Ringworm is a fungal infection of the skin, most commonly treated with over-the-counter creams. But this infection is notoriously resistant to treatment and often comes back again and again. Of course there are numerous home remedies for ringworm, with a recent study indicating that essential oils may be as effective (if not more effective) than conventional treatments for ringworm, giving us another natural remedy to add to our “medicine” cabinet.
According to scientists with the Department of Veterinary Science at the University of Pisa in Italy, a combination of 5% oregano essential oil, 5% rosemary essential oil, and 2% wild thyme essential oil mixed into a base of sweet almond oil was effective at treating severe ringworm infections in cats and sheep.
As GreenMedInfo reports, this fungal infection is common in animals as it is in humans. Because it is contagious and difficult to get rid of, some veterinarians don’t even want infected pets in their clinic. In humans, the telltale signs of ringworm are red, itchy patches of skin that are often shaped in a circle, hence the name. Despite the name, however, ringworm is not a worm or parasite at all. In fact, it’s a similar fungus that causes jock itch and athlete’s foot; all three are known as “tinea.”
The Italian researchers tested their essential oil treatment on eleven different species of ringworm. In addition to wild thyme, rosemary, and oregano, they found star anise and lemon oil to have redeeming anti-fungal properties.
A later study, similarly conducted, on sheep indicated similar results, with the animals having been treated with essential oils successfully combating the sometimes-pervasive fungal infection.
We know the plants from which these oils come have anti-fungal properties. This is not new. However, scientific applications certainly lend credence to claims of effectiveness in healing treatments.
Both thyme and oregano contain powerful antifungal compounds. Thymol is one of them which has been isolated and used in conventional medications as an antifungal. Oregano oil itself contains 40 to 64% thymol.
If you suffer from ringworm, you can try to recreate the Italian essential oil recipe at home. As an alternative, a high quality essential oil of oregano can be applied with a carrier oil (like almond or jojoba) on the skin directly.