Let me explain. You see, last summer my husband looked at me and said, "What's that above your lip?" I hadn't paid any attention before that but I realized that there was a sort of flaky patch above my lip on the left side. Hummmph. I kept an eye on it and noticed that it changed a bit from time to time. Sometimes it would scab up a little and when the scab would come off there would be almost nothing there for a few days until it started flaking again.
So I went online to look at skin cancer. I looked at pictures until I found something that looked about like what I had,
|It looked about like this, but this isn't my pic|
Not too big a deal actually. It is a non-cancerous skin aberration that has only about a 20% chance of turning into squamous cell carcinoma. I tried not to worry about it, but by the end of the summer the scabbing was happening more frequently, and I just didn't like it.
So I did some more research. My mom had had a few small squamous cell carcinomas removed and I was pretty sure I didn't want to go that way if I could help it, I don't think I could afford it for one thing. So I looked at other options. There are several creams that dermatologists use to burn off small carcinomas, so I checked out the ingredients on each of them, side effects, etc. Lo and behold, I came across one that is derived from a plant! It's called Ingenol Mebutate and it comes from the Euphorbia Peplus plant (Petty Spurge).
The herbalist in me sprang to life! I'll grow petty spurge and use the sap the way other people are doing! Here's a link to a forum in which people are discussing their experiences with Petty Spurge. http://www.topicalinfo.org/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=273
So in November, I ordered some seeds and planted them as soon as they came. The plants were initially soooo spindly that I thought I'd wasted my money, but now the plant is just lovely.
The redness is likely due to the effect that petty spurge has on surrounding tissues. If you ever elect to treat yourself in this way you need to know that the sap from the plant is extremely aggressive and can do damage to unaffected areas. Do not use it near your eyes! Another route to take is dandelion, which is reportedly very effective, but less aggressive. It can be used near the eyes though you should still be careful not to get it in your eyes. I've been using dandelion through the early winter to keep my actinic keratosis at bay. If this were the right time of year I would probably use it exclusively, but you just can't get dandelions to reliably grow in the winter.
Well anyway, I have treated the spot for the last time this week and 24 hours after that final treatment it's looking better to me.
(For other posts on Petty Spurge, click here.)