The form of fungal infection that develops on the outer layers of the body in areas like the scalp, moist skin, and in nails is commonly known as ringworm. In fact, ringworm is caused by the same fungus –tinea, that leads to other conditions such as "jock itch" and athlete's foot in people. This condition is very contagious; ringworm can be rapidly transferred from one person to the other. Children commonly get infected from other children through contact with contaminated gymnasium floors and shower stalls in schools and other communal facilities, thus in mode of transmission it resembles athlete's foot. Contaminated bedding and shower rooms can infect a child away at camp or when he or she is a part of a communal institution. The infection can also be spread about by contact with an infected animal.
The disease begins on the body of the person by the formation of a slightly scaly lesion on an area of the skin that arises as a small, round, itchy red spot eventually forming into the characteristic raised and round appearance of ringworm. The typical ring like appearance is achieved gradually, and this occurs because the infection heals from the inside outwardly, and the lesion eventually forms a rim or a circle. Ringworm also mostly spreads from one area of the body to another over a period of time.
This condition is very persistent and irritating to the infected person, even though ringworm is not a serious infection. The microscopic examination of the scaly particles from a lesion after they have been gently scrapped off, will give the doctor a correct diagnosis of a ringworm infestation. When ultraviolet light is shone on the lesions, a characteristic glow is given off by the fungus; this method of diagnosis can also be applied to receive a proper diagnosis of the infection. Ringworm in general clears off in a few weeks time if proper and prompt treatment is undertaken. However, a chronic rash or hair loss can also form on the person if the fungus is not properly treated.
A ringworm like condition can also occur in people, this comes about as white and blotchy discoloration of areas on the skin caused by a fungal species; tinea versicolor, which is similar to the fungal agent that brings about ringworm. This form of discoloration is very obvious to the sight in people with a dark skin tone. Unless the condition is observed under ultra violet light it is difficult to diagnose this condition in a very light-skinned person, a suntan may also possibly help in the diagnosis of the condition, as the affected area of the skin will remain white. It is very difficult to be rid of this persistent disease, and symptoms are hard to detect other than the very obvious skin discoloration, which is a characteristic of the condition, the fungus tinea versicolor produces very few symptomatic effects on the person. Unless and until the fungus is completely eradicated from the affected area of the skin and the area is exposed to sunlight, the affected skin does not go back to its normal or original coloration. The condition is treated in a manner similar to the one used to treat ringworm infestations. Another topical treatment for three or four days using an overnight application of a selenium sulfide shampoo, such as Selsum Blue, is also suggested as a treatment option.
Supplements and herbs
All sorts of skin conditions and infections of the skin can be treated through the use of balsam of Peru as a topical measure. The application of the balsam of Peru can be done by using the supplement full strength, or it can alternately be diluted with the oils of the olive, the almond, or with sesame oil. The solution can be used two or three times each day for a treatment regimen lasting two or three weeks. Ringworm can also be eliminated from the body by the use of a combination herbal formula of the Echinacea and goldenseal herbs along with the burdock root, this herbal combination will strengthen and boost the immune system of the person and give them every chance of recovery. Children can be given this a single dose of this combination formula containing Echinacea, goldenseal, and burdock thrice each day, for ten days at a single stretch.
For your attention: children must not be given Echinacea on a daily basis for more than ten days in a single dosage regimen as the herb tends to lose its potency if used for more than ten days at a stretch. Ringworm can also be effectively treated through the use of the tea tree oil, this botanical antifungal is one of the most powerful fungicide known from plant sources. Prepare the tea tree oil solution, by mixing eight to ten drops of the oil in a pint of spring or distilled water; this mixture can be applied directly onto the affected area till the time the rash disappears. The oil of the tea tree possesses turpentine like strong and penetrating odor.
Cassia tree (botanical name Cassia fistula) leaves are very effective for alleviating skin irritation and providing relief from the pain and swelling caused by ringworm. Applying the juice extracted from the leaves or a paste prepared from the leaves topically to the ringworm patches has a beneficial effect.
In addition, leaves of the herb holy basil (also called the sacred basil) are also effective for treating ringworm. The juice extracted from the leaves of this herb should be applied topically to the ringworm patches for relief.
Turmeric too is extremely useful for treating ringworm. You should apply the juice extracted from raw turmeric topically to the skin areas inflicted by ringworm. At the same time, you may blend one teaspoon of this juice with the same amount of honey and take it internally for relief from the bothersome symptoms of ringworm.
Aromatherapy is a wonderful way to treat ringworm. You may try using lavender essential oil to cure ringworm. This essential oil possesses anti-fungal, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory attributes and is effective for treating this fungal infection. Prepare a formula by adding lavender oil (one drop) to tea tree oil (two drops) and use it to massage the skin affected by ringworm two times every day.
Alternatively, you may also massage oil of oregano (four drops) on the skin area affected by ringworm twice or thrice daily. The oil of oregano possesses anti-parasitic, anti-viral, anti-fungal as well as anti-bacterial properties, which makes it a potent curative therapy for ringworm.
You may also try out peppermint oil to alleviate the problems associated with ringworm. It has been established that massaging the skin with peppermint oil helps to ease itching, and diminish irritation as well as inflammation. Rub some drops of this oil onto the ringworm gently, or blend peppermint oil with other essential oil and store the blended oil in a glass bottle having a dropper top.
Taking a hot bath with these essential oils may also prove to be beneficial for people with ringworm. Add one or more of the essential oils recommended above for curing ringworm and some natural sea salt to your hot bath water and soak yourself in it for 10 minutes or preferably more.
Additional things you may do
In addition to using conventional drugs, herbs, supplements, and aromatherapy, there are few other things that you can do to treat ringworm. In the beginning, the patient ought to take a diet comprising only fruits for five days or so. The patient ought to have just three meals every day and these should only comprise fresh and succulent fruits like apples, papayas, oranges, pomegranates and pineapples at intervals of five hours. Doing this will facilitate in getting rid of the toxic substances from the body and, at the same time, result in significant improvement in the patient’s condition. After taking an all-fruit diet for the first five days, the patient may take fruits along with uncooked or steamed vegetables without any salt and wheat tortilla prepared from whole-wheat. The patient may also incorporate milk and curd into his/ her diet after some days.
Subsequently, the patient may gradually start taking a properly balanced diet that should necessarily comprise wholegrain cereals, nuts, seeds, fresh fruits and raw or gently cooked vegetables. It is important for the patient to stay away from beverages like tea and coffee as well as all types of spicy and flavoured dishes. The patient should also avoid sugar, products made from white flour and all types of bottled and tinned foods.
Consumption of raw vegetable juice, particularly carrot juice blended with spinach juice, is known to be helpful in treating ringworm. Ideally, the proportions of juices in this preparation should be carrot juice (300 ml) and spinach juice (200 ml). This would make 0.5 litre or 500 ml of the juice blend, making it effective for ringworm treatment.
While the patient is taking the all-fruit diet, he/ she may also administer a warm-water enema with a view to rinse out the bowels. In addition, the patient should try and get the maximum possible fresh air and, at the same time, ensure that he/ she drinks lots of water and takes no less than two showers every day. The patient should also rub the skin, barring the areas affected by ringworm, vigorously using his/ her palms prior to taking bath every time.
Coconut oil is an excellent home remedy for ringworm. You may apply this oil to the skin areas affected by ringworm with a view to soften your skin as well as get relief from the symptoms of this fungal infection. You may also apply a gentle mudpack on the areas affected by ringworm. Applying this pack twice every day and allowing it to remain for at least 30 minutes each time will prove to be beneficial.
Other beneficial herbs