Ringworm isn't a worm at all, but rather a fungal infection of the tinea corporis, which, according to the Mayo Clinic, is closely related to other tinea fungi that cause athlete's foot and jock itch. According to "1000 Cures for 200 Ailments," ringworm is most common in children ages 2 to 10. It is easily transmitted from other children and from family pets, and a person is contagious before symptoms even appear. The Mayo Clinic says that unless the rash has improved significantly within two weeks, you may need prescription medication. The clinic warns that if you suffer from severe swelling or draining, or develop a fever, seek treatment immediately.
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In "1000 Cures for 200 Ailments," naturopathy expert Dr. Geovanni Espinosa suggests following a diet meant to improve your immune system and reduce the presence of tinea (ringworm) and candida fungi in your body. Eat chicken, fish, eggs, yogurt, vegetables, nuts, oils and large quantities of raw garlic, which contains powerful anti-fungal compounds that work both internally and topically. Eliminate as much sugar as possible, because it promotes the development of fungus. Consider Stevia as a sugar substitute. Avoid all foods that contain yeast, mold or fungus, including mushrooms, tempeh, breads and baked goods.
Espinosa suggests several supplements to boost your immune system and combat ringworm fungal infection. The fatty acid Caprylic acid has anti-fungal properties, and you should take 1,000 mg three times a day. One thousand milligrams of vitamin C a day will improve the function of your immune system. A probiotic pill should be taken before each meal. It will increase the absorption of nutrients, and the acidophilus and bifidus supplied prevent yeast and candida overgrowth. Finally, take a multivitamin to make sure your immune system has all the nutrients it needs.
Several topical herbs are just as effective at fighting fungal infection as over-the-counter topical creams. According to Dr. Robert Rister in "Healing Without Medication," tea tree oil is the most effective herbal treatment for ringworm. He advises applying a cream containing 8- to 20-percent tea tree oil to the area of infection two to three times a day. According to "1000 Cures for 200 Ailments," besides increasing your consumption of garlic, you can use it as a topical treatment for ringworm by applying raw crushed garlic to the affected area two to three times a day. If you don't want to smell like garlic, however, you can look for a gel that contains 1-percent ajoene, the anti-fungal compound in garlic. "PDR for Herbal Medicines" states that ajoene is as effective an anti-fungal treatment as clotrimazole cream. "1000 Cures for 200 Ailments" suggests that echinacea be taken orally in conjunction with topical treatment, as it will increase its efficacy. "PDR for Herbal Medicines" says to take 30 to 60 drops of echinacea tincture three times daily.