Go Ad-Free
logoThe People's Perspective on Medicine

Unusual Approaches to Fighting Warts

Warts are, in many ways, a medical mystery. Scientists know that they are caused by viruses, and the viruses responsible have even been identified and catalogued. Doctors have many therapies for warts, but it can be hard to predict if a treatment will work. Sometimes peculiar therapies are successful against warts.

Perhaps that is why there are so many different home remedies for fighting warts.

We recently heard this story about using banana peels to fight warts from a reader:

“I had a large mosaic wart on my face, along with several other clusters growing nearby. They were very unsightly and quite embarrassing, especially since they were on my face. I tried almost every treatment available (salicylic acid plasters and a range of topical creams) in addition to my dermatologist freezing them. Nothing worked. In fact, aside from the burning pain I experienced using these treatments, they had no effect on the warts, which continued to grow and look even more unsightly. It was a nightmare.

“Finally I tried the banana peel method. I used an adhesive bandage to tape a small piece of banana peel over each wart every night at bedtime. The inside of the peel faced the wart and I removed the peels in the morning. The warts started to dry up immediately and eventually they got smaller. Within three weeks all of them were gone; my face is now completely clear.

“I know it sounds crazy but it works. I highly recommend this method for stubborn warts.”

Many other readers report that they have had success with the banana-peel method of treating warts, although there are no double-blind studies. Another popular approach has been tested in clinical trials–and it has come up wanting (Annals of Pharmacotherapy, July, 2007).

Maybe that’s not surprising, considering that the compound in question is a heartburn medicine called cimetidine (Tagamet). What could heartburn have to do with skin growths?

For years, dermatologists have tested cimetidine for treating warts, but they have concluded that there’s no strong evidence to support its use (Journal of Dermatological Treatment, online Nov. 6, 2010).

Nonetheless, many readers report surprising success using Tagamet to combat their warts:

“My 10-year-old daughter had a severe case of raised warts on both of her feet. It started with a single wart between her big toe and second toe. After a few months, the virus spread across three of her toes, Eventually the count reached over 20 warts in all on her right foot and about 8 or 9 on her left.

“Her pediatrician prescribed Tagamet at double the normal dosage. I was concerned, but he gave me the impression that it would be safe for a short period of time. He said the Tagamet would boost her immune system and allow her to fight off the virus. Two weeks later, the warts were completely gone. There were no scars, no dimples, nothing but 10 beautiful wart-free toes. I was amazed.”

We are always intrigued by the unusual approaches that people use to eliminate warts. They include duct tape, vinegar, lemon juice, turmeric root, tea tree oil, nail polish or instant glue. You can learn more about wart treatments and other home remedies for common ailments at www.peoplespharmacy.com or in our book, The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies.

Rate this article
4.1- 11 ratings
About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
Tired of the ads on our website?

Now you can browse our website completely ad-free for just $5 / month. Stay up to date on breaking health news and support our work without the distraction of advertisements.

Browse our website ad-free
Join over 150,000 Subscribers at The People's Pharmacy

We're empowering you to make wise decisions about your own health, by providing you with essential health information about both medical and alternative treatment options.