Ringworm refers to a type of fungal infection that causes red ring-shaped patches of skin rash to develop on the skin. This infection usually occurs on the hands and legs, but can develop anywhere on the body. Other parts of the body commonly affected include the groin, the feet, the nails and the scalp. Contrary to popular belief, ringworm has absolutely nothing to do with worms, and should not be confused for worm infestation.
The medical term used to describe this fungal infection is known as ‘tinea’. While this infection is rarely life-threatening, it does cause discomfort and develops unsightly marks on the skin. The ringworm infection also causes inflammation and itchiness depending on the extent of the same. In addition to this, the infection is highly contagious and this makes it important for infected persons to make extra effort in terms of personal hygiene and cleanliness.
The good news is that there are several home remedies that you can use to treat ringworm infection naturally. Note however, that in cases where a child has a scalp infection, it is important to get the opinion of a medical doctor for prescription medicine. Such a scalp infection will usually be accompanied by loss of hair at the different patches on the scalp, intense itchiness as well as soreness. If that is not so, then make use of any of the following natural remedies.
1. Garlic Paste:
Time Required: 10 Min for preparation and 1 Hr for application.
What You Need: 2 Garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons of pure olive oil, 2 tablespoons of raw organic honey, a pestle and mortar, cotton wool and warm water to rinse.
Garlic is a popular kitchen herb, and without a doubt, one of the most effective home remedies for a number of conditions. In the treatment of ringworm infections, the garlic helps with speedy healing while getting rid of the fungi present. This is achieved thanks to the presence of a compound known as ajoene in the crushed garlic.
Note too, that whole garlic clove lacks these healing properties as the active ingredients are only released when the garlic is crushed. Honey is added for its healing properties while olive oil creates a base for the remedy and compliments the healing properties of garlic. Cotton wool is used for application purposes, and is discarded immediately to prevent the risk of spreading the infection.
- Peel garlic cloves and cut into small pieces.
- Place the garlic in the mortar and pound with the pestle to release the active ingredients present in the cloves.
- Pound until you get a consistent paste before adding in the honey and olive oil.
- Mix the 3 ingredients well until you have a paste that is well mixed.
- Scoop some of the paste using the cotton wool and apply it on the ringworm infected skin.
- Leave the paste on the skin for an hour.
- You will then rinse off the paste using warm water.
- Dab the skin dry to avoid leaving moisture where the fungi thrives.
- Use this remedy thrice daily for about 10 days or until the infection clears.
2. Tea Tree Oil:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: 1 Tablespoon of pure tea tree oil, sterilized cotton ball and 1 cup of warm water to dilute (optional). Warm soapy water to clean the skin.
Tea tree oil is one of the best natural anti-fungal remedies available, making it ideal for the treatment of ringworm infection. The oil is extracted from the tea tree (must be differentiated from the tea plant that yields the tea beverage). For this remedy, you need to use pure tea tree oil, and not one that has been diluted using any of the carrier oils. This is done to ensure that the remedy is effective to get rid of the fungi. In its undiluted form, tea tree oil is pretty strong and may therefore cause some stinging. If, however, the oil causes skin irritation, you need to dilute with warm water before application. Use sterilized cotton balls to ease the application process.
- Use warm soapy water to clean the infected skin and dry thoroughly.
- Pour a few drops of the tea tree oil on the cotton swab and dab this on the ringworm infected skin.
- Make sure that the oil covers every part of the ringworm area.
- If you feel a stinging sensation or irritation at the point where the oil comes into contact with the skin, rinse the oil using the warm water and proceed as follows.
- Add the tea tree oil to the cup of warm water and mix well so that the oil is well dispersed in the water.
- Soak a fresh ball of cotton wool in the diluted oil and slightly squeeze off the excess mixture.
- Apply the diluted tea tree oil to the infected skin and massage gently.
- Leave the mixture on he skin for the rest of the day until the next time you apply it.
- Use this remedy thrice daily for about 2 weeks or until the ringworm infection clears completely.
3. Raw Pawpaw Fruit:
Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: Raw pawpaw, grinder, cotton wool and warm water to rinse.
Raw pawpaw is a great home remedy for the treatment and management of ringworm. This is attributed to its potent enzymatic action, thanks to the presence of chymopapain and papain. When exposed to the skin, these two enzymes destroy the causative fungi while leaving the rest of your skin intact. Raw pawpaw also has the advantage of reducing soreness and inflammation at the site of infection. If you need a soothing remedy for your ringworm, look no further than your fruit basket and make the best of the raw pawpaw.
- Wash the pawpaw well and peel before chopping into small pieces.
- Transfer the chopped pawpaw to the grinder in order to create a paste. Some users prefer to rub the chopped chunks directly onto the ringworm infected skin, but if you opt for grinding, it gives you the advantage of an increased surface area for the application of the pawpaw paste.
- Grind the pawpaw pieces until you get a paste with your desired consistency.
- Scoop some of the paste using the cotton wool and apply on the affected part of the skin.
- Leave the pawpaw paste on for 20 minutes before rinsing off with warm water.
- Make sure that the ringworm infected skin remains dry.
- Follow this procedure thrice daily for 2 weeks and monitor the progress made in clearing the infection.
4. Table Salt:
Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: 1/2 Cup of salt and a basin full of warm water (to soak in) OR 1 tablespoon of the salt and some warm water. Difficulty: Easy
Salt is a common remedy for an array of infections, thanks to its healing properties. When used for the treatment of ringworm infectcions, the salt acts as an astringent and disinfectant in one. As an astringent remedy, the salt causes the red rash-filled patches to dry up, while its disinfectant properties help get rid of the fungal infection.
There are two ways in which you can use this remedy:either by doing a salt soak, or by creating a gritty salt scrub which is then applied on the infected skin. Note that due to the nature of the salt soak, it may not be practical for ringworm infection found on the scalp. For the scalp, the salt scrub should work just fine.
Creating Salt Soak
- Add the salt to the basin containing warm water and stir to ensure the salt dissolves completely.
- Soak the infected part of the skin in the salty water for half an hour.
- Dry the skin and make sure you use this remedy at least twice daily until the skin is completely healed.
Using Salt Scrub
- Add a few drops of warm water to the tablespoon of salt to create a gritty paste-like substance.
- Scoop this scrub using some cotton wool and apply it on the infected skin.
- Rub the scrub as gently as you can for 20 minutes before splashing some warm water and drying the skin.
- Use this remedy at least twice daily.
5. Fresh Aloe Vera Gel:
Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: Aloe Vera leaf, sharp knife, cotton wool and warm water to rinse.
Aloe vera is one of the most popular remedies for the treatment of ringworm, a factor that is attributed to its excellent anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and antiseptic properties. When applied on ringworm-infected skin, the gel helps get rid of the fungi and soothes the rash-filled patches. The easiest way to do this is to use the gel collected from freshly-cut aloe vera leaf. If you cannot access a fresh leaf, aloe vera juice should work just as fine.
- Cut a slice of the fresh aloe vera leaf using the sharp knife and tap the gel that oozes out in a shallow bowl.
- Using the cotton wool, collect some of the gel and apply it on the affected skin, ensuring that you rub it in for the best effects.
- Leave the aloe vera gel on the skin for some 20 minutes for its healing effects to set in.
- Rinse the skin using warm water and dry completely.
- Use this remedy at least thrice daily.
6. Coconut Oil:
Time required: 20 Min
What You Need: Unrefined coconut oil and cotton wool. Warm water bath (optional).
Coconut oil is a versatile home remedy, and it comes as no surprise that it is actually effective for the home treatment of ringworm-infected skin. The presence of specific fatty acids in the oil, and more specifically Lauric acid makes coconut oil a potent anti-fungal.
The fatty acids work by destroying the outer membranes of the fungi so that over a considerable period of time, the oil should help you get rid of the fungi that causes the ringworm. When choosing coconut oil for this purpose, look out for oil that is unrefined as this is unadulterated and is most effective. Use coconut oil for a week or so after the ringworm infections have cleared to prevent possible recurrence.
- Coconut oil has a tendency to solidify at room temperature, so if this is the case, place it in a warm water bath for melting purposes.
- Place a few drops of the liquid coconut oil on the infected skin and rub it in using the cotton wool.
- Leave the oil on the skin until the next time you use this remedy. Ideally, repeating this procedure thrice daily will have positive effects in getting rid of the ringworm.
- Make sure that at least one of the times you use coconut oil is at bedtime so that you allow for its healing properties to act overnight.
7. Apple Cider Vinegar:
Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: 2 Tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar, sterilized cotton wool and warm water for dilution purposes (optional).
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is yet another versatile home remedy whose healing properties have made it effective for skin infections across the board, including ringworm fungal infections. ACV’s effectiveness can be traced back to its highly acidic properties which create a hostile environment for the fungi to thrive.
The key to getting the most from this remedy is to use it regularly for a considerable period of time. The advantage of ACV is that it can also be used in kids. Snce some people have allergic skin, it is important to carry out a skin patch test on a discreet part of the body. If you do not experience any skin irritation, go ahead and use the undiluted ACV. If your skin gets irritated, mix equal amounts of the ACV and water to dilute well.
- Clean the infected skin prior to the application of the ACV remedy.
- Carry out the patch test on a discreet part of the body. If you experience irritation, dilute the ACV with warm water. If not, proceed as described below.
- Soak the cotton wool in the ACV and rub on the ringworm patches.
- Leave the solution on the skin.
- Use this remedy thrice daily.
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: Camphor powder and sesame oil (optional).
Camphor is a pungent herb which has long need used in traditional Chinese medicine since ancient civilizations. Its anti fungal properties make it ideal for the treatment of ringworm infected skin. Despite its strong aroma, this is one effective remedy whose healing powers make up for its smell. In case you are concerned about skin irritation, you can always mix the camphor with sesame oil. Note that camphor must NOT be used internally as it is extremely toxic, and should only be used for topical application.
- Use a pinch of the camphor powder on the infected skin and spread it so that it covers the patch in its entirety.
- If you prefer, mix the camphor power with sesame oil and apply on the skin using the cotton wool.
- Repeat this procedure thrice daily for quick recovery.