My wife painted a small glass jar in which I keep coconut oil when I travel. I love the sentiment on the back side of the jar. You might have read, as I have, of the countless uses of coconut oil. I use it as a cooking oil, a dietary supplement, a skin moisturizer and, recently, when I learnt that it has natural anti-fungal properties, I used it to treat ringworm.
I’ve had the infection a few times in the past and normally gone to the local doctor to get a prescription for a cream to clear it up. Now, wary of prescription medications as they can contain nasty, artificial chemicals that strain the body as much as they cure it, I sought a natural treatment for the ring-like rash on my thigh.
What is ringworm?
Ringworm (also know as tinea) actually has nothing to do with worms. It’s a fungal infection that normally thrives on warm, moist skin and is usually caught through direct skin contact, sharing of objects like towels, or even from pets.
What’s the standard treatment?
Benzyl Alcohol; Cetyl Alcohol; Cetyl Esters Wax; Octyldodecanol; Polysorbate 60; Sorbitan Monostearate; Stearyl Alcohol, and; water.
I picked one of these ingredients at random – Sorbitan Monostearate – then sought out the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets) for this product online and found the following in ‘Section 4: First Aid Measures’ in th case of skin contact;
Wash off immediately with soap and plenty of water removing all contaminated clothing and shoes. Get medical attention if irritation develops. Consult a physician if necessary.
and in ‘Section 7: Handling and Storage’;
Safe Handling Advice – Wear personal protective equipment. Avoid contact with skin, eyes and clothing. Keep away from heat and sources of ignition. Do not ingest. Do not breathe dust. Handle in accordance with good industrial hygiene and safety practice.
And this is in a cream we’re supposed to rub into our skin! I guess it’s in such a small dose not to be really dangerous but, all the same, I was concerned.
What alternative treatments are there?
Sunwarrior.com lists 50 of the best uses for coconut oil. Number 14 is as a treatment for ringworm. It also recommends using a little tea tree oil at the same time.
And in a list on Mercola.com, Countless Uses for Coconut Oil, Dr. Mercola includes the following:
Fungal and/or yeast infections, such as athlete’s foot and ringworm. For fungal infections, you can mix in a small amount of oregano oil or tea tree oil
So, apparently, coconut oil has natural anti-fungal properties.
Remember the warnings about Sorbitan Monostearate above? Where it might irritate the skin and is hazardous to ingest? Well, I certainly have none of those concerns with coconut oil. I felt like giving it a go.
Treating ringworm with coconut oil
I started applying a few drops of essential oil of tea tree followed by a smearing of coconut oil every morning before work and every evening before going to bed. Within a few days the redness of the infection had reduced and in about 7-10 days, the infection was gone. Great! It was so easy.
As mentioned at the beginning of the post, I carry coconut oil with me whenever I travel [note that I carry it in a glass jar rather than a plastic container as part of my effort to use use10percentless]. I’m so glad that this very simple, natural oil solved yet another problem for me.
- UK National Health Service information on ringworm
- Here’s an interesting article from Alice’s Kitchen with an enormous number of uses for coconut oil – http://www.alices.kitchen/cookware/what-is-coconut-oil/
- Does coconut oil go off? Here’s an interesting article – Does Coconut Oil Go Bad? – from Kitchen Ambition
Please share any stories you have, successful or otherwise, related to coconut oil, in the comments below. It would be great to hear them. Thanks.