Joseph Alton M.D., aka Dr. Bones, wrote an article recently reviewing Athlete’s foot (and Jock itch), which provided some excellent tips for prevention and treatment options. I wanted to add some additional information with regard to general antifungal treatments focused on natural and herbal treatments that may be useful. In times of trouble, natural remedies may be our only option. You may also want to try a more natural approach to treatment because you prefer them!
The list of external fungal infections includes forms of “tinea”, which is caused by the fungus Trihopytum and (although sometimes referred to as “ringworm”) is NOT a worm:
1. Tinea capitus- “ringworm” of the scalp or neck
2. Tinea barbae- “ringworm” of the beard area
3. Tinea corporis- “ringworm” involving the non-hairy parts of the body (arms, legs, shoulders, face)
4. Tinea cruris- “Jock itch”
5. Tinea pedis- “Athlete’s foot”
Natural Remedies for Fungal Infections
There are many natural and herbal remedies that are quite helpful in cases of fungal infections. I do not pretend to have performed intense scientific studies of each of these remedies. However, many people find they are useful in treating their fungal infections and you may also find your infection is cured by one or a combination of these remedies.
Diet changes may help treat internal and external infections. Add foods such as garlic, grapefruit seed extract, organic yogurt, coconut milk, carrot juice and/or apple cider vinegar to your daily diet. Avoid excessive sugar and carbohydrates; this will decrease the “food” used by fungus for growth.
Grapefruit seed oil has been noted as a treatment for several conditions. It is an effective antifungal both topically and internally.
For an internal infection:
1. Take 3 drops mixed with 6 oz. fruit juice twice daily for the first week,
2. Increase to 5 drops twice daily for the second week
3. Increase again to 5 drops, three times a day for the third week.
It’s a good idea to give yourself one week of rest from this treatment every three weeks.
For an external infection:
1. Mix 20 drops in 2 cups of water in a spray bottle, spray feet twice daily for 3 weeks for Athlete’s foot.
2. Also, spray the inside of shoes with this mixture to eliminate the source of infection.
3. Add 20 drops of GSE to the final rinse cycle of your socks and underwear, allow the clothes to rest in the rinse water/GSE mixture for 10 minutes. Always wash these items in the hottest water possible.
4. Keep your feet as dry as possible between treatments.
Essential oils that are effective for external application of fungal infections include:
1. Cinnamon bark oil- use 10-20 drops in a hot footbath for 20 minutes. Add 1-2 tablespoons full of Epsom salts to the bath if available.
2. Other essential oils that may be helpful in a footbath or for external application:
- · Tea tree
- · Lemongrass
- · Rosemary
- · Clove
- · Oregano
- · Peppermint
- · Lavender
- · Thyme
- · Myrr
- · Calendula
- · Geranium
For direct external application of these essential oils to the affected area, it is important to note some oils require a dilution with a carrier oil, like almond. Use twice daily before putting on clean socks.
Herbal baths or warm compresses are very soothing and may help treat fungal infection. These can be made with:
- · Garlic
- · Ginger
- · Black walnut hull
- · Echinacea root
- · Chaparral leaf
- · Fennel seed
- · Apple cider vinegar (one part vinegar, 4 parts water)
- · Goldenseal
- · Cinnamon
- · Thyme
- · Mustard powder
- · Boric acid (3 tablespoons full in a quart of water)
- · Baking soda
- · Mix ½ hydrogen peroxide and ½ water
Raw, unprocessed honey is an excellent anti-fungal. Before you go to bed cover the affected area with raw unprocessed honey and cover it with loose gauze or socks.
Colloidal Silver may be effective for your external fungal infection. Apply a thick coating to the area and allow it to dry. Internal ingestion of this is not suggested, as the ions simply bind to sodium and create a neutral substance (silver chloride).
Boric Acid and rubbing alcohol can be mixed in a ratio of 2 teaspoons to 1 cup of rubbing alcohol. Apply with cotton swabs or Q-tips twice daily.
Aloe Vera gel is soothing to the cracked, peeling and open areas of a chronic infection. Apply twice daily between treatment applications of antifungals.
Dry applications of various powders are great for keeping the skin dry while treating and/or preventing fungal infections. Apply after the area is dry usually twice a day. Here are some suggestions:
1. Gold Bond medicated powder
2. Crushed Aspirin tablets made into a powder, apply 3 times daily to the affected areas.
3. Garlic powder (smells bad, best used before bedtime…lol)
4. Baking soda
5. Boric Acid
6. Mix 4 parts Arrowroot powder, 1 part black walnut hull powder and 1 part chaparral powder.
Fungal infections can be difficult to eliminate and treat. Your solution will most likely be a different combination of remedies than someone else’s, as each individual is unique. These natural and herbal remedies may not work for you, but at least you’ll have a list of options for a time when you have no medical professional to consult. We can always have hope if we have knowledge.
Remember to follow the principles outlined in Dr. Bones’ article for prevention of Athlete’s foot and Jock Itch. Here is a link to the article:
One source of a great anti-fungal formula can be found at: (I have no monetary gain, just wanted to share a link a reader shared with us!)
Amy Alton, A.R.N.P., aka Nurse Amy