Alternative medicine

By Mayo Clinic Staff

A number of alternative treatments have been promoted as effective interventions for warts, but there is little to no clinical evidence of the effectiveness of these treatments. Because many warts resolve on their own, it can be difficult without a well-designed study to determine if the disappearance of a wart is the result of the treatment or the natural course of the infection.

Alternative treatments include:

  • Duct tape. "Duct tape therapy" has resulted in mixed results in a few clinical studies, but it may provide an effective low-cost option for some people. The treatment has generally included covering the wart with silver duct tape for six days, soaking the wart, gently removing dead tissue with a pumice stone or emery board, leaving the wart exposed for about 12 hours, and repeating the treatment until the wart is gone.
  • Apple cider vinegar. Interventions with apple cider vinegar generally follow the following steps: soak the wart in apple cider vinegar for 20 minutes, gently remove dead tissue with a pumice stone or emery board, apply petroleum jelly around the wart to protect the skin, cover the wart with a cider-soaked piece of cotton ball, and cover the cotton ball with an adhesive bandage. The treatment is repeated until the wart falls off.
  • Podophyllum. Podophyllum is a plant extract that may be sold under a number of names, including American mandrake, Himalayan mayapple and devil's apple. The extract applied as an ointment has toxic properties that may kill the infected skin cells. Podophyllum can cause pain and irritation. It shouldn't be used by pregnant or nursing mothers.
May. 03, 2011