If you have ever had an itching, burning sensation on your feet or between your toes, you probably had athlete’s foot. It is a common fungal infection known by the scientific name tinea pedis. This fungus is at home in moist, warm environments such as indoor or heated swimming pools, locker rooms, public area showers and even the gym and locker room of health clubs.
Besides the itching, burning sensation on the bottom of your feet and between your toes, athlete’s foot presents itself in other ways as well. You could have what looks like simple dryness of the skin on the bottom and sides of your feet. The more unappealing appearance of this fungus is cracking, scaly or peeling skin between the toes or on the soles of the feet. Blisters may form as well. And if left untreated, this fungal infection can spread to the toenails where it is much harder to treat and get rid of.
Herbal Remedies for Athlete’s Foot
A doctor’s diagnosis is best for identifying the fungal infection that causes athlete’s foot as there are other health conditions that could present the same symptoms. With the proper athlete’s foot diagnosis, you can try a few herbal remedies before breaking down and filling your doctor’s prescription or request for over the counter medications.
1. Tea tree oil – Tea tree oil is derived from an Australian tree and has long been touted for its antiseptic, antifungal and antibacterial properties. The tea tree oil should be mixed with carrier oil as it can have cause burning or itching when applied undiluted. Almond, grapeseed and olive oil are good carriers to use. Apply up to a 50% tea tree oil solution onto the fungal infection using a cotton ball and then wear a sock over the area so the solution does not rub off. Apply it at least twice a day until you see improvement.
2. Garlic – Garlic contains antifungal compounds which can help kill the infection. While you can cook with garlic and receive some healthful benefits, the best thing to do is rub a few cloves of raw garlic on the affected areas of your feet. Or, crush a few cloves and spread them like a paste on affected areas and leave on for about 30 minutes before rinsing with cool water. Applying garlic once a day for about week should do the trick in eradicating the fungal infection.
3. Vinegar – Soaking your feet in equal parts vinegar and water for about 20 minutes twice a day can help kill the fungus that causes your athlete’s foot. The acid in vinegar kills the infection and soothes the itching.
4. Lavender and myrrh oil – Mixed together with carrier oil, these herbal essential oils have healing properties including antimicrobial and antifungal qualities. Apply to the athlete’s foot infection with a cotton ball up to three times a day. A side benefit is softer skin which helps alleviate the scaling and itching.
Give your herbal remedy of choice about week to work its magic on your athlete’s foot. If there is no change or it gets worse, perhaps you may have to resort to that doctor’s prescription or over the counter treatments. The majority of people who go au natural with athlete’s foot treatment do find relief though, so you can expect to as well.