- 1 What exactly is a fungus?
- 2 Why does fungus like the human body so much?
- 3 Different types of of feet and toe fungus
- 4 Let’s Talk Home Remedies for Foot Fungus!
You already know there are plenty of over-the-counter medications available for foot fungus.
Maybe you tried them and they didn’t work or maybe you want to try something more natural.
In either case, there are definitely options for home remedies for foot fungus.
What exactly is a fungus?
Here is a complete and scientific definition of what a fungus actually is: “Any of numerous eukaryotic organisms of the kingdom Fungi, which lack chlorophyll and vascular tissue and range in form from a single cell to a body mass of branched filamentous hyphae that often produce specialized fruiting bodies.”
The so-called ‘fungus kingdom’ includes yeasts, molds, smuts, and mushrooms. Fungi are not plants – and there are at least 80,000 different species of them.
Right, so that’s the definition. But you clicked on this article because you wanted to know more about toenail and feet fungus (the correct plural term being fungi, of course). So let’s proceed accordingly, commencing with the basics since there is a lot of confusion about fungal infections…
Where does fungus exist?
A fungus is a primitive organism. Therefore, it’s very adaptable. Fungus can exist in air, in soil, on plants and in water. It can basically thrive just about anywhere.
How does fungus spread in the body?
A fungus enters through tiny cracks in your skin. This creates a fungal infection (or mycosis). It can also spread through touch, including touching someone who has a fungus. The good news is that fungi are not that contagious.
Can fungus spread in my home?
Yes, it can. For example, foot fungus can linger for quite a long time on sheets, towels, or common household objects. Unfortunately, visitors can often spread a fungus in a home!
Anywhere else I can catch fungus?
Why does fungus like the human body so much?
Fungal infections love you and I so much because they love to feast on keratin, which is a strong, fibrous protein that is the main component of your skin. Nails and hair also have keratin, which is why fungus also thrives there.
Why does fungus thrive in feet and toes?
A fungus thrives on the human body, especially between toes and on feet, because they are often warm and moist places – and that is what fungus love.
What are other factors that may cause foot and toe fungus?
According to the legendary Mayo Clinic, these are some of the leading factors that may cause foot and toe fungus:
- Age: If you are an older person you may have reduced blood flow, possibly more years of exposure to fungi and slower-growing nails, for example. All of these aid in fungal growth.
- Sweat: The more you sweat in your feet, the more likely fungus will appear. Few things love sweat more than fungus!
- History: Had a fungus infection before, such as athlete’s foot? Then you are more likely to get a fungal growth again.
- Barefoot: You are much more likely to get a fungal infection when walking without shoes or simple shower slippers in damp, communal areas, such as swimming pools, gyms, shower rooms, saunas, hot tubs, and steam rooms.
- Issues: If you have a minor skin or nail injury, or a skin condition such as psoriasis, then a fungal infection could occur.
- Health: Condition such as diabetes, circulation problems or a generally weakened immune system can create fungal growth issues.
What specifically is a foot fungus?
Think of it as a skin infection caused by mold-like germs living in dead cells on the skin, hair, or nails on your feet. There are more than 80 types of fungal growths that can grow on your feet. Luckily, most of them are totally harmless.
What are the usual symptoms of foot or toe fungus?
Typical symptoms that a fungus can cause include itching, burning, stinging, peeling, cracking, and blistering. A fungus on the skin of the foot or on the toes will be easily visible to the naked eye. Foot or toe fungus can also look gross – and sometimes even smell quite rank.
Next we turn to the different types of foot and toe fungus that can occur…
Different types of of feet and toe fungus
Athlete’s Foot (Tinea pedis):
It can cause fissures (cracks) to form in between toes. It can also cause blisters and other kinds of skin lesions on the heels, soles or along the sides of the feet. Athlete’s foot usually causes peeling and cracking skin, as well as burning and itching.
As the name implies, athlete’s foot usually occurs in people who use athletic shoes (all that great warmth and moisture from sweat that the fungus loves so much) or who walk around in high-density, moist areas such as locker rooms, saunas, and swimming pools.
Athlete’s foot can spread to the toenails. Worse, if you scratch your foot that has the fungus and then touch other parts of your body, such as your armpits or groin, it can spread there too!
Nail fungus (Onychomycosis):
This fungus tends to be more common in older people due to lower blood circulation and older nails that have become brittle and dry. It can also be the result of an athlete’s foot infection.
Usual signs that there is a nail fungus infection could include nails that have thickened and have a whitish to yellow-brown discoloration. The nails will also appear brittle, ‘crumbling’ or ragged, even distorted in shape. The nails may even smell slightly bad.
Even worse is that the nail may become detached from the nail bed. And, yes, that can be as painful as it sounds!
Never leave a nail fungal infection untreated. A severe infection can get painful and may even cause permanent damage to your nails. Serious infections that spread beyond your feet can also occur, particularly if you have diabetes or another immune-suppressed condition.
The really bad news is that nail fungus are notoriously difficult to treat. Most topical creams cannot penetrate the skin tissue and oral antifungal treatments can take 6 to 12 months before nails grow back.
Let’s Talk Home Remedies for Foot Fungus!
Antifungal creams and other over-the counter lotions will almost always be necessary to treat athlete’s foot, of course. I am not advocating otherwise.
However, it’s always good to know about some home remedies that can also be beneficial in trying to improve the bothersome and often very uncomfortable symptoms of athlete’s foot. Like any home remedy, these are homeopathic and therefore are not substitutes for lotions that you may need to use.
Nevertheless, there are some terrific home remedies I can recommend to you which may just improve your symptoms and give you some much-needed respite from the symptoms. These home remedies include:
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
Some homeopathic experts have dubbed ACV “nature’s perfect health food”. The people of Ancient Babylon, Egypt and Greece used ACV for medicinal purposes thousands of years ago, including as an antifungal.
ACV works especially well when used topically. Soak your feet in 1 cup of ACV to 2 quarts water for 15 to 30 minutes every night. Or you can make a solution of 1 cup vinegar to 1 cup water and apply it directly to the affected areas with a cotton bud.
You can also mix equal parts of ACV with ethyl alcohol and then slowly dab the solution on the affected areas. It may sting, so don’t be too heavy-handed!
Caution: If your fungal infection is severe and the skin is raw, then the solution ACV will definitely sting – so proceed very slowly with the ACV in those instances, okay.
Cinnamon is excellent for the circulatory system. A fungal infection will have impeded circulation in the infected area. Cinnamon is well-known to fight all fungal/yeast infections.
A good soak in a cinnamon tea foot bath will help slow down the fungus. You make your foot bath oil by breaking up 8 to 10 cinnamon sticks in 4 cups water, and allow it to simmer for five minutes. Take it off the heat and allow the tea to rest for another 45 minutes. Soak your feet in the cinnamon tea for 15 to 30 minutes. You can repeat that daily, as needed.
This plant of the allium (onion) family just keeps on giving! Garlic is a superfood that is especially well-known for its anti-fungal properties.
The best way for you to eat garlic is, unfortunately for some, raw. Garlic loses many of its properties when boiled, so garlic tea isn’t very effective. Eat one or two cloves of raw garlic in your food and let it do its internal magic. You won’t get immediate relief by eating garlic, but it should help build your body’s resistance to the fungal infection.
I refer here to what is the 3% peroxide solution sold in a brown plastic bottle at most grocery or drug stores. Hydrogen peroxide has both antiseptic and antifungal properties.
Mix one pint of 3% hydrogen peroxide with one gallon of lukewarm water. Soak your feet in this foot bath for 30 minutes twice a day and rinse and dry thoroughly thereafter.
You can also prepare a spritzer with hydrogen peroxide. Prepare a 50/50 mixture of the peroxide and water in a spritzer bottle and spray your infected areas every night just before you go to bed and let the solution dry naturally. It should provide soothing relief.
Lemon grass contains citral, linalool, geraniol and dipentine, all of which are natural chemicals that work directly on muscle tissue and the circulatory and immune systems. Some people consider it an effective antifungal.
Margaret Roberts, the leading herbalist and medicinal plant specialist in South Africa, swears that a foot bath in lemon grass will greatly alleviate your athlete’s foot. You need to boil two cups of the leaves in about 70 ounces of water, let it cool down and then strain the water. Use it as a footbath for six consecutive days.
If you want to put the effective and awesome smelling power of lemongrass to work for you – try our shield series natural anti-fungal soap. It’s main fungus fighting ingredient is lemongrass.
Sea Salt and Baking Soda
The trace minerals in sea salt help to soothe and heal skin that is inflamed, itching or even oozing. That is why sea salt can be helpful in soothing a fungal infection – but it must be sea salt, not that thin, adulterated stuff known as ‘table salt’, okay!
Baking soda (also known as sodium bicarbonate or bicarbonate of soda) derives from a naturally-occurring mineral. It’s thought to have certain antifungal properties.
Prepare a foot bath comprised of one heaped teaspoon of sea salt for every cup of warm water. Soak your infected foot in the foot bath for about 10 minutes. Dry your foot thoroughly, including in between all the toes. Dab some baking soda between your toes in order to completely dry out the areas.
You can also substitute the baking soda with corn starch for the same drying and soothing effect.
The Australian Aboriginals have used tea tree as an antifungal for centuries. It’s also thought that tea tree has significant antibiotic properties.
Tea tree oil is the essential oil distilled from the tree plant and readily available in any store which sells homeopathic remedies and essential oils. You can apply tea tree drops directly onto the area infected with athlete’s foot and gently rub it in.
You can use tea tree oil for a soothing foot bath too. Use 40 drops of tea tree oil mixed with warm water in a foot bath. Soak your feet for about ten minutes and dry them thoroughly. Once your feet are well-dried, apply five to seven drops of the tea tree oil directly onto the infected area and massage very gently.
Tea tree oil is also very effective in treating nail fungus. Mix two drops of tea tree oil into a teaspoon of castor oil and rub it into the infected nail two to four times a day.
Caution: Use a small amount of tea tree at first to test it on the infected area, as it can cause soreness on sensitive parts of the skin in certain people.
The Ancient Greeks used this fragrant herb extensively for medicinal purposes. Many people consider thyme to be a soothing agent for fungal and inflammatory conditions.
The best way to consume thyme in the treatment of athlete’s foot is by having it as a tea. The two best varieties are either lemon thyme or creeping thyme. Pour a quarter cup of boiling water over a quarter cup fresh sprigs of the thyme. Allow the tea to stand for about five minutes or longer. Strain the tea, add some lemon and sip it slowly. You can repeat this many times in order to soothe the effects of your athlete’s foot.
This bright yellow spice has been gaining fame in recent years for its homeopathic possibilities. Indians have used turmeric to soothe all types of skin ailments, as well as help alleviate fungal infections.
Turmeric is most useful for foot and toe fungal infections when used as a poultice (a home-made ointment or lotion). Mix a few teaspoons of turmeric with small amounts of warm water until you form a thick paste (the poultice). Carefully apply your turmeric paste to the infected area. You can repeat this a few times a day over a few days as a soothing agent. Think of this as your ultimate home-made remedy for your fungal infection!
Those then are my top 9 home remedies for foot and toenail fungus. Any one of them should hopefully be useful in alleviating your fungal infection symptoms – just remember to take caution where so noted, okay.
Allow me to remind you there are three important keywords when dealing with foot and toe fungus: ‘dry,’ ‘soothe’ and ‘relief’. Keep those words uppermost in your mind when trying any of these home remedies for your foot or toe fungal infection – and just be patient.