HPV, or human papilloma virus, is primarily responsible for genital warts and common warts of the hands and feet in both men and women. HPV genital infection is one of the most commonly sexually transmitted diseases. According to the National Cancer Institute, HPV infections are recognized as the major cause of cervical cancer, which takes the lives of over 4,000 U.S. women annually. Antiviral drugs and surgery are common treatment options for HPV infections, although some natural herbal remedies are effective options.
Thuja leaf and root oil, derived from the Western Red Cedar, is an Ayurvedic antiviral remedy used for genital warts. According to the San Francisco Botanical Medicine Clinic, chemicals within Thuja oil stimulate certain cells of the immune system that are efficient at scavenging and killing viruses or viral infected cells. Thuja oil is usually very potent and can easily irritate the sensitive skin around the genitalia, so appropriate dilution is important. The doctors at the clinic see significant results after one to two months of daily application.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is a powerful antimicrobial agent that has been used for centuries as a topical and internal disinfectant. Tea tree oil has proven antiviral abilities, which makes it a good choice for topical application for HPV infections, as cited in “Medical Herbalism: The Science Principles and Practices of Herbal Medicine.” Tea tree oil also boosts immunity, which can help prevent re-infection with HPV.
Astragalus is an herbal medicine with strong immune stimulating and antiviral properties. According to "The New Encyclopedia of Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements and Herbs," Astragalus activates the p-53 gene, which stimulates production of interleukin-2, a chemical that has anti-cancer abilities and is able to directly destroy HPV. Astragalus, which is taken orally in capsule form, also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Goldenseal root was traditionally used as a topical antiseptic, to clean wounds and heal skin injuries. Over time, Goldenseal became appreciated for its antiviral properties, which makes it effective at fighting HPV infections. Goldenseal can be taken orally in capsule form, or applied directly to genital warts as a tincture. Goldenseal is often used in conjunction with other herbal medicines because it seems to enhance their abilities.
Garlic has been eaten for flavor and medicinal purposes for thousands of years, and was even noted by Hippocrates as an effective “cure-all.” With modern biochemistry, it was discovered that garlic’s strong antimicrobial abilities are due to the chemical, allicin, which can kill a variety of pathogens, including viruses. Raw, crushed garlic can be applied directly on to genital warts, or less effectively, capsules of refined garlic can be taken orally, which attacks HPV from the bloodstream.
- National Cancer Institute: Human Papilloma Viruses and Cancer
- San Francisco Botanical Medicine Clinic: HPV and Thuja Oil
- “Medical Herbalism: The Science Principles and Practices of Herbal Medicine”; David Hoffmann; 2003
- "The New Encyclopedia of Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements, and Herbs"; Nicola Reavley; 1999
Owen Bond began writing professionally in 1997. Bond wrote and published a monthly nutritional newsletter for six years while working in Brisbane, Australia as an accredited nutritionalist. Some of his articles were published in the "Brisbane Courier-Mail" newspaper. He received a Master of Science in nutrition from the University of Saskatchewan.