Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection known as tinea pedis. There are several species of the fungi that can affect other parts of the body. Ringworm is tinea corporis, tinea cruris is jock itch. These fungi need darkness and moisture to grow so one of the best preventatives for athlete’s foot is to go barefoot. While this isn’t possible at all times, you should let your feet air out as often as possible.
There are many anti-fungal herbs that you can use to treat athletes foot:
Garlic (Allium sativum). Garlic is an antifungal antiseptic and is effective in treating athlete’s foot as well as vaginal yeast infections. You can use several crushed cloves of garlic in a traditional footbath to soak your feet in. Simply add some crushed cloves to warm water with a little bit of rubbing alcohol and enjoy a nice foot soak.
Another way is to make garlic oil that you can dab on your feet and between your toes. To do this just steep several cloves of garlic in some olive oil for one to three days. Strain the garlic cloves from the mixture and dab the oil on with a cotton ball.
You can also place a small sliver of garlic between your toes on the effected areas. Although this approach may not be the most convenient it is something that you can try while sitting around watching TV. If the whole garlic causes a skin irritation then you might want to just use the foot soak or the oil method.
Ginger (Zingiber officinale). Ginger contains caprylic acid which is good for fungal infections. To make a ginger tonic simply add one ounce of crushed ginger to a cup of boiling water and let it simmer for 20 minutes. When the mixture is cool enough to use, simply apply it to the affected areas using a cotton ball.
Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra). Licorice has 25 fungicidal compounds and has been used by the Chinese to treat ringworm. It can be added to the garlic foot bath if you’d like or make a strong brew using five to seven teaspoons of dried herb to a cup of water. Bring the mixture to a boil and let it simmer for 20 minutes. When it is cool simply apply it to the affected areas with a cotton ball.
Teatree (Melaleuca). Teatree oil is an antiseptic. To treat athletes foot the oil should be diluted in equal parts of water or vegetable oil and applied to the affected area three times a day. Do not ingest teatree oil as a few teaspoons can be fatal.
Camomile (Matricaria recutita). Camomile can be used as a fungicidal as well as a calming tonic. Camomile oil can be used the same way as teatree oil or you can mix the two together. Remember that camomile is a member of the ragweed family so if you have allergies you may want to test it once and wait a few days before reapplying it.
Echinacea (Echinacea). Echinacea is an immune stimulant and is good for treating yeast infections. Many health food stores sell echinacea as a tincture. You can add it to your juice or other drinks three times a day or just take a dose orally. Echinacea may cause your tongue to tingle or go numb, but this effect is harmless.
Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis). Goldenseal contains berberine which is an antifungal and an antibacterial compound. Goldenseal makes a good antibiotic. Goldenseal comes available in a tinture like echinacea or you can make a liquid using the dried herb. Add five to seven teaspoons to a cup of boiling water and simmer for 20 minutes. Apply to the affected area using a cotton ball and reapply three times daily.
Lemongrass (Cymbopogon). You can drink lemongrass tea or use the spent tea bags to place on the affected areas as a compress.
Tomato and herb sauce. You can make a pasta sauce of tomatoes and add lots of basil, celery, carrot, dill, fennel, sage and thyme. This sauce contains a lot of antifungal properties. You can even put the sauce between your toes if the mess doesn’t bother you.