putting his body on the line

Richard Glover is a columnist with the Sydney Morning Herald, who, last year, wanted to rid himself of warts…..

warthog walking stick found here

A month or so ago, I confessed to having a couple of doozies on my left hand. I’d visited several doctors who tried to defeat them in vain. I was forced to conclude medical science was not up to the job.

medicine man found here

Cue 137 readers who have kindly written about the wart-defeating method used in their household.  I’m now able to present at least 30 different cures and – by statistical analysis – list the Top Three Folk Remedies.

Karen recommends the sap from a poinsettia bush. Trevor, Kathryn, two Davids and a Rowley recommend the sap from the milk thistle weed. Bill recommends breathing on them. Fiona recommends homeopathy; Lyn prefers echinacea; and Georgie says to take two kelp tablets a day for three weeks.

learn to make poinsettia cookies here

Caro then invites me to urinate on my hand first thing in the morning. I decide against including this method in my study, however many votes it receives.

Sandie recommends vitamin E oil. Belinda and others advocate aloe vera. Mick suggests taping a piece of onion over them for a few days. Henry cites the same technique but using a slice of lemon. Jenny substitutes oranges and, in her cure, you eat them. 

purple onion skunk found here

As I open the letters and emails, things are getting weirder. Anne, Alicia and Keith all recommend fetching a snail from the garden and rubbing the mucus over the warts each day. Mary instructs me to spit on them first thing in the morning, then offers the helpful addendum: ‘‘P.S. You cannot use another person’s spit.”

snail graffiti found here

Barbara says she had a wool-classer boyfriend in the 1950s and he, along with the shearers, never suffered from warts because of the lanolin in the wool. I should give that a go, she says – the lanolin, not the shearer boyfriend.

image found here

Lynne says hers disappeared sometime during a 16-hour labour, giving birth to her first son, and suggests I close my eyes and fantasise I’m giving birth.

Tracy was told by her mum to rub the wart with raw meat then take the meat outside and bury it in the garden. Beverly has the same rub-then-bury technique but hers uses a potato. Barnie does the same but using the furry bit inside a broad bean pod.

image found here

In the 1950s, Frank lived in a small country town in which the cure was to ask a local called ”Old George Kearns” to stare at your warts, at which point they would fall off. If Old George wasn’t around, you’d tell his son, who’d ask his father to think about your warts when he arrived home. As soon as he got around to it, the warts would disappear.

Old George found here

And Anne says she’d get an empty washbasin, take it into the backyard at night and wash her hands in moonlight.

What was the cure most often recommended? Banana peel, white side pressed against the wart and then fixed in place with sticking plaster, as suggested by 12 readers.

Each day I strap two bits of peel to my hands. They have an amazing effect, rapidly eating away the warts, somewhat assisted by a bit of action with a pumice stone.

image found here

Nine days into my experiment, the warts are almost gone. I had intended to test the aloe vera cure and the milk thistle cure but I won’t have a chance.

What to do about the rough patch left behind? Thoroughly converted to the world of folk cures, I grab an empty washbasin and head out into the darkened backyard.

It’s nothing washing my hands in moonlight won’t fix.

Published in: on April 16, 2012 at 9:22 pm  Comments (53)  
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