Athlete’s Foot


One of the most common, and persistent fungal infections around is Athlete’s Foot –Tinea pedis and essential oils can help combat this infection.

It is caused by the ringworm infections Trichophyton rubrum; Trichophyton interdigitale; Epidermophyton floccosum.

There are three distinct forms that are commonly seen:

Fissures form between the toes, in the web of the toes and is itchy.

Some patches may affect the soles and the sides of the feet. This can become widespread and can lead to blisters that are usually itchy.

Dry scaly changes affecting the whole plantar surface and extending up the sides of the foot producing a demarcation line. This can spread to the to of the foot as well, and is often treated as eczema or psoriasis. Nail infection often accompanies they type.

Ways to use essential oils to help combat this would include the following:

Soaking the feet in warm foot bath with essential oils every day. Make sure to dry well between the toes.  Remember that essential oils do not dissolve in water so add an equal number of drops of emulsifier, or if you don’t have an emulsifier add an equal number of drops of liquid soap to disperse the essential oil droplets through the water.

Massage in a gel, lotion or cream with essential oils into the affected area every day.

Essential Oils that research has shown to be effective against the Trichophytonspecies include: Citrus limonum – lemon; Cymbopogon citratus – lemongrass;Foeniculum vulgare– fennel; Lavandula angustifolia (officinalis) – lavender;Melaleuca alternifolia – tea tree;Melissa officinalis – melissa; Ocimum basilicum – basil; Ocimum gratissimum – wild basilPelagonium graveolens – geranium;Rosmarinus officinalis – rosemary; Thymus vulgaris– thyme; Vetiveria zizanioides – vetiver.

Essential Oils that research has shown to be effective against theEpidermophytonspecies include: Citrus limonum – lemon; Cymbopogon citratus– lemongrass; Foeniculum vulgare – fennel Melaleuca alternifolia – tea tree;Mentha spicata– spearmint.

Armed with this information it makes sense that one would first try essential oils or essential oil synergies drawn for these oils. However, one must keep in mind that because of the tenaciousness of fungal infections as a whole, one must be prepared to continue the treatment over a period of time in order to see results. A minimum of a month is generally recommended and sometimes depending on the strain and the severity it might take up to a year to affect a change.

One of my personal favorite essential oil to use for fungal infections isCymbopogon martini – Palmarosa and I came across this abstract recently:

In vitro and in vivo antifungal activity of essential oils of Cymbopogon martini and Chenopodium ambrosioides and their synergism against dermatophytes.Chandra Shekhar Prasad, Ravindra Shukla, Ashok Kumar and N. K. DubeyLaboratory of Herbal Pesticides, Centre of Advanced Study in Botany, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India Correspondence to Prof. N. K. Dubey, Laboratory of Herbal Pesticides, Centre of Advanced Study in Botany, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi-221005, India. Accepted for publication 24 November 2008.
The present study was carried out to evaluate the antifungal efficacy of essential oils (EO) of Cymbopogon martini, Chenopodium ambrosioides and of their combination against dermatophytes and some filamentous fungi in vitro as well as in vivo using a guinea pig model. The minimum inhibitory concentrations of EOs and of their combination were found between 150 and 500 ppm, while those of known antifungal drugs ranged from 1000 to 5500 ppm. EO ointments were prepared and applied against induced ringworm in guinea pig model and disease removal was observed in 7–21 days, and the hair samples showed negative results for fungal culture in a time-dependent manner after the application of EO ointments. Chemical constituents of EOs were determined by GC–MS. Both the EOs and their combination displayed strong antifungal effects. The results provide a scientific validation for the use of these EOs in the treatment of dermatophyte infections and may be recommended as an alternative to synthetic drug for topical application.

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