Athlete’s foot is a harmful, contagious fungus that cause redness, inflammation and intense itching in between the toes and along the soles of the feet. Traditional remedies include the use of anti-fungal creams or powders like Lamisil, Lotrimin or Tinactin. More advanced cases may be treated with pill versions of these medicines. Yet, a government report suggests that more than a third of Americans are using some form of alternative or complementary medicine to treat a physical ailment. Can garlic treat athlete’s foot?
Garlic Has Been Used For Centuries
Garlic has long been renowned for its anti-fungal properties. Remnants of garlic have been found in archaeological dig sites dating back at least 10,000 years. It was consumed by Egypt’s King Tut, as well as by Greek soldiers before they went into battle. In early 18th century France, grave diggers drank garlic in wine, believing it would protect them from the plague. Garlic was even used by military doctors during WWI and WWII to prevent gangrene.
“Garlic has long been considered a powerful natural antifungal,” Dr. Lawrence D. Rosen, chief of pediatric integrative medicine at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey, told the New York Times. Dr. Rosen added that studies show garlic is effective against a number of pathogens, including Candida.
“Home remedies are rarely tested in a head-to-head manner against Food and Drug Administration-approved medications,” reports the Seattle Times. “Back in November 2000, however, the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology published a study comparing the active ingredient from garlic (ajoene) with topical terbinafine (Lamisil).”
The study found that three-quarters of the people who had used low-dose ajoene and 100% of the people who had used high-dose ajoene were clear of athlete’s foot. This compared to 94% of the people using terbinafine. As it turns out, you can’t buy high-dose ajoene, but you can apply minced garlic in olive oil to the feet.
The American Academy of Family Physicians warns that some people may develop allergic rashes or blisters with the topic use of garlic. Furthermore, if you do not change your lifestyle habits, you may be susceptible to developing another infection down the road. Therefore, you should take added precautions to protect yourself:
– Dry your toes thoroughly.
– Change your socks when wet.
– Give your shoes a day to dry out in between uses.
– Wear leather or another type of breathable material.
– Always wear socks with shoes, unless you are wearing sandals.
– Do not walk around barefoot in public places or share items like towels or socks.
– Sanitize your shoes each night using a SteriShoe UV shoe sanitizer, which kills up to 99.9% of harmful microbes.