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PapersLocal treatments for cutaneous warts: systematic reviewCommentary: Systematic reviewers face challenges from varied study designs

BMJ 2002; 325 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.325.7362.461 (Published 31 August 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:461

Forge Water, Folklore and Warts

I note, from reading both local and international Medical Journals,
that there is no evidence that current treatment of cutaneous warts is
effective 1, 2
This is particularly true for the use of Liquid Nitrogen.

I have been in General Practice for 15 years. I can only concur with
the evidence. I have spent money buying Liquid Nitrogen equipment and
getting supplies of it delivered. I have not found it of much use when
treating cutaneous warts.

Forge water, the water the Black Smith uses to cool hot irons, has
being used by The Irish as a “Wart Cure” for centuries.3, 4, 5
As a boy, I remember dipping my hands in Forge water; my warts went
without trace, within weeks.
I had multiple hand warts for 3 years, several treatments had been tried,
to no avail, from Surgery to Salicylic Acid pastes.

There is a Farrier School in Kildare Town. The Organiser of this
school allowed me access to their forge water. Recently, 5 patients used
the forge water. In 4 out of the five cases, all their warts disappeared
within 3 months.
Needless to say they were pleased with the results since some had had many
warts for years. Forge water was both painless and non destructive
treatment of their warts. It worked for both their plantar and hand warts.
It may be that water, high in iron concentration, is effective.
Who knows?, there may be science in the myth.

If forge water is truly effective, GPs can use their expensive Liquid
Nitrogen containers to store Blacksmiths` “Wart Cure”!

D .Deeny
MRCGP

1. Gibbs S, Harvey I, Cochrane Review 2006, Treatment of Cutaneous
Warts.

2. Dr J Bourke, Treatment of Cutaneous Warts, Modern Medicine
Ireland ,Oct 2006

3. Irish Superstitions , Daithi O Hogan, page 88

4. The Last Blacksmith of Lissmore. P .Vaughan .Page 74

5. Superstitions of the Irish Country People, Padraic O Farrell,
Page 41

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

30 January 2008
donal deeny
GP Ireland
roseberry ,newbridge