Q. I clipped your article on a cornmeal cure for nail fungus but mislaid it. Not knowing the proportions, I cooked some up and soaked my nails. Even done wrong, it helped mightily. Please forward the correct recipe, which my doctor and his nurse also want.
A. A listener to our public radio show shared the following remedy for nail fungus: “Put about an inch of cornmeal in a plastic dishpan. Pour in hot water, stir it so the cornmeal gets dissolved and when it is cool enough not to hurt, soak your feet for an hour. Done regularly, this will get rid of the fungus.”
There is no scientific data to suggest this recipe works, but gardeners report that sprinkling cornmeal around roses may discourage black spot fungus.

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  1. Karen
    Reply

    Also, your shoes can re-infect your nails. Washing them in hot water in the washing machine or putting corn meal in your shoes may kill the fungus.

  2. KC
    Reply

    I have found that lavender oil ($10) used externally and olive leaf extract ($20) taken internally both work well together for fungal infections. Treatment for fungal infections can last for 2-3 months, these are safe and low cost treatments. My large dog has had his fungal problem reoccur for years, following heavy antibiotic usage. I was not aware antibiotics and antiparasitics should be followed up with probiotics. The probiotic treatment needs to be for 3 months, have several billion bacteria and be kept refrigerated. If it was not refrigerated at purchase, the bacteria may be diminished.
    Since I added the probiotics he is much more comfortable. Do not take the olive leaf extract and the probiotics at the same time. Olive leaf extract needs to be taken in the morning and probiotics in the evening or they will not be as effective. Fungal infections are slow to heal and must be continued until well after you are feeling comfortable or they reoccur.

  3. gracie
    Reply

    I had a dark spot under one of my big toes and a yellow-ish crumbling nail since about 1992. Sometimes the crumbling of the nail would improve, but it would always come back and the dark spot under my nail was always there. Coupled with that, I had what I thought was an awful case of moccasin-type athlete’s food.
    I read about using cornmeal mush for both nail and foot fungus and gave it a try.
    My nail fungus is completely gone. The dark spot is gone and my toe nail has never looked better. It is now white and does not crumble when I trim it.
    I soaked my foot in the mush 3x week for about 15 minutes for about 3 weeks. I know there’s a big debate about what type of cornmeal to use. I used yellow degerminated cornmeal you find at the grocery store (5lb bag for about $3-$4). I also bought organic whole cornmeal at the health food store. To tell you the truth, I think the yellow degerminated (processed) cornmeal worked the best for me.
    I also need to add that on days I didn’t soak in the mush, I soaked my foot in a solution of water and baking soda.
    This worked like a charm on my toe. It’s been about three months and my toe still looks great.
    And while it did help improve my feet, it did not cure it and it came back. However, I have since learned that I do not have moccasin-type athlete’s foot, but rather hyperhydrosis. The dermatologist says it will never go away and all I can do is control it. Putting Neem oil on at night and then putting on cotton socks is helping a lot with the drying and flaking skin associated with that.
    As for the recipe, I don’t think there is one. I used a long storage bread pan -shaped container. I poured about 1-2-3 inches of cornmeal in it and then added hot water until it became like a porridge or like cream of wheat. I let it sit for about 15 minutes. The mixture will expand. Then I added more hot water to get it back to the porridge consistency. Then soak. A tip is place the mixture on a towel to catch spills and to rest your foot when you take it out of the mush. I also kept another container with warm water nearby, to rinse my foot after I soaked.
    After you’re done, I would not wash the mush down the sink. It’d be like pouring coffee grounds straight down the sink. I strained it outside, letting the water go on the grass. I then bagged up and tossed the solid cornmeal.

  4. m. brown
    Reply

    I called a local store and was told they can order corn gluten, which is just the tip of the corn in a 50lb bag. Will this work or do I need corn meal? There are expiration dates on the cornmeal used for cooking. Please advise. Thanks
    People’s Pharmacy Response: Corn gluten should do the trick, but you shouldn’t need 50 pounds! Can you find someone to share it with?
    Here’s a link: http://www.dirtdoctor.com/newforum/root/corn-gluten-meal-for-toenail-fungus-t2437.html

  5. GoatDriver04
    Reply

    1. DO NOT use the same tools for the fingers and toes, as clippers, files, picks.
    2. DO NOT pass the nail tools around to other members in the family, same as you treat your toothbrush. Nail fungus dust stays on the tools and will jump off at next user.
    3. When using the dremal tool sanding barrel, always ware latex gloves and sand the nails outside so the contaminated dust will not stay in the house to infect others.
    Remove gloves carefully and wash hands, arms till free of dust.
    I’ve had toe fungus for 20 years and just heard about the ‘corn meal’ way.
    Tried OTC remedies with no good results. I’m on to the corn meal remedy today.

  6. Antropia L.
    Reply

    Wow! I knew cornmeal is excellent for reducing oily flaky skin when used as a scrub, but I had no idea it served this purpose. What ingredient in the cornmeal is responsible for eliminating fungus? Thanks for the tip.

  7. C
    Reply

    “Put about an inch of cornmeal in a plastic dishpan. Pour in hot water, stir it so the cornmeal gets dissolved and when it is cool enough not to hurt, soak your feet for an hour. Done regularly, this will get rid of the fungus.”

  8. sep
    Reply

    So, where is the recipe?

  9. Bill H.
    Reply

    All kidding aside, it appears that there are many home remedies for this problem. The best part is that none of them will destroy your liver like the prescription medicines will.

  10. CK
    Reply

    I find that most of these suggestions do not give you full information. If there is only one affected nail, do you soak the entire foot or just the affected toe? Once the one hour of soaking is over do you rinse and dry? Do you soak on a daily basis? How long does it take to clear up the condition? I’d appreciate your comments.
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: IF YOU COULD SOAK ONLY THE AFFECTED TOE, THAT WOULD WORK. MOST PEOPLE FIND IT EASIER TO SOAK THE WHOLE FOOT.
    THERE IS A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF VARIABILITY IN RESPONSE TO HOME REMEDIES. SOME PEOPLE SOAK EVERY DAY; OTHERS ONLY TAKE TIME A FEW TIMES A WEEK. THE RESPONSE TIME ALSO VARIES, WITH SOME REPORTING SUCCESS WITHIN TWO OR THREE WEEKS AND MOST REQUIRING SEVERAL MONTHS. TOENAILS GROW SLOWLY.

  11. Dean
    Reply

    The picture of cornmeal you show says, “white corn meal.” My podiatrist said specifically to use yellow corn meal. I didn’t ask why. Has anyone else heard this?

  12. DAN R.
    Reply

    Sitting around for an hour with your tootsies in a dishpan might not appeal to some people. How about high top rubber boots with the cornmeal slurry in them? The user could then walk around and do things, all the while sloshing his or her feet in the slurry and working the slurry into and around the infected nails.
    Such cornmeal slurry boots might even be patentable, Joe and Terri!
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: AN INTRIGUING SUGGESTION!

  13. RMD
    Reply

    What the heck, it’s worth a try, and if it doesn’t work you can always make Corn Muffins.

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