Throughout history, civilizations have compiled natural remedies for health and healing. But where should you begin sifting through this flood of possible solutions to solve the problem plaguing you? From supplements to herbs and plants to “kitchen cures” straight from your fridge and pantry, Meredith Hale’s book Home Remedies (Wellfleet Press, 2015) is a collection of the best cures for common ailments. Whether you’re plagued by fever, toothaches, insomnia, or anything in between, this book contains a comprehensive and unique list of natural fixes for your illness.
Athlete’s foot is a fungal skin infection causing an itchy, irritating rash, typically between the toes. You don’t have to be a marathon runner to catch athlete’s foot. All you need is contact with a contaminated surface — such as a locker-room floor or the area around a pool, where people typically walk around barefoot. Combine this exposure with tight, sweaty footwear, and you have a recipe for infection. Treating athlete’s foot can take time, and often involves over-the-counter antifungal creams or a prescription oral antifungal. When it comes to athlete’s foot, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure; however, if you do find yourself in this uncomfortable situation, there are some natural treatments you can turn to for relief.
Baking soda kills bacteria and can act as an antifungal. Mix a tablespoon of baking soda with water to form a paste, and rub on the affected area. Once the paste dries, rinse it off and dry your feet completely with a towel. Sprinkling a little baking soda in your shoes can prevent the moisture in which fungus breeds.
Cornstarch absorbs moisture, and keeping feet dry is critical to keeping fungus at bay. Brown 1/2 cup cornstarch in the oven or on the stovetop, making sure it doesn’t burn. Rub the cornstarch on your feet and leave it on for five to ten minutes before removing with a towel.
Tea Tree Oil
Considered a natural antiseptic, tea tree oil is active against many bacteria and fungi. Create a mixture of 50 percent tea tree oil and 50 percent olive oil, and rub the combination on the affected area twice a day.
While mouthwash may not help if you already have athlete’s foot, it can help to prevent the infection. Mouthwash containing alcohol has antimicrobial properties, reducing bacteria and warding off fungal infections. After each shower, rub a mouthwash-soaked cotton ball on the soles of your feet and between your toes, and allow to dry.
Proper Foot Care
Certain people are more prone to athlete’s foot than others. If you find yourself in this category, it’s important to watch what you put on your feet. Change your socks often, wash them in hot water, and make sure to wear properly fitting footwear, ideally made of a natural material such as leather.
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Reprinted with permission from Home Remedies: An A-Z Guide of Quick and Easy Natural Cures by Meredith Hale, published by Wellfleet Press, 2015.