Wart Story: Blistering Beatles vs. Vinegar


Hycleus lugens, Blister Beetle – image by Muhammad Mahdi Karim

…a little story about the virtues of a common household item, vinegar…the discomfort of the blister beetle, and the ridiculousness of our medical system (anyone experienced the tangled web that is our health care?)…

I’ll try to make this short (insert Pinocchio’s growing nose here).

As you all know, I’m an herbalist. If I can take care if it at home, I will. I know the plants and I know their power. When used appropriately, amazing things happen.

However, I felt I had thrown everything at this plantar wart (thuja essential oil, banana peel, poke root, etc). Considering I was still sifting through the postpartum period of birthing my little one…I didn’t have as much energy to direct at the wart.

So, two years after its development on my foot, I went to a local podiatrist for help. I just wanted some help as I felt tapped out with caring for my little one and I wanted someone else to care for me for this ONE issue.

He used cantharidin (from a blister beetle) to try and ‘irritate’ the wart off. He said it would take THREE treatments.

So, SEVEN treatments later….the skin was very badly irritated and the wart was GROWING. And, it’s important to mention that I couldn’t walk on that foot (I have to hobble on the edge) for 4-5 days after each treatment (due to the intense burning and irritation). Imagine me chasing my little one all day like a pirate for a complete picture.

Meanwhile, I’m paying some ridiculous amount for this treatment even though our family has a gold level comprehensive health care plan. (I phoned numerous times and contacted the doctor about this…and he is going to code it in a different way so that they are not gouging me for every visit)……

Really though.

I should have run for the hills when he started to use words like ‘nuke’ in reference to my wart.

As you know, in herbalism…..the body and its processes and challenges…..they are not the enemy…… The body gives us information and gives us messages……we have to tune in to hear what is going on. We have to build up the soil, increase vitality, and do as little harm as possible.

So, I got on the Clinical Herbalist Group on FB which I’ve been a member of for some time and asked for a ‘wart magician.’ I think I had over 80 comments. So many ways to treat a wart, as you can imagine!

I distilled all their comments down to those related to plantar warts and those that were repeated proving their efficacy. My treatment was thus (it took about 3 weeks for the wart to ‘dissolve’ but, in most cases, this treatment will work in 10 days):

– take the ‘skin’ of the wart down to pin-prick bleeding with a rasp and shaver (about 1-2 x a week)
– vinegar on a cotton ball, place foot on top (cotton ball sits on a plastic bag that I reused), once in the AM and once in the PM for 5-10 min’s is what was suggested (I always did it for 15-30 min’s) => the stinging that you eventually get means that the vinegar is doing its magic

I think this would have worked all by itself….but considering how feisty this wart was (and, I’m sure pregnancy and breastfeeding didn’t help such issues on my extremities as my immune system was tied up a bit)….I also:

– swabbed the area with lemon essential oil twice a day
– took homeopathic thuja three times a day

You know, I had read on-line about vinegar treating warts….and the wart turning dark brown to black and a hole being left behind….and it seemed like hocus pocus, lol. The reason I felt it was hocus pocus was the exclamatory language that accompanied these posts on-line and that I could never find a reliable source saying something similar.

Anyway, it’s TRUE.

After about three weeks, the area that the wart inhabited turned dark brown…with a cotton ball and vinegar I steadily wiped the dead cells/skin away and a hole was left.

I’ve been using my pine pitch salve to heal up the area and it is doing well.

I just wanted to share this story with you as I don’t pursue conventional medicine much (well, almost not at all)…..but it always seems….that when I do……I get another lesson on why I do what I do…and the magic that arises when I crowd-source info from healers/herbalists who are really holding it down in their part of the world.

And, I wanted to commiserate with those of you out there experiencing the slippery slope of allopathy and their constant default to war medicine (I mean, ‘nuke’ something on my foot!?). They are great with broken arms and mangled bodies….but not good with basic care and preventative health.

Further, I wanted those of you with plantar warts to experience relief!

Vinegar works and it’s amazing!

I didn’t make this short (smile).

4 thoughts on “Wart Story: Blistering Beatles vs. Vinegar

  1. Hi-

    I’ve been so enjoying your herb podcasts and you might possibly remember I took your Herbal Immersion course several years ago. Since then I did an immersion experience with The School of Forest Medicine and Scott Kloos. We worked with a medicine wheel and we also worked with a similar wheel at Wilderness Awareness School where I’ve taken workshops and been a peripheral teacher. I’m glad to deepen this work alongside others now and my sister has been diagnosed with bipolar this year and celiacs. I feel like I found you in my late twenties during some of my darkest days and I do still live with type 1 diabetes but have learned more balance than i thought I could achieve- and believe their is more balance and more life to find still. So grateful I have found life and acceptance as a forest kindergarten teacher too.

    From the tiny buds of the huckleberries-

    Linsey Moore She/her

    Should I Venmo or PayPal you?

    Linsey Moore She/her


    • Yes Linsey! I do remember you. And, thank you for sharing your path! It sounds amazing! I am actually going to register my daughter in a local Forest Kindergarten school in September. I am so thankful for the space these schools hold for our little ones (and really, for me too as I have loved our visits with this school!…I could easily be a student there as well!)…

      I’m so glad our paths crossed when they did…….we’ve been flowing in and out of each other’s lives for awhile since then!

      I’m curious….why do you want to venmo or paypal me? Are you signing up for the medicine wheel course or do you simply want to donate?

      You can paypal me at maypop@riseup.net — as well, if you could email me — that would be great!

  2. Thank you for sharing, Lindsay. I needed to hear this specifically this week. My household come back from visiting family for Thanksgiving with snotty noses and LOTS of mucous. We haven’t slept that well this due to it. I’ve thrown everything I have in my little arsenal at it; a full Hail Mary (this shows a lack of my competence in the herbs). I finally cheated a little bit yesterday and took one Claritin to help give me some relief. I worked, but I feel like I don’t have the needed competence and confidence in the herbs to help in times like these. Side note: I have avoided giving my wife something like Claritin because we don’t want anything to potentially dry up her milk supplies has she continues to nurse. So, thank you, again, Lindsay for throwing some confidence our way.

    • Ethan — always great to hear from you! As you encounter imbalances and sicknesses — your preparedness will increase! So, don’t lose heart… We all do what we can to navigate these times…. Most of us have lost the basic skills to steward our bodies through illness. But, we are getting them back! So, keep exploring. Keep going.

      And, don’t ever hesitate to reach out for support.

      Along with herbs…..lots of Vit C (to fight bacteria & viruses) and Vit A (if fever, fever really depletes Vit A)……always helps as well!

      Thanks for continuing to be curious and open about whole foods and plant medicine. Give it time. Give it a lot of time. And, keep going (learning, asking, doing, trying, etc) ❤

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