The Way of Warts

November 1, 2009 by admin 

Warts have a very colorful history. The early Greeks and Romans thought this skin disease came from frogs, probably because the latter’s rough and somewhat horny skin looked like it was covered with warts.

In reality, even if you kiss a frog, it’s unlikely you’ll get warts unless the amphibian harbors the human papilloma virus (HPV). This virus commonly affects children and teenagers and favors moist places.

“As people become older, they seem to develop an immunity or resistance to the wart virus. For this reason, children tend to acquire warts more frequently than adults. Nevertheless, warts can appear at any age,” according to the editors of “Consumer Guide’s Family Health & Medical Guide.”

Warts are contagious and can spread from person to person or from one part of the body to another which happens often. You can pick them up by walking barefoot, using someone else’s towel or comb or scratching the area which spreads warts from one place to another.

These infectious growths vary in appearance depending on where they’re located. The hands and feet are the most common sites but warts can also appear on the scalp, face, and genitals.

“On the hands, (warts) are usually the horny nodule that most people associate with the name. When they appear on the soles of the feet, they look somewhat like small callouses because the pressure exerted by the body’s weight causes them to grow beneath the skin surface, rather than being raised. They have a special name: plantar warts. On the neck and face, warts are apt to be smoother, more regularly shaped growths,” explained Dr. Robert R. Walther, associate clinical professor of dermatology, in “The Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons Complete Home Medical Guide.”

Despite their appearance, warts are harmless, Neither do they cause itching or pain except for plantar warts. They are, however, unsightly which is why most people want to remove them.

How can this be accomplished? Our forefathers had their own unique ways of dealing with warts. Some of them were cruel and aimed at transferring the wart to another person, animal or thing. Consider these obscure remedies from Edward F. Dolan’s “Folk Medicine Cures & Curiosities”:

“Rub the wart with a grain of barley that is then fed to a chicken. The disappearance of the grain down the unsuspecting animal’s gullet marks the beginning of the wart’s disappearance. You can also do well by first making the wart bleed (through rubbing or pricking with a pin), then putting a speck of the blood on the corn, and finally feeding the concoction to a rooster.

“Should your family have harbored little compassion for their fellow man, they might have urged you to this stratagem: Rub the wart with a few bits of gravel and toss the gravel into the middle of a road way. The first person who comes strolling or riding past will pick up the wart.

“Or consider these heartless stunts. Rub a penny across the wart and toss the coin into the roadway so that someone will pick up the penny and go on his way thinking he has chanced upon a windfall, only to find that he has inherited your wart,” Dolan said.

What can be done about warts? Find out in the second part of this series. Don’t miss it!

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