Warts are raised bumps on the skin that are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). They can appear on nearly any part of the body.
Warts are very common, and most types are relatively harmless. Genital warts are the most serious and should be examined by a doctor right away.
Warts can cause discomfort and pain, and sometimes you may not like the way they look. They’re also contagious and can be spread to other parts of the body as well as to other people.
There are a number of home treatments you can try to remove warts, including treating warts with some essential oils.
The best essential oils to treat warts
1. Neem oil
Neem oil comes from a tropical evergreen tree also known as Indian lilac. Neem oil has an ancient history as a folk remedy with many medicinal uses, including the treatment of warts and cold sores.
It’s commonly used in many beauty products and as a natural pesticide.
Studies have shown that neem oil possesses many antifungal and antiviral properties, which may help treat warts.
Neem oil is a very potent oil. It may be applied directly to a wart or you may wish to dilute it with a carrier oil like jojoba, which also helps to mask neem oil’s mustard-like odor.
2. Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is extracted from the Australian Melaleuca alternifolia bush. It has been used for centuries to treat various medical conditions, to ward off insects, and for household cleaning.
Tea tree oil is found in many beauty products, soaps, and shampoos and can be purchased in varying strengths.
In scientific studies, tea tree oil has been shown to exhibit antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties, and to accelerate wound healing, properties that may help treat warts.
Tea tree oil may be applied directly to the wart, up to two times per day. It may take a few months to see results with tea tree oil.
If you have highly concentrated essential oil, dilute it in a carrier oil before using.
Tea tree oil has been linked to hormonal activity, so it should be used with caution by pregnant or breastfeeding women, or when using on children.
Never ingest tea tree oil.
3. Cinnamon bark oil
The commonly used spice, cinnamon, is cut from the bark of the Cinnamomum zeylanicum tree. Cinnamon is high in antioxidant and antimicrobial compounds and has traditionally had a variety of therapeutic uses. These properties may make cinnamon oil helpful for treating warts.
Cinnamon oil is extremely potent and could irritate the skin if applied on its own. It’s recommended that you blend a small amount of cinnamon oil with other essential oils or with a carrier oil before application.
Pregnant women should not use oregano oil. Cinnamon oil has a history of use as an emmenagogue (it increases menstrual flow).
4. Oregano oil
Oregano essential oil comes from a flowering plant of the mint family. Though you may only know it as a popular herb in cooking, the oil of the oregano plant has an ancient history of use as an extremely powerful and versatile home remedy.
Oregano oil contains compounds that give it antifungal, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and pain-killing properties. It also contains the compound carvacrol, which has been studied for its antiviral properties. These properties may make oregano oil helpful for treating warts.
Oregano essential oil is extremely concentrated and must be diluted with a carrier oil before use to avoid skin irritation. Start by using the diluted oil once a day to determine how your skin reacts to this potent oil.
Pregnant women should not use oregano oil.
5. Frankincense oil
Frankincense is an extremely popular essential oil used in aromatherapy and home remedies. It has an ancient history of use across many cultures as an important part of religious and traditional rituals.
It has been used as a medicinal remedy for a wide variety of ailments. It’s also been used as a household cleaner and a beauty product.
Frankincense has astringent, antimicrobial, and wound-healing properties that may help treat warts.
Frankincense oil can be used directly on a wart. Place one or two drops of the oil on a cotton ball, place the cotton ball on the wart, and then cover that with a bandage. Repeat two times per week until your wart is gone.
You may also add a few drops of oil directly on a cold compress and apply to the area twice per day.
Do not use frankincense oil if you are pregnant or breastfeeding or if you are taking blood-thinning medications.
6. Clove oil
Clove oil is extracted from the dried flower bud of a tree native to Indonesia. When ground, it’s used as the common kitchen spice. Clove has an ancient history as a medicinal remedy for many ailments, including warts.
Clove oil is unique because it has antiseptic properties and is known to be numbing to the skin, making it a good choice for treating painful warts. It may also have some antiviral properties, which would make it more helpful for treating warts.
Clove oil can be applied directly to the affected area once per day.
Clove can cause abnormal bleeding and should not be used by anyone who has bleeding disorders or is on blood-thinning medication.
7. Cypress oil
Cypress oil is pressed from the leaves and stems of the evergreen Cypress tree that’s cultivated in many parts of the world. It’s commonly used in many soaps and perfumes.
Cypress oil has long been prized for its use as a medicinal remedy in the treatment of wounds, acne, headaches, muscle pain, and respiratory infections.
There is also some evidence that it has antiviral properties for herpes simplex virus-1, which is one of the viruses that causes warts.
Cypress essential oil should be diluted with a carrier oil like jojoba before being applied to the skin. It can be used a few times per day. It should not be used by pregnant women.
Before you use a new essential oil
All essential oils carry the risk of allergic reaction. Before using an essential oil on your skin, it’s recommended that you do a patch test.
Dilute the essential oil with a carrier oil. Place a small amount of the diluted essential oil on the inside of your forearm or wrist. Check the area after 24 hours for signs of an allergic reaction.
Allergic reactions can include:
- skin irritation like redness, itchiness, rash, or hives
- shortness of breath or wheezing
- rapid heartbeat
Pregnant and breastfeeding women should consult their doctor before using any essential oils.
Some essential oils may be inappropriate for people taking certain prescription and OTC medications.
Essential oils can be toxic and should never be ingested. Consult a certified aromatherapist for more information.
When to see your doctor
Visit your doctor if your warts become more painful or if they spread to other parts of your body. A doctor can provide a number of in-office and prescription treatments that can remove warts quickly and efficiently.
Genital warts are the most serious kind of wart and should be checked by a doctor immediately.