With summertime comes “warmer” weather, and with that, an increase in cases of Athlete’s Foot. This fungal infection is not only itchy and unsightly, but can also be quite contagious.
Thankfully, there are a number of fungicidal essential oils that can help to clear up the infection quickly. In this article, we’ll explore five different recipes for using aromatherapy to treat Athlete’s Foot.
So read on to learn more!
What is Athlete’s Foot?
Athlete’s Foot, or tinea pedis, is a fungal infection of the skin on the feet. It is caused by a type of fungus known as a dermatophyte, and often manifests as an itchy rash between the toes. Other common symptoms of Athlete’s Foot include dry, scaly skin on the soles of the feet, and blisters.
The fungus that causes Athlete’s Foot thrives in warm, damp environments, such as locker rooms and showers. Wearing shoes that are not breathable can also contribute to the growth of fungus.
How can aromas fight a fungus?
Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils to treat a variety of health problems. Essential oils are concentrated plant extracts that contain the ‘essence’ of the plant’s fragrance. They are generally extracted through a process of steam distillation or cold pressing.
Each essential oil has its own unique smell, and also contains different medicinal properties. The oil’s smell and its medicinal properties are a result of a combination of aromatic compounds known as terpenes.
There are over 20,000 terpenes in the natural world, and they interact with each other to create the plant’s unique smell. Each essential oil contains a different combination of terpenes, which is what gives it its particular medicinal properties.
For example, the terpene limonene is found in many citrus oils and is known for its antifungal properties. The smell of any one essential oil, therefore, has a direct connection to the (potentially) therapeutic compounds in that oil.
Treat Athlete’s Foot with these five oils
Now that we know a little bit more about Athlete’s Foot and how essential oils can be used to treat it, let’s take a look at five fungicidal essential oils that can help to clear up the infection quickly.
- Tea tree oil: Tea tree oil is extracted from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia tree, which is native to Australia. It has a fresh, camphoraceous smell and contains the fungicidal properties of terpinen-4-ol and 1,8-cineole. Tea tree oil is one of the most commonly suggested fungicidal oils, and for good reason.
- To treat Athlete’s Foot with tea tree oil, add 10 drops of oil to 2 cups of warm water in a foot basin. Soak your feet in the mixture for 20 minutes, then dry thoroughly. You can also make a tincture by adding 10 drops of tea tree oil to 1 ounce of carrier oil such as olive oil or almond oil. Mix thoroughly and apply the tincture to the affected areas 2-3 times per day.
- Oregano oil: Oregano oil is extracted from the leaves of the Origanum vulgare plant, which is native to Europe. It has a warm, spicy smell and contains the fungicidal compounds carvacrol and thymol. Oregano oil is a potent oil, so it should be used sparingly.
- To treat Athlete’s Foot with oregano oil, add 2-3 drops of oil to 1 teaspoon of carrier oil such as olive oil or almond oil. Mix thoroughly and apply the mixture to the affected areas 2-3 times per day. You can also add 2-3 drops of oregano oil to a foot basin filled with warm water. Soak your feet in the mixture for 20 minutes, then dry thoroughly.
- Cinnamon oil: Cinnamon oil is extracted from the bark of the Cinnamomum verum tree, which is native to Sri Lanka. It has a warm, spicy smell and contains the fungicidal compound cinnamaldehyde. Cinnamon oil is another potent oil that should be used sparingly.
- Use cinnamon oil in similar proportions and methods as oregano oil.
- Lemon oil: Lemon oil is extracted from the peel of the Citrus limon fruit, which is native to Italy. It has a fresh, citrusy smell and contains the fungicidal compound limonene. Lemon oil is also an antibacterial and immunostimulant.
- To treat Athlete’s Foot with lemon oil, add 10 drops of oil to 2 cups of warm water in a foot basin. Soak your feet in the mixture for 20-30 minutes, then dry thoroughly.
- Thyme oil: Thyme oil is extracted from the leaves of the Thymus vulgaris plant, which is native to Europe. It has a fresh, herbaceous smell and contains the fungicidal compounds thymol and carvacrol.
- Use thyme oil in similar proportions as oregano oil.
Other healthy foot practices
Athlete’s Foot can be treated with fungicidal essential oils, but these oils can also be combined with other natural products to create an even more potent treatment.
Each has its own unique set of benefits that work synergistically to help clear up the infection quickly. Let’s take a quick look at each one.
Salt: Salt has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties that can help to soothe the itchiness and redness associated with Athlete’s Foot.
Vinegar: Vinegar is acidic and can help to kill the fungus that causes Athlete’s Foot. It also has astringent properties that can help to dry out the rash.
Terpenes: Even more elemental than an essential oil, terpenes are the building blocks of many plants’ medicinal properties. Legal terpenes can easily be found online and in stores.
Mustard seed: The mustard seed is a natural fungicide that can help to kill the fungus causing Athlete’s Foot.
Garlic: Garlic has both antifungal and antibacterial properties. It can also help to boost the immune system, which is important in fighting off infections.
There you have it! Five fungicidal essential oils that can help to treat Athlete’s Foot quickly and effectively. When using essential oils, always be sure to use a carrier oil to dilute the oil before applying it to your skin.
Improperly used, essential oils can easily cause skin irritation that can make your healing process take even longer. And never ingest essential oils without first consulting with a medical professional.
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