contagious.

What Are the Causes of Warts?

Symptoms of Warts

  • • Discolouration of the skin, in raised patches
  • • Appearance of one or more small, rough growths
  • • In some cases, itching or bleeding, which may signify a bacterial or fungal infection
  • • Occurring on the sole of the foot, a plantar wart may be painful when standing or walking

What Causes Warts

Warts are caused by the human papilloma class of viruses (HPV), which provoke an abnormal growth of cells in a given place. Warts have different appearances, depending on their location. The most frequently seen varieties are common warts, which generally occur on the hands, and plantar warts (verrucas) that occur on the feet. Cervical warts are sexually transmitted by certain strains of HPV and may be precursors of cervical cancer.

Genital warts (Condyloma acuminata) are caused by a different type of virus, as is Molluscum contagiosum, a harmless but highly contagious infection which is often found among children, and which is characterised by shiny papules on the skin’s surface.

Scratching, warm, damp feet and fungal skin infections encourage the development of warts as the virus enters the skin via small cuts or scratches. Fatigue and stress can increase susceptibility to warts.

Home Remedies for Warts

For internal usage:

For infection

ECHINACEA Liquid extract, 1 g dried root or herb equivalent, three times a day.

GARLIC Tablets, capsules, follow manufacturer’s instructions, to a maximum of 6 g dried garlic clove equivalent per day.

ASTRAGALUS Liquid extract, 1-2.5 g dried herb equivalent, three times a day

ELDER Liquid extract, 500 mg-1 g dried flower equivalent, three times a day.

For external application:

For their antiviral properties

GREATER CELANDINE Apply liquid extract to the affected area one to three times a day.

MULLEIN Soak 3 teaspoons dried herb in 300 ml cold water for 30 minutes. Gently bring to the boil. Strain. Soak a cloth in this liquid and apply to the affected area as a compress twice a day.

LEMON BALM Infuse 20 g dried flower heads in 500 ml of boiling water for 10 minutes. Cool, strain and apply to the affected area as a compress three times a day.

CALENDULA Infuse 5 g dried flower heads in 1 litre of boiling water for 5 minutes. Cool, strain and apply to the affected area as a compress three times a day.

As advised by a medical herbalist

  • • Licorice, pau d’arco

How to Prevent Warts

  • • Avoid walking barefoot in public places (especially swimming pools and locker rooms).
  • • Try not to touch the infected area(s), and avoid contact with anyone who has warts.
  • • Some warts resolve spontaneously or with appropriate herbal treatment. Others are more stubborn.
  • • Have regular pap smears, especially if you have a history of cervical warts.