What is Beetle Juice for Warts?

Beetles – a family of insects that has a chemical named as cantharidin. So, juice extracted from them often called as a Beetlejuice and has various activities on human skin. It can also help to remove warts.

Cantharidin is an active compound of Beetlejuice which can trigger blister formation when applied over the skin. Blister forming action helps to loosen and remove the wart. Blister skin fell off once it dries up and took away the wart too.

[thrive_text_block color=”blue” ] Beetlejuice is an effective remedy for warts removal but should be used cautiously under the guidance of the physician. Though it causes blister formation and triggers some other reactions, severe complications are extremely rare.

It is available in 0.7% cantharidin & 1% cantharidin with few other ingredients but has not approved by FDA dues to its toxic effect. But Cantharidin is long been used for its various actions over the skin. [01] [/thrive_text_block]

How does it work?

Cantharidin has various actions. It is a toxin created by blistering beetles and causes gastrointestinal ulceration, renal & electrolyte dysfunction, blister formation over skin, pruritus and burning.

It works as a vesicant and keratolytic agent over skin causing blister formation and keratolysis of skin tissues by inducing acanthosis. [02]

The keratolytic action of cantharidin helps to get rid of warts. It causes warts to slough off and forms the blisters which eventually dries and falls off.

How to use Beetlejuice to remove warts?

Being toxic in nature, it should never be ingested. But you can apply it over warts to remove them.

Cantharidin or beetle juice should be applied to warts in presence of a doctor or health care provider as it causes burning and blister formation. [03]

[pullquote align=”normal”]You should never practice this remedy at home. [/pullquote]

[thrive_text_block color=”orange”] Doctor may follow these steps:

  1. Explain the procedure and its risks to the patient.
  2. Shave and clean the area around wart and let it dry for a few minutes.
  3. Initially, apply a small drop of beetle juice to wart using a wooden end of the cotton applicator.
  4. Cover it with a nonporous tape for 2 to 4 hours.
  5. After 4 hours, remove the tape and wash off the cantharidin.
  6. Initially, apply it over 2 to 3 warts & see how patient respond.
  7. If everything goes well, you can treat other warts.
  8. Avoid using it over face, near eyes and genital area. [/thrive_text_block]

Risk & Side Effects

Cantharidin is a toxic compound and should be used carefully while applying over warts.

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When applied externally, it can cause discomfort, itching & burning of skin, blister formation & scarring. It should never be ingested as it may lead to abdominal pain, ulceration of gastrointestinal tract, renal dysfunction, blood in the urine(hematuria), & hypotension.[04]

Contraindications

You need to consider a few things before you undergo treatment using cantharidin. You should avoid drinking alcohol for several hours before and after the use of cantharidin.

Pregnant & nursing woman, circulatory disorders, and diabetes are some other contraindications for beetle juice use. In several cases of warts, cantharidin brings the results but it FDA withdraw its approval in 1950 due to its side effects but as of now it is being tested as wart removal and may get listed again in the list of FDA approved drugs.

When to see the doctor

If you experience severe blister formation or burning after application of Beetlejuice then immediately seek medical attention.

Also, if mistakenly ingest beetle juice then see a doctor to avoid severe reactions like hypotension, hematuria and ulceration on GI tract.

Other Natural Wart Remover

With so much side effects, some patients fail to undergo or sustain this treatment. Thankfully, we have some other natural wart removal options that seem more gentle than the cantharidine.

One can try natural essential oils to remove warts. Especially, tea tree oil and oregano oil found to be effective in some cases while some anecdotal evidence suggests that coconut oil can help in genital warts. Though it has antiviral properties, there is a large group of patient that does not benefit from coconut oil.

Various research suggests that duct tape is equally effective removing wart as compared to cryotherapy. Duct tape occlusion therapy helps to remove the wart by keratolysis & maceration response of the skin.

[thrive_text_block color=”light” ] Bottom line: Beetlejuice is not approved by FDA and causes blister when applied on the skin. Though it works to remove warts, it’s better not to use it, as it may lead to the formation of ring warts by forming blisters and also creates discomfort.

Even if you want to use it, do so by visiting your doctor and let them tackle the side effects caused by cantharidin.[/thrive_text_block]

References:
[01] Lisa Moed, BA; Tor A. Shwayder, MD; Mary Wu Chang, MD. “Cantharidin Revisited: A Blistering Defense of an Ancient Medicine” DOI: 10.1001/archderm.137.10.1357
[02] Al-Dawsari NA, Masterpol KS. “Cantharidin in Dermatology.” PMID: 27319954
[03] Erin F.D. Mathes, MD; and Ilona J. Frieden, MD. “Treatment of Molluscum Contagiosum with Cantharidin: A Practical Approach.” DOI: 10.3928/00904481-20100223-03
[04] Patrícia Cotovio, Cristina Silva, Maria Guedes Marques, Francisco Ferrer, Fátima Costa, Armando Carreira, and Mário Campos. “Acute kidney injury by cantharidin poisoning following a silly bet on an ugly beetle.” DOI: 10.1093/ckj/sft001

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