Ringworm is a common fungal skin infection caused by tinea corporis. Don’t be fooled by the name, it is not caused by a worm. The fungus produces a scaly, circular, itchy rash on the skin, scalp, groin or feet. There can be hair loss and blistering as well. Tinea is spread through contact and is more likely to infect skin that is moist and has a defect. Although it can be a nuisance, the infection is not dangerous.
Many natural remedies are known to treat ringworm. Here I share a photo documented success story after trying a variety of remedies. To get straight to the point, raw garlic was the hands down winner. In the end, I used it as part of a 3 remedy combination.
The first remedy I tried was lavender essential oil. I always have a high quality Swiss pharmacy brand available to use on cuts and nicks. For the ringworm, I applied it neat (undiluted) directly on the skin. The picture above was taken immediately after an application. This treatment was used twice daily for a week, and did clearly have a drying effect on the rash. See the picture below taken about a week into the lavender treatment.
However, I was unhappy with the speed of healing and so decided to add garlic. I choose this remedy next because I had it readily available and it is often mentioned as an effective agent.
I used the most potent garlic I could find. It was locally grown and organic. I knew from cooking with it, that it was much stronger than typical store bought garlic. For each preparation, I sliced a fresh piece. I made sure to place the newly cut side, with oils leaking, directly on to the rash. I then covered it with a band-aid to hold it securely in place. I left the garlic preparation on for 2 hours, once a day.
Immediately after removing the garlic I could see that the ringworm was unhappy. The rash became bright red, and the oil had a moisturizing effect.
Seeing this, I was encouraged that the garlic would work. Of the 3 component treatment, it was clear to me the garlic was the key ingredient. The first step was always the 2 hour garlic application. After removing it, I wiped the rash with a tissue moistened with apple cider vinegar. This helped take away some of that garlic smell, and it is also popular remedy for ringworm. Lastly I applied a small amount of lavender oil to help dry the rash and leave it with a pleasant smell.
The photo below was taken 2 days after starting the garlic remedy and 9 days all together. There is already some clearing in skin!
After only 1 week it looked like the rash was on its way out. At this point I had to travel and stopped the garlic treatment, falsely thinking it was days away from healing. It turns out fungal skin infections are stubborn and require more persistence in treatment.
As shown below, there was more infection deeper in the skin that started to surface in the form of pustules.
I restarted the garlic remedy, after having taken a week off. During the next couple weeks the skin produced more blisters and cleared more daily. It also went through phases of scaling, as seen below.
Again I naively took a break in the garlic applications. But soon it was clear, there was still more ringworm in the deeper layers of the skin. The skin started to thicken and redden in some places.
Once again, I restarted the daily garlic applications, this time with determination to continue until the skin appeared totally normal.
The rash went through many phases of looking better, then looking worse. I kept the garlic going.
I understand that pharmaceutical antifungals work much faster. However, I am a lover of natural remedies and always prefer the gentler approach even if it means waiting longer.
The entire treatment took about 2 months. I suspect it would have been faster if I had diligently used the garlic from day one through to completion. There were about 3 weeks total that it went untreated. The apple cider vinegar and lavender oil accompanied the garlic preparation well, but if I had only one of the remedies to choose, it would be the fresh garlic. When I first discovered the rash, it was disheartening and I had some doubts that it would heal. I’m happy to report that, garlic, an herb accessible to almost all people, will fully heal a ringworm skin infection if applied correctly.