By Tyrone McDonald & Tristan McKay
For centuries, First Nations people found all of the medicine they needed on the land, using plants to treat a variety of diseases and conditions. The Earth is a very nurturing mother for her children, and she made sure everything we need will be provided. Our connectedness with nature inspired us to do our project which explored the healing properties of the willow tree against one of the most common infections we have in our community.
A number of students in our school have warts infection. Warts are described as benign tumors in the epidermis due to a virus. The virus responsible is the human papillomavirus (HPV). The virus stays in the bottom layer of the epidermis and replicates into almost normal-looking skin. Older kids in school used duct tape to “peel off” their warts, but we thought that is not safe. Out of curiosity, we went researching for safer backyard remedies that could help us with our war on warts. That is when we stumbled on the healing properties of the Willow Tree.
The purpose of the project is to:
• Create awareness among our fellow students about warts
• Find a way of treating warts using natural remedies that can be found in the O-Chi-Chak-Ko Sipi First Nation.
Null Hypothesis (H0): There is no difference on the size of the warts before and after being treated with Willow Tree Bark.
• Willow tree bark • Facial masks
• Skin test ruler • Latex gloves
• Kettle/pot • Paper towels
• Cotton swabs • Alcohol
• Gauze bandage • Project log book
• Disposable lab gowns • Pens
We needed participants with multiple warts infections on their hands. We identified potential participants for our study and asked consent from their parents or guardians. We asked the parents and guardians to sign a consent form that is patterned on the Canada Wide Science Fair Form – Participation of Human – Low- Risk. However, only one parent allowed her child to be part of the experiment with the condition that not a single picture of her child will be put on the display board. Since we did not have an option, we agreed, but we pleaded if we could have a picture of the warts on her child’s hand.
Willow Bark Preparation
With the help of adults in the school, we gathered willow tree bark. With the help of our kitchen lady, we boiled 50 grams of Willow Tree Bark using 5 litres of water. We let it cool down and transferred it into a clean container.
Performing the Experiment
We worked with our participant for 12 days (February 19 – March 2). Every day, we tried to meet with them and wash one of their hands with the Willow Tree Bark Solution we prepared. After washing their infected hands, we then placed a small piece of water-moistened Willow Tree bark over the warts and secured it with gauze bandage. We measured the size of the warts every other day.
Measurement and Data Management
Using a Tuberculin Skin Test Ruler that we borrowed from the Health Centre, we measured the size of the warts of our sole experiment sample. Data analysis was descriptive.
Presented in Table 1 is the data we gathered from Student A.
We saw a small decrease in size on Student A’s warts. It seemed that the Willow Tree Bark Solution that we made had an effect on the virus.
The wart on Student A is very big. That is the kind of warts that most of the students in the school have. We also noticed that Student A’s wart is starting to spread on the infected hand. We also had a hard time convincing parents to give consent so their children can be part of this experiment.
Our project still requires a lot of work, but once we’ve established and proven the experiment’s reliability and potency, it will be a very good solution common infection we have in our community.
Our experiment can be replicated anytime. We suggest:
• More time for observations must be allotted so that the rate size changes can be compared and analyzed more extensively. We only had 12 days for this experiment, and extending the time for up to a few weeks will probably provide more remarkable results.
• A larger population size for this kind of experiment will also make the results more reliable.
• Comparing the effect of Willow Tree Bark solution to that of commercial Salicylic Acid’s effect on warts.
The results generated, although not that remarkable, were able to demonstrate that the natural salicylic acid found in the Willow Tree Bark can be used to treat common warts infection among students in our community. This finding will be very beneficial for the O-Chi-Chak-Ko-Sipi First Nation Community in terms of improved health condition of our youth.
The success of our science project has been attained through collaboration. We would like to extend our gratitude to the following: O-Chi-Chak-Ko-Sipi Chief and Council, Donald Ahmo School Administrators and Staff, the School Science Fair Committee, our supportive parents and guardians, and above all to the Great Creator who makes all things with a purpose.
REFERENCES & BIBLIOGRAPHY
Markewich, C. (2017). Medicine in your backyard: How Indigenous peoples have used
medicinal plants. Retrieved February 9, 2018 from
McMillan, J.H. (2012). Educational research: Fundamentals for the consumer. Boston: Pearson Education Inc.
Pham, H. (2017). 34 Proven Home Remedies For Warts On Hands & Feet – 100% Natural & Effective!. Retrieved from https://effectiveremedies.com/home-remedies-for-warts/
wikiHow. How to Make Aspirin if You’re Lost in the Woods Retrieved February 12, 2017 from
About the Authors
Of all the members of the school science fair team, Tyrone is the most improved one! Last year, he backed out during the last minute because he is nervous! This year, he showed that he is back with more determination and courage. He is the oldest child and he takes care of his brother and sister whenever they are in school. Tyrone is a respectful, helpful, and active young boy. He will be in Grade 8 this fall!
Tristan can be considered a “veteran” but he lost his direction during the MFNSF season. However, he was able to get back for the MSSS season because Edwin had to attend to some personal matters. Just like his brother Deshawn (featured in the next CSFJ issue), Tristan is focused and very active. He also loves to do Parkour whenever he gets the chance.