Warts: Overview

Warts are an infectious disease of low infectivity caused by a virus.  They may occur anywhere on the body but are frequently seen on the hands, feet, and face (areas of frequent contact).  Warts may be named by their location and appearance.

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Causes and Development

On the soles of the feet they are called plantar warts.  Around and under the fingernails or toenails they are periungual or subungual warts, respectively.  Common warts on the hands, arms, legs, and elsewhere are verrucae vulgaris but often just called common warts.  Numerous very small smooth flat warts (pinhead size) often seen in large numbers on children's faces, foreheads, arms and legs are called verrucae planae juveniles.  These are seen less often in adolescents and seldom in adults.

Signs and Symptoms

The typical wart is a rough round or oval raised lump on the skin that may be lighter or darker than the surrounding normal skin, skin colored or even (rarely) black.  Most people are familiar with the look of a typical wart and have little trouble in diagnosing the condition.  Warts with a smooth surface and the small flat warts in children may cause some difficulty in diagnosis for the average parent.  Common warts cause no discomfort unless they are in areas of repeated trauma.

Plantar warts are no different than the common wart but, because of their location on the soles of the feet, they tend to be deeper and can become painful.  Large numbers of planter warts on the foot may cause difficulty running and walking and can be debilitating.

Warts around and under the fingernail are similar to the common wart but much more difficult to cure.

Treatment and Prevention

Because people generally consider warts unsightly and there appears to be a social stigma (among school children) associated with having warts, parents often seek treatment.  Treatment of warts has improved significantly in the last 10 years but even with effective treatment recurrence is not uncommon.


The common wart may disappear spontaneously, often within 2 years of its appearance.

Conditions that suggest Warts:

Symptoms - Skin - Conditions

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Warts suggests the following may be present:


Weakened Immune System

The immune system creates antibodies to help destroy viruses that enter the body, such as HPV which causes warts.  A weakened immune system is less successful at preventing warts.

Recommendations for Warts:

Botanical / Herbal


Thuja internally and topically may help dramatically.  A typical dose is 10 drops of tincture bid taken orally.

Olive Leaf Extract

Olive leaf extract has been reported to help.

Grapefruit Seed Extract

Grapefruit or citrus seed extract has been reported to help.


Crush a clove of garlic, apply to wart, tape in place for 24 hours.  The wart may blister and fall off in a week.


Oxygen/Oxidative Therapies

Ozone / Oxidative Therapy

Food grade hydrogen peroxide (36%) can be applied directly to the wart with a Q-tip, while being very careful not to contact normal skin.  Continue applying twice per day until the wart becomes white and the surrounding skin becomes somewhat white.  After a few days to two or three weeks, depending on location, it will start to blacken.  Continue applying until wart falls off.  Any skin damage to normal skin is temporary.  Hydrogen peroxide is dangerous around children, who may consume it or get it in their eyes.

Physical Medicine

Cold Applications (Cryotherapy)

Dry ice can be substituted for liquid nitrogen when freezing warts for removal.


Vitamin A

Vitamin A ( a water-soluble kind only) taken orally at 100,000IU /day for a month, then 50,000IU/day for 1 month, then 25,000IUK/day may cause warts to disappear.  Vitamin A helps normalize cell resistance and assists the immune system.  Do not take over 10,000IU/day if there is any chance of pregnancy.

Vitamin B-Complex

B complex 50mg tid can help normalize cell multiplication.

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