Natural Remedies for RingwormAnna Maria Greene June 1, 2010
Many fortunate individuals, who’ve never experienced ringworm, logically assume it has to do with those wiggly critters taking up habitat in our pets’ innards. The name, though, has nothing to do with worms. Ringworm, or Tinea, is a highly contagious fungus that can pass from pet to pet, human to pet and vice versa.
If you think you may be dealing with a case of ringworm, alternative treatments exist. The first step is to keep an eye out for its oft-hidden symptoms in pets and to correctly identify it. Even more important, you can lower your risk of acquiring it in the first place by taking some basic precautionary measures – with children especially.
Since ringworm is transmitted by contact with either an infected host (human or animal) or with infected dead skin shed in various ways (from hair, nails, and so on), a strict no-share policy is in order – particularly for school kids. This includes no sharing combs and brushes, gym towels, socks, shoes, caps and other clothing. Also, such places as saunas, swimming pools and locker rooms are suspect. Adults should equally be aware that such seemingly benign items like hotel rugs can harbour this fungus. Mom’s rule to always wear your slippers in public places was sound advice.
So, you’ve followed prevention protocol, but one day your dog Rosie is scratching. You look more closely and see a bald patch and a tell-tale red ring on Rosie’s skin.
As Paul McCutcheon, DVM, of the East York Animal Clinic, says of the treatment process for ringworm: “We always look at the individual patient and consider such factors as the immune system, diet and whether the condition is a topical versus a systemic problem.” Indeed, it’s advisable to consult a professional before using natural remedies – especially if you don’t have experience in alternative medicine. Part of the preventive measure for any illness or condition in pets and humans is maintaining a strong immune system and healthy diet.
Assuming Rosie and you are otherwise in good health, numerous remedies have been recommended for effectively treating ringworm. Here are a few:
Unpasteurized Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV): This is the old standby for many health problems in pets and humans. In the case of ringworm, clean the area and gently apply ACV-soaked cotton balls to the infection, several times a day for 10 days or so – you should begin to see results within a few days. For a more severe case, dilute (for pets) 2 Tbsp of ACV into a quart of distilled water, soak a cotton bandage in the solution, wrap the area, check it every day, and change it daily for about 10 days.
Ring-Ex: This is an alternative product to treat pets with ringworm. It contains ingredients with potent anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties such as Neem and tea-tree oil, as well as the herb marigold, which, in conjunction with treating inflammation and fungus, is an excellent anti-viral and anti-bacterial. Ring-Ex also contains Witch hazel, another great anti-inflammatory that helps relieve pain and prevent skin infections. See website below for product information.
* Note that studies have shown that tea tree oil (among other oils) when applied in incorrect dosages, can cause sickness in pets if they ingest it by licking it off or absorbing it through their skin, so don‘t apply this oil without following professional guidelines.
Black walnut paste: Scrape the black oily paste from the inside of an unripe walnut and apply it to the infected area, having cleaned the area first. Black walnut has a long history of usage by Aboriginal peoples to treat numerous infections successfully.
If you choose to apply these topical treatments on your own, and the ringworm isn’t healing within a few days, do bring your pet to an alternative vet.
Homeopathic remedies: Bacillinum is a common homeopathic remedy for ringworm. Kali arsenicum, Sepia, and Arsenicum are also recommended for curing this fungus. A homeopath can best determine the appropriate treatment for your pet.
If the problem is systemic, your pet may be unable to fight the fungal infection with topical aids only. A range of additional treatment possibilities may then be used. These include probiotics, digestive, enzymes and other healing nutrients, as well as stress relieving treatments, according to the individual patient and the alternative vet’s diagnosis.
FOR HUMANS ONLY
Tea tree oil is a common treatment for humans affected by ringworm. Apply it lightly to the infected area, two to three times a day, for about 10 days. For more stubborn infections, using a carrier oil such as sesame oil, helps with absorption. Mix the following and dab it on with a cotton swab:
Tea Tree 25 drops; Lavender 15 drops; Geranium 5 drops; Peppermint 5 drops; 1 ounce Sesame oil; 1 capsule vitamin E
For weakened immune systems, Leon Chaitow, N.D., D.O., [in Alternative Medicine, The Definitive Guide] recommends a low-sugar diet and supplementation with garlic and probiotics for several months, as well as other nutritional therapy including vitamins A and E (orally and topically), vitamin B-complex, vitamin C, and evening primrose oil. Chaitow also suggests garlic as a powerful topical anti-fungal treatment for ringworm. Apply a thin slice to the area and cover it up.
Ringworm has been associated also with Candida. For treating Candida in humans (by restoring friendly bacteria in the intestines), go to Vitality’s website and type “candida” into the search engine there.
Finally, you’ll need to disinfect your home. Instead of bleach, use grapeseed extract diluted in a water bottle and spray it around areas such as the animal’s bedding or anywhere the pets spend time.
• Alternative Medicine, The Definitive Guide. Compiled by The Burton Goldberg Group, Burton Goldberg, Ed., Future Medicine Publishing, 1999.
• www.theveterinarysecret.com/ [extracted from the WWW, May 20, 2010]
• East York Animal Clinic Holistic Centre, 805 O’Connor Drive, Toronto, ON
• https://www.nativeremedies.com/ [Pet Alive products including Ring-Ex; information extracted from the WWW May 20, 2010.]