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Can Garlic Treat Athletes' Foot?

By: Sarah Knowles BA, MA - Updated: 1 Jul 2017 | comments*Discuss
Garlic Athlete’s Foot Moist Environment

Garlic is an amazing food. Not only does it add flavour to everything from to soups to vegetables to meat dishes, but it also is seen to have far-reaching medicinal properties as well.

In fact, people have used garlic for its health benefits for thousands of years, using the small cloves to treat everything from the common cold to mosquito bites to high cholesterol. Well, now medical boffins have gone one step further – literally – announcing that garlic can also be hugely beneficial in treating athlete’s foot. And you thought the only bizarre thing about garlic was that it was helpful in keeping vampires at bay…

What is Athlete’s Foot?

The official name for this unpleasant condition is tinea paedis, and it can be contracted easily – all you need is a foot and a moist environment, like a sweaty sock, a humid locker room or a wet shower floor. The moist environment causes a specific fungus to grow on the foot, causing it to crack, sting and hurt – and look and smell unpleasant. The foot can look red and scaly, and have a nasty odour coming from it.

Although it might sound frightening, tinea paedis is actually the most common fungal infection of all, affecting primarily men and boys – although anyone can catch it.

There are plenty of treatments out there to combat athlete’s foot, but now one containing a common kitchen ingredient – garlic – is seen as one of the best around. And it’s safe, has few side effects, and is cheap to boot!

Garlic Home Remedies

Garlic has long been known for its microbial properties, specifically because it contains “ajoene”, which comes from the Spanish word for garlic, or “ajo”. This compound has been shown to be especially effective in the battle against athlete’s foot.

In fact, a study in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found that 100 per cent of 50 people using a mild garlic solution were cured of their athlete’s foot, as compared to 94 per cent of people who used Lamisil, a popular topical solution.

Here are some home remedies using garlic, which you can easily try yourself. Any of these home remedies should work well; if not, your condition might be caused by something else and you should see your GP.

  • Rub a few drops of pure garlic oil onto the affected areas, using a ball of cotton wool. This is best done before bedtime, as the smell can linger.
  • Press cloves of fresh garlic into a paste, then apply them to the foot.
  • Make up a footbath of warm water containing crushed cloves of garlic, although this might only work for fairly mild cases of athlete’s foot. Follow up by dusting your feet regularly with garlic powder.
  • Take regular supplements of garlic to build up your immune system to fight the fungus, if you are prone to athlete’s foot.

A Word of Caution

While garlic is widely tolerated by almost everybody, some people do have an allergy to it. Symptoms of a garlic allergy include a temperature, rash and/or blisters, as well as headaches.

Eating too much garlic can wreak havoc on the digestive system, and we all know it can cause bad breath, which is why often people choose to take garlic supplements in capsule form.

Garlic can also interfere with anti-coagulants, which is why it's recommended that you avoid ingesting a large amount before surgery. And it can counteract some medicines used against HIV/AIDS. Better to consult your GP first – before taking large amounts of anything, or supplements of any kind.

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I've used garlic w.Olive order for about 3 nights straight and it is working tremendously! And my feet were awful but they are softer, the calluses and athletic foot seems that both are almost gone. SERIOUSLY!
Lady T - 1-Jul-17 @ 4:17 AM
@goginksi. The article makes no mention of olive oil. This could be making things worse. You should check with your GP if the symptoms do not improve.
SafeAlternativeMedicine - 9-Jul-15 @ 11:38 AM
I've been applying a garlic paste twice daily of crushed garlic cloves and olive oil and it seems to have made the area more even red/darker and irritated the skin on my toes. Have been doing it 3 days now with no improvement. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you. Bill
goginski - 6-Jul-15 @ 3:49 AM
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