Could a Baking Ingredient Have Antifungal Properties? Woman Claims Cornmeal Soak Cured Husband's Toenail Fungus in 2 Weeks

Toenail fungus is one of those confounding problems that just never seems to go away, no matter what you do. Many people go through a daily regimen of treatment for weeks, months, and even years. Often they are unsure whether or not the treatment is even working since they can’t tell until the old fungus nail begins to grow out and a new, healthier nail grows in. Many times people become frustrated and turn to cheaper, more accessible folk remedies as a toenail fungus solution. A woman writing in to the Tampa Bay Tribune recently claimed that a simple kitchen staple could serve as a natural cure for toenail fungus.

Does cornmeal have antifungal properties? Some people say it does. 

bowl of cornmeal

Does cornmeal have antifungal properties? Some people say it does.
Image Source: Flickr User Rebecca Siegel

Cornmeal: Not Just for Making Cornbread Anymore!

“My husband had ridiculously horrible toenail fungus for years,” the woman writes. She goes on to say that she told him to mix a solution — 1 cup of cornmeal and a couple quarts of water — and let it sit in a basin for an hour. He should then soak his foot in the solution for 30 minutes, she said. According to the woman, “It totally cleared up the fungus in two months of weekly soaks.”

“The Dirt Doctor” Recommends the Cornmeal Cure

“The Dirt Doctor” Howart Garret is a registered landscape architect, and radio show host with over 10,000 followers. He says he heard about the cure from a listener and has since heard that ranchers use “a cornmeal poultice to cure ear mites and ear fungus problems.” Several of his readers commented about how cornmeal treatments have cured everything from fungus-caused dandruff and sweaty, smelly feet, to toenail fungus and athlete’s foot. Frankly, we think it sounds a little too good to be true… but it is a cheap and easy solution that wouldn’t necessarily hurt to try if you were so inclined.

What Do the Experts Say?

The doctors penning the column admitted that they had heard of gardeners sprinkling cornmeal around their rosebushes to discourage fungus, but added that this practice was considered controversial in the world of botanical cultivation. “There is no research on cornmeal foot soaks for nail fungus,” the doctors clearly state. Yet, they admit that they have heard of readers having success with inexpensive home remedies for toenail fungus if they are persistent enough in doing the daily treatments.

“The Cornmeal Myth Refuses to Die”

The Garden Professors educational blog argues that cornmeal actually has the opposite effect on fungi — that it gives a colony a carbohydrate-rich source of food instead! They add that many advocates of using cornmeal to fight fungus point to the same “study” done by Texas peanut farmers. Yet, the so-called study “contains no data, references, or even authors.” They say conclusions are dodgy, at best.

antifungal cornmeal

What, specifically, is it about cornmeal that makes it “antifungal”?
Image Source:

Are There Any Home Remedies for Toenail Fungus?

Thyme oil, jewelweed juice, garlic and vinegar soaks have all been pitched as home remedies for toenail fungus. The validity of these natural fungus cures, however, is yet to be proven in a respectable peer-reviewed journal. We recommend using laser therapy and UV light to kill toenail fungus instead. It’s undoubtedly more expensive to use this new technology, but it is also more likely to work.

No matter which route you take in treating your toenail fungus, what does seem to pay off is being diligent in your treatment of choice. Even if you do decide to give a home remedy a try, it may be a good idea to also speak with your doctor to learn about other alternative methods of treatment.

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