What herbs can help with athlete’s foot?
By: Kathy Sadowski, MS in Aromatherapy, Registered Aromatherapist, LMT
Athlete’s foot is a fungus that causes itchy, red skin, and smelly feet. To help get rid of the fungus, first, keep the area dry, avoid baths as it can spread the fungus to other areas, use fresh towels and wash linens and socks in hot water. Keep toe nails trimmed short. Cover feet in public and especially avoid walking barefoot in public restrooms, locker rooms, and pools.
Natural Home Remedies for Athlete’s Foot
- Dilute 5 drops of tea tree oil in one tablespoon of avocado or olive oil and rub on area twice a day. Discontinue use if irritation occurs.
- Or crush a garlic clove and mixing it with a tablespoon of olive or avocado oil and applying to the affected area twice a day, allowing it to set for five minutes. Discontinue use if irritation occurs.
- Use a little baking soda in your shoes to keep your feet dry. Or, mix 1 Tbsp of arrow root powder, 1 Tbsp of baking soda, and 10 drops of tea tree oil together, and sprinkle that blend into your shoes.
Athlete’s Foot Herbal Research
- In a randomized double blind study, tea tree oil was as effective as tolfonate in reducing symptoms of tinea pedis. From: Tong, M. M., Altman, P. M., & Barnetson, R. S. (1992). Tea tree oil in the treatment of tinea pedis. Australasian Journal of Dermatology, 33(3), 145-149
- In a randomized, controlled, double blind study of tea tree oil in treating athlete’s foot; there was a cure rate of 64% after four weeks of applying a 50% solution twice a day; four patients had a dermatitis reaction that stopped when the oil was no longer applied. From: Satchell, A. C., Saurajen, A., Bell, C., & Barnetson, R. S. (2002). Treatment of interdigital tinea pedis with 25% and 50% tea tree oil solution: A randomized, placebo‐controlled, blinded study. Australasian journal of dermatology, 43(3), 175-178.
- Tea tree oil reduced symptoms of tinea pedis. From: Tong, M. M., Altman, P. M., & Barnetson, R. S. (1992). Tea tree oil in the treatment of tinea pedis. Australasian Journal of Dermatology, 33(3), 145-149.
The uses for garlic are discussed. From: Bolton, S., Null, G., & Troetel, W. M. (1982). The medical uses of garlic fact and fiction. American pharmacy, 22(8), 40-43.
- The antimicrobial uses of garlic are reviewed. From: Goncagul, G., & Ayaz, E. (2010). Antimicrobial effect of garlic (Allium sativum). Recent patents on anti-infective drug discovery, 5(1), 91-93.
- Diallyl disulfide, as a constituent in garlic, showed antifungal activity. From: Avato, P., Tursi, F., Vitali, C., Miccolis, V., & Candido, V. (2000). Allylsulfide constituents of garlic volatile oil as antimicrobial agents. Phytomedicine, 7(3), 239-243.
- Constituents from garlic: diallyl thiosulphinate (allicin), methyl allyl thiosulphinate, and allyl methyl thiosulphinate showed antibacterial and antifungal activities. From: Hughes, B. G., & Lawson, L. D. (1991). Antimicrobial effects of Allium sativum L.(garlic), Allium ampeloprasum L.(elephant garlic), and Allium cepa L.(onion), garlic compounds and commercial garlic supplement products. Phytotherapy Research, 5(4), 154-158.
- In a case study of a 63 year old women, a recipe with arrow root powder, baking soda, and essential oils of basil, tea tree, sage, and clove reduced foot bacteria and fungus. From: Misner, B. D. (2007). A novel aromatic oil compound inhibits microbial overgrowth on feet: a case study. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 4(1), 3.