I spend a lot of time on the Internet. But every once and awhile I come across something that seems even weirder than the regular run-of-the-mill Internet weirdness. This is one of them. Many of us, from time to time, have had to deal with the unsightly annoyance of a wart or boil. While doctors have successfully used several standard treatments for warts for years – including salicyclic acid or cryotherapy – some people have turned to stranger remedies. One of the strangest is – you guessed it – using bacon to cure warts. The deets after the jump.
Wisdom From the Mouth of Knowledge
The Times was one of the first places I heard about this. Dr Thomas Stuttaford had reported in his column that, one morning forty years ago, he had encountered this strange practice at his breakfast table. “My youngest son,” he said, “took the bacon off the breakfast table, rubbed the rather disgusting warts on his hands with it and buried it in the garden. We asked him what he was up to and he replied that he was curing his warts in a time-honoured Norfolk way.” While this may sound really crazy, the boy was right, in a way: “About a month later he triumphantly waved his blemish-free hands in front of my face.”
It Was On The Internet: It Must be True!
This isn’t an isolated incident. You can find the advice listed on several blogs. Heather Lauer mentions it in her Bacon: A Love Story book. It has been popular enough that many medical authorities regularly have to discuss it, and generally try to suggest to their patients that the more standard practices might be helpful. Like most folklore remedies, there is not really any clear idea of where it came from. My only guess is that because people love bacon so much, they might think it can do anything!
So let’s be clear: bacon fat hasn’t been shown to do anything remotely close to curing warts. It’s also suspicious that any cure would require something as specific as burying the treatment in a backyard – how could that possibly affect the efficacy of the cure? That, in itself, should be enough of a red flag to show you that it isn’t true.
Why then, has anyone claimed it has worked? The answer is pretty simple: the power of suggestion. According to this article, many skin conditions can be related to mood and anxiety. For example, rashes can get worse if the person suffering from them has a lot of anxiety in their life. While warts are caused by a virus, their outbreaks could possibly be generated by the anxiety and fear of the sufferer. That means that positive feelings – such as the hopefulness brought on by a bacon treatment – could be enough to bring about a cure. Or at the very least, they will help along the natural healing process.
So, we do not recommend using bacon on your warts: bacon is for eating! However, if you do hear of any crazy folklore about bacon, send it our way. We’d love to cover it for the site.