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Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca alternifolia)-An Efficient Treatment for Warts: Two Case Reports

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Abstract

Traditional herbal medicines are a valuable natural resource for preventing and treating diseases, including some infectious diseases. Tea tree oil (TTO) has been used over many years as a traditional treatment for a variety of skin disorders. The oil of the tea tree was used twice daily on two patients to treat their skin warts on different anatomical locations. The wart on the first patient needed 10 days to be totally removed, while it took 20 days in the second patient due to poor medication compliance. This paper sheds light on TTO as an efficient and safe treatment for common warts
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Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) - An Efficient Treatment for Warts:
Two Case Reports
Saud M. Alsanad1* and Osama A. Alkhamees1
1Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacology, College of medicine, Al Imam Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic
University (IMSIU), Al-Nada, Riyadh 13317-4233, KSA
1 | Page
Case Report
www.iabcr.org International Archives of BioMedical and Clinical Research | Oct-Dec 2016 | Vol 2 | Issue 4
ABSTRACT
Traditional herbal medicines are a valuable natural resource for preventing and treating diseases, including
some infectious diseases. Tea tree oil (TTO) has been used over many years as a traditional treatment for a
variety of skin disorders. The oil of the tea tree was used twice daily on two patients to treat their skin warts on
different anatomical locations. The wart on the first patient needed 10 days to be totally removed, while it took
20 days in the second patient due to poor medication compliance. This paper sheds light on TTO as an efficient
and safe treatment for common warts.
Key words: Tea Tree Oil; TTO; warts; Human Papilloma Virus; HPV; Dermatology
INTRODUCTION
Warts usually occur on humans’ hands or feet but can be
found in other places on the body. It is thought that warts
affect 712% of the population. Children of school age
have higher warts incidence than children in preschool,
with a peak in the teenage years. There are different types
of wart; however, it is thought that human papilloma virus
(HPV) is the main cause of warts.[1] Dermatologists use
several types of medicines and procedures for treatment of
warts; however, salicylic acid is deemed to be the most
common treatment prescribed for wart removal. It is
effective but must be taken daily for several weeks.[2]
TTO is an essential oil derived from the Australian plant
Melaleuca alternifolia. In 1920, the New South Wales chief
chemist officially identified TTO as an antiseptic.
Numerous animal experiments and some pre-clinical and
clinical studies have confirmed the activity of TTO as an
anti-fungal, antibacterial, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory
agent.[3] The Australian Aborigines have used TTO for
centuries for different medicinal purposes, in particular for
skin problems.[4] This paper describes the efficacy of TTO
in treating warts at different anatomical locations.
CASE REPORT
Case one: A 14-year-old boy had a rough and irregular
surface lesion associated with proximal phalanges located
on the dorsal side of the little finger of the right hand. The
wart was not painful and there were no other warts on the
boy’s body. However, he had a history of recurrent warts
and used to treat them with salicylic acid 16.7% w/w and
lactic acid 16.7% w/w.
Case two: A 9-year-old boy had a wart on the sole of his
left foot. The wart was a round lesion with little black dots.
The lesion caused discomfort and was painful when
pressure was applied. There were no other warts found on
his body, and the patient did not have a history of warts.
TTO (100% essential oil, ORGANIKA Health Products
Inc., Richmond BC, Canada) was topically applied twice
daily for the two patients. Warts were bathed before the
TTO was applied using sterile cotton swabs. For the patient
in case one, there was a dramatic reduction in the size of
the wart in the first three days. After a further seven days,
the wart had totally disappeared. For the patient in case
two, the reduction in wart size was not as fast as for the
patient in case one. The wart needed about 20 days to
disappear completely; however, the patient did not comply
perfectly with the medication regime.
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DOI:
10.21276/iabcr.2016.2.4.1
Received:18.11.16| Revised:10.12.16| Accepted:11.12.16
Corresponding Author
Dr. Saud M. Alsanad, Assistant Professor of Complementary
and Alternative Medicine, College of medicine, Al Imam
Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic University (IMSIU), Al-Nada,
Riyadh 13317-4233, KSA.
Copyright: © the author(s) and publisher. IABCR is an official publication of
Ibn Sina Academy of Medieval Medicine & Sciences, registered in 2001
under Indian Trusts Act, 1882. This is an open access article distributed under
the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial License,
which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and
reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Alsanad SM, Alkhamees OA.: Tea Tree Oil - An Efficient Treatment for Warts
2 | Page
www.iabcr.org International Archives of BioMedical and Clinical Research | Oct-Dec 2016 | Vol 2 | Issue 4
DISCUSSION
Oil of tea tree is now used commonly worldwide for its
broad-spectrum antimicrobial properties. Therefore, it is
available in different dosage forms for treating many
infectious diseases. It is used as a lotion for hair and scalp
problems such as lice and scabies infestations and dandruff;
as a skin cream for acne, eczema, ulcers and pimples; as
pessaries for vaginal thrush; and as pastilles for sore throat.
In addition, it is widely used in cosmetic preparations, in
small concentrations, as a deodorant, a relaxant, and in
toothpastes.[5]
TTO contains various mono and sesquiterpenes as well as
aromatic compounds. The monoterpenes terpinen-4-ol, γ-
terpinene, α-terpinene, 1,8-cineole, pcymene, α-terpineol,
α-pinene, terpinolenes, limonene and sabinene account for
about 90% of the oil. It is argued that the monoterpenes
terpinen-4-ol, γ-terpinene and linalool are responsible for
the antimicrobial activity of TTO.[6]
Several years of use in a wide range of products has
apparently established the safety of TTO to human health.
In addition, adverse reporting data, including allergic
reactions, indicates that TTO adverse effect reports are very
rare with only negligible complaints reported.[3,7]
Traditional herbal medicines have a considerable history of
medicinal use and they remain a vast reserve for
discovering new valuable medicines. Some traditional
herbal medicines have been extensively studied and there is
evidence for their potential benefits and potential risks.
However, most of the information relates to their safety and
efficacy when these herbs are examined as
‘phytopharmaceuticals’ and treated in the same manner as
conventional medicines. This means that very few studies
have been conducted to evaluate the efficacy and safety of
traditional herbal medicines and their combinations when
used as self-medication, or as recommended by herbal
medicine practitioners.[5]
TTO is very commonly used traditionally and is widely
recommended by complementary and alternative medicine
(CAM) practitioners; however, its benefits as an
antimicrobial agent remain, clinically, unexplored. Very
limited clinical trials have examined the efficacy of TTO
solely against particular infectious diseases, such as warts.
Our findings, along with other reports,[8] show the
effectiveness of TTO for treating skin warts without any
adverse effets or allergic skin reactions. These promising
findings, point to the need for further evaluation through
randomised clinical trials in order to establish an evidence-
based practice of TTO use for this particular indication, and
to determine the therapeutic concentration of TTO and the
duration of treatment.
A ‘comparative effectiveness’ study of TTO vs. other
conventional medicines used for warts treatment, such as
salicylic acid, is also needed. Note the excellent safety
profile of TTO compared to salicylic acid, which can
damage the skin surrounding the wart area.
One thing appears certain: the use of traditional herbal
medicines is rife. Therefore, special attention should be
paid to them, in particular those having excellent safety
profiles and being well tolerated by patients, as these have
the potential to develop into safe and effective medicines.
However, clinical trials on traditional herbal medicines are
expensive and unlikely to be carried out without the
protection of the patent (which is difficult to obtain for
these traditional medicines). Nevertheless, scientific
evaluation of the efficacy and safety of traditional herbal
medicines as a treatment method is urgently required.
REFERENCES
1. Lynch, M.D., J. Cliffe, and R. Morris-Jones, Management of
cutaneous viral warts. BMJ, 2014. 348: p. g3339.
2. Kwok, C.S., et al., Topical treatments for cutaneous warts. The
Cochrane Library, 2012.
3. Edwards, S.E., et al., Phytopharmacy: An Evidence-Based Guide
to Herbal Medicinal Products. 2015: John Wiley & Sons.
4. Carson, C., K. Hammer, and T. Riley, Melaleuca alternifolia
(tea tree) oil: a review of antimicrobial and other medicinal
properties. Clinical microbiology reviews, 2006. 19(1): p. 50-62.
5. Heinrich, M., et al., Fundamentals of pharmacognosy and
phytotherapy. 2012: Elsevier Health Sciences.
6. Cox, S., et al., The mode of antimicrobial action of the essential
oil of Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree oil). Journal of applied
microbiology, 2000. 88(1): p. 170-175.
7. Mills, S. and K. Bone, The essential guide to herbal safety.
2005: Elsevier Health Sciences.
8. Millar, B.C. and J.E. Moore, Successful topical treatment of
hand warts in a paediatric patient with tea tree oil (Melaleuca
alternifolia). Complementary therapies in clinical practice, 2008.
14(4): p. 225-227.
9.
1.
How to cite this article: Alsanad SM, Alkhamees OA. Tea Tree
Oil (Melaleuca alternifolia)-An Efficient Treatment for Warts:
Two Case Reports. Int Arch BioMed Clin Res. 2016;2(4):1-
2.DOI:10.21276/iabcr.2016.2.4.1
Source of Support: Nil, Conflict of Interest: None
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ABSTRACT Tea Tree Oil (TTO) is one of the most widely used aroma oil and is documented to be beneficial in the management of viral infections such as Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) and Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Hereby, authors report a case of 22-year-old female diagnosed with HPV infection with cutaneous wart (Verruca Vulgaris) on distal phalange of the right index and middle fingers. She had complained of pain and discomfort while writing. Tea tree oil was mixed with carrier oil (coconut oil) in a ratio of 1:5, and she was advised to apply it over the wart directly for 21 days. At the completion of 21 days, the warts resolved completely and there was no recurrence during the one month follow-up after intervention. In addition, the patient also reported a reduction in pain with the treatment. Tea tree oil could thus be effectively used for treating cutaneous warts. However, further studies with adequate sample size would help further validate the findings.
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Tea tree oil (TTO) (Melaleuca alternifolia) has been used recently as an effective topical application for the treatment of skin infections due to a variety of aetiological microbial agents, including mainly bacterial infections. We detail the first report in the peer-reviewed literature of the successful treatment with TTO of a paediatric patient with warts on her right middle finger. TTO was applied topically once daily to the lesions for 12 days, with a successful outcome, including complete re-epithelization of the infected areas. The case highlights the potential use of TTO in the treatment of common warts due to human papilloma virus.
The essential guide to herbal safety
  • S Mills
  • K Bone
Mills, S. and K. Bone, The essential guide to herbal safety. 2005: Elsevier Health Sciences.
Fundamentals of pharmacognosy and phytotherapy
  • M Heinrich
Heinrich, M., et al., Fundamentals of pharmacognosy and phytotherapy. 2012: Elsevier Health Sciences.
How to cite this article: Alsanad SM, Alkhamees OA. Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca alternifolia)-An Efficient Treatment for Warts: Two Case Reports
How to cite this article: Alsanad SM, Alkhamees OA. Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca alternifolia)-An Efficient Treatment for Warts: Two Case Reports. Int Arch BioMed Clin Res. 2016;2(4):1