Warts: Do These Folk Remedies Work?

01 Apr Warts: Do These Folk Remedies Work?

When Warts go Bad

Warts are the second most common skin condition after acne. More than 3 million people visit their doctors for wart treatments every year. They’re common and harmless, but we still want to get rid of them.

Warts have always been with us, and so have cures and remedies for warts. Because they seemed to come out of nowhere and disappear just as mysteriously, warts had magical properties in many people’s eyes.

Folk Remedies for Warts

One traditional “cure” for warts was to visit a graveyard at midnight and leave a dead cat there.

Apparently, a lot of people believed in this at one time. Mark Twain made this cure one of the key plots in his famous stories about Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. In “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” we first meet Huck when he brings Tom a dead cat to cure Tom’s warts. Huck insists that this is the only cure that will work.

Tom, however, says “spunk water” is the best remedy. He explains that you have to find a rotten tree stump that has collected rainwater, known as spunk water, and put your warty hand in it. The remedy only works if you do it at midnight while singing:

“Barleycorn, barleycorn, cornmeal shorts
Spunk water, spunk water,
Swaller these warts!”

Strange Cures

These are not the only strange cures for warts. One popular method was to cut an apple in half, rub the apples on warts, and then bury the apple halves in your garden. Other remedies involved using beans or coffee grounds instead of apples.

Going to a crossroads at midnight has long been a way to invoke spirits of all kinds, including the devil. Sure enough, it was also considered a good way to cure warts. You had to go to the crossroads, mark a cross in the ground, and spit on it.

None of these remedies actually work, but people believed in them because most warts go away on their own. People using these cures could then say, “See? It worked.” Of course, we now know that there are safer, more effective ways to get rid of warts.

What Is a Wart?

A wart is a benign skin tumor caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) when it enters the skin through cuts or scratches. Warts can spread from one part of the body to another or from one person to another.

Plantar warts are warts that appear on the soles of your feet. They are caused by the same viruses that cause warts on the hand.

Can We Prevent Plantar Warts?

You can keep these lumpy growths off your feet by following common sense:

• Never touch a wart
• Wash your hands regularly
• Keep your feet dry and clean
• Change your socks and shoes every day
• Avoid walking barefoot in pools and locker rooms
• Wear breathable, well-fitting shoes

Get the Right Cure for Your Warts

If you have plantar warts, visit a podiatrist to get the right treatments. At Shuman Podiatry & Sports Medicine, we offer the most innovative treatments for warts and other foot conditions. We promise they won’t involve dead cats or going to the crossroads at midnight.

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