Garlic has been used as a medicine and as a cooking spice for thousands of years. The ancient Egyptians gave the workers who constructed the pyramids a ration of garlic every day, and Greek athletes during the original Olympic Games used it to help improve their stamina. In the early 1700s, French gravediggers took garlic in an attempt to protect themselves from the plague, and wounded soldiers during World Wars I and II took garlic to ward off gangrene. The belief that garlic can ward off vampires is thought to be based on the medieval European belief that garlic could ward off all kinds of evil creatures that could cause illness. Today, scientists have studied many applications for garlic. Several studies show that garlic is effective in killing certain bacteria and viruses, but not others. At least one study shows that HPV, the virus that causes warts, is one of the viruses that garlic can kill.
Using Garlic to Get Rid of a Wart
- Tape a slice of raw garlic to the wart, with the wet side of the garlic covering the wart. (Use first aid tape.)
- Change the garlic slice twice a day, keeping garlic on the wart all the time until the wart is gone. Usually this takes five to ten days.
- Make sure that you leave the garlic on not only until the wart is gone, but also until all of its “roots” – the black dots under the wart – are gone as well. If you get impatient and remove the garlic before the roots of the wart are gone, it is likely to grow back.
Why It Works
Garlic contains allicin, a chemical which is considered by many to be the world’s most powerful antioxidant, and a potent antimicrobial that kills many kinds of bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Warts are caused by a virus, human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV causes cells to grow rapidly on the outer layer of your skin. While garlic cannot kill all viruses, HPV is one virus that garlic seems to destroy fairly effectively.
Garlic is generally considered safe to use medicinally and in cooking, with bad breath and body odor being the most common side effects. Garlic is strong enough that even when you apply it to your skin, you may experience garlic breath.
Garlic can cause allergic reactions in people who are allergic to members of the Liliaceae (lily) family, such as hyacinth, tulip, onion, leeks, or chives. Some people have anaphylactic allergic reactions to garlic.
One of garlic’s most well documented effects is the ability to thin the blood and prevent blood clots. You should not take garlic if you are also taking blood-thinning medication or have a bleeding disorder. Garlic may also lower blood glucose, so it is wise to avoid it if you are diabetic or hypoglycemic, and/or are taking medications that affect your blood sugar levels. Garlic may also interact with certain anti-cancer drugs, so check with your oncologist before taking garlic if you are recovering from cancer.