Natural Health Remedies for You

Natural Home Remedies for Ringworm

This page focuses on home remedies for ringworm, using herbs, aromatherapy, and nutritional supplements as natural treatment for ringworm. Symptoms and causes of ringworm will also be covered.

Ringworm is not a worm. Also known as tinea, it is a superficial skin infection caused by fungi called dermatophytes that live off the dead tissues of our skin, hair, and nails.

Ringworm is characterized by an itchy, red ring of small blisters or scaly skin that grows outward as the infection spreads, with healthy-looking skin in the middle of the ring.

There are different forms of ringworm depending on the location it affects. The most common forms include:

  • Ringworm of the scalp (tinea capitis): This form is most common in children. It is characterized by red, itchy patches on the scalp, leaving bald patches.
  • Ringworm of the body (tinea corporis): This form of ringworm affects the skin on the trunk, limbs, and face.
  • Athlete's foot (tinea pedis): This form affects the moist areas between the toes and sometimes on the foot itself.
  • Jock itch (tinea cruris): This form affects the genitals, inner upper thighs and buttocks.

Symptoms of Ringworm

The signs and symptoms of ringworm on the body include:

  • A circular rash on the skin that is red and inflamed around the edge and healthy looking in the middle
  • itchiness in the center red area
  • Slightly raised border of red, scaly skin

More than one patch of ringworm may appear on the skin, and patches or red rings of rash may overlap.

For ringworm on the scalp, typical symptoms include:

  • Reddening, crusting, and scaling of the scalp
  • Intense itching
  • Hair loss
  • Swollen lymph nodes (in the neck region)


Causes of Ringworm

Ringworm is caused by the mold-like fungi (dermatophytes) that live on the cells in the outer layer of our skin.

Ringworm fungus is spread through direct contact with an infected person or animal. It can also be spread by contact with objects or surfaces that an infected person or animal has recently touched or rubbed against, such as clothing, towels, bedding and linens, combs, or brushes.

Conditions such as heat, moisture and dirty, crowded living conditions increase the risk of fungi spreading.


Treatment for Ringworm

Conventional ringworm treatment involves the use of antifungal topical and oral medication.

A topical cream or ointment such as Mycelex and Lotrimin is commonly used. Oral medications such as Lamisil or Diflucan may also be prescribed. These medications carry some negative side effects such as headache, dizziness, nausea or diarrhea.


Home Remedies for Ringworm

Home remedies for ringworm, using herbs, essential oils, and nutritional supplements, are more natural and gentle remedies to treat this fungal skin disease. These natural home remedies for ringworms will not only address the root problem but also help to maintain overall health and wellbeing.

In addition to topically fight the fungal growth, it is also important to use natural remedies and diet to strengthen your immune system. Fungus feeds on sugar, so eliminating sugars in your diet is a first step.

A healthy diet based on fresh vegetables and lean protein such as fish, beans and lentils is recommended. Unsweetened yogurt can provide "friendly bacteria" to your digestive system to help fight fungal overgrowth.

Zinc and B vitamins are important as well - consume foods rich in B vitamins, such as brown rice, sunflower seeds, and lentils. Get extra zinc from eggs, sardines, and pumpkin seeds.

Home Remedies for Ringworm - Herbs

Quite a few herbs are antifungal and antiseptic. The most effective ones are:

  • Garlic: Garlic fights fungal infections; and it strengthens the immune system at the same time. You can take up to 1000 mg of garlic twice a day. Topically, you can use garlic oil to treat ringworm. Simply crush several cloves of garlic and steep them in olive oil for one to three days. Strain out the plant material and use a cotton ball to apply the garlic oil on affected areas a few times a day.
  • Black Walnut: Studies have found that the fresh husk of the black walnut can destroy fungi better than a commonly prescribed antifungal drug. You can get a tincture of this herb and apply it to the affected areas a few times a day.
  • Ginger: Ginger contains a lot of antifungal compounds. You can prepare a strong decoction by adding one ounce of chopped ginger root to a cup of boiling water. Simmer for 20 minutes and use a cotton ball to apply it directly to the affected areas twice a day.
  • Goldenseal: Goldenseal contains berberine, which is a powerful antifungal and antibacterial compound. You can get a tincture of goldenseal and, following the package directions, add it to a glass of juice and drink it three times a day. Topically, you may want to add 3 to 4 drops of the goldenseal tincture to the ginger decoction described above for synergistic effect.
  • Echinacea: Echinacea is frequently used to boost the immune system. This herb is also antifungal and is beneficial for treating ringworm and yeast infections. You can get a tincture of this herb and simply add the recommended amount to juice three times a day to enhance the effectiveness of the other natural home remedies for ringworm.
  • Turmeric: Several studies have shown that the oil of turmeric, even at very low concentrations, inhibits the growth of many common fungi. You can get a commercial oil of turmeric, dilute it with water (one part oil to two parts water) and apply it to the affected areas with a cotton ball several times a day.


Home Remedies for Ringworm - Essential Oils

Essential oils that are antifungal can be used to treat ringworm. They include:

  • Tea tree oil
  • Lavender
  • Thyme linalol

In particular, tea tree oil provides an extremely effective treatment for ringworm. Apply one neat drop of tea tree oil over the ringworm lesions three times a day until the lesions are clear. This normally takes up to 10 days. After that, add 20-30 drops of tea tree oil to 2 tablespoons of a carrier oil (e.g. olive oil) and rub the oil mixture over the affected areas every day.

NOTE: Some people find tea tree oil irritating to their skin. If you have never used tea tree oil before, apply one drop to one small area first to see if it irritates your skin. Also, NEVER ingest the oil.


Other Home Remedies for Ringworm

Here are some other natural home remedies for ringworm that you may want to consider:

  • Grapefruit Seed Extract: GSE is antifungal and can prevent fungal overgrowth. You can take about 200 mg twice a day.
  • Vitamin C: This vitamin is anti-inflammatory and enhances immune function. A dosage of 1000 mg twice a day is recommended.
  • Probiotics: Probiotics provide our digestive system with "friendly bacteria" which can fight fungal growth.

Related Topic

Natural Athletes Foot Remedies


Balch and Stengler, Prescription for Natural Cures, (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2004).
Duke, J.A. The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook. (St. Martin's Paperbacks, 2002).
Worwood, V.A. The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy. (New World Library, 1991). (

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