Q. I remember reading in one of your columns that soaking your toes in corn meal will get rid of toenail fungus. I have very bad toe fungus from years of competitive tennis and I would love to get rid of it.
My toenails are ugly. I tried taking Lamisil but had a bad reaction to it, so I stopped. Could you please tell me how to use the corn meal?
Melanie, in Long Beach, CA.

A. We have heard from many visitors to this website that cornmeal is surprisingly effective against nail fungus. Since this is a home remedy there are no clear cut instructions. Some people suggest adding one part cornmeal to two parts warm water in a foot bath. Soak your tootsies (or fingernails) for roughly half an hour. Some say to do this once a week for a couple of months. Others say to soak nails every other day for a month.
We will share some stories from readers and let you give it a go based on your own schedule. We would love to hear back from you about how well it works.
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“I had a mild, annoying case of toenail fungus and read about using cornmeal to treat it. I mixed a cup of whole-grain cornmeal in very warm water and soaked my toes for about a half hour. I did that for a month or so, and, lo and behold, some months later the fungus started to disappear.
“I’d had that fungus for many years, so it wasn’t any lifestyle change that caused it to go away. There must be something in the cornmeal grain that attacks the fungus.”

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“As a child I lived on a ranch in Oklahoma and went barefooted most of the time except for school. Needless to say, I had tonenail fungus.
“The doctor tool my toenail off and scraped the fungus off with me screaming. This was repeated well into my 50s. Then I head about cornmeal. I immediately got some plain old yellow cornmeal from the grocery store. You know the kind that you make cornbread with. I put ΒΌ cup of it in lukewarm water since cold water puts it to sleep and hot water kills it.
“I soaked my feet 30 minutes twice a week and by the third week my nails were already on the road to healthy. I now go for years without having to use the ‘cure’ but at the first signs of fungus I do not hesitate to grab my yellow cornmeal.”

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“The real cure for nail fungus IS the cornmeal.
“The reason being?: Cornmeal has a natural fungus in it that is ravenous for toenail fungus, with no interest whatsoever in the keratin of the nail.
“You put some cornmeal in your palm and add water, then apply it on an infected nail.
Let it soak for 1 hour for 10 days.
“My experience: I felt something happening after about 30 minutes. After 3 days of the program, the bent-up nails relaxed and became normal in shape. By the tenth day, there was a slight blackening in places, with clear new nail material growing-in. The nail then crumbled right off where it was blackened. The exposed nail bed was not sensitive. In about two months I will have brand new normal nails.
“This is the real deal, and it’s understandable why. The cornmeal fungus is as ravenous for toenail fungus as a seal is for fish.”

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Anyone who would like to know more about getting rid of nail fungus with other remedies may find our book, The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies, useful. (Take advantage of our special offer and get a copy of Recipes and Remedies from The People’s Pharmacy for FREE!) The 264-page Quick & Handy book provides details on Listerine and vinegar soaks, Vicks VapoRub, dandruff shampoo, hydrogen peroxide, iodine, tea tree oil or urine soaks. You can also find hundreds of other home remedies for a variety of ailments in our Home Remedy Library on this website.

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  1. Mark
    Reply

    Did it work for you?

  2. Gary
    Reply

    My Doctor recommended the corn meal treatment, but said not to use grocery store corn meal because it has been processed. Buy it from a feed store because it isn’t processed corn meal. You can buy about 20 pounds for $15.
    There are three adults in our family that have had chronic toenail fungus for years. A 30-minute foot bath for three weeks will do the job. I even found a corn meal mixture with other herbs that the feed store had that they said has worked for many. It was more expensive than the corn meal though.

  3. Terri
    Reply

    Do you have to start over with the mixture each time you do the soak or can you re-use the water/cornmeal mixture?

  4. Nancy
    Reply

    Yes, this woks and I’m proof! Don’t waste money on the junk at the drug stores. Just try it, you will be amazed.

  5. JM
    Reply

    Does it matter what kind of cornmeal yellow or white?

  6. LFM
    Reply

    I think cotton wool is another name for a cotton ball. Ask at drug store in first aid aisle or (cheaper) the cosmetic aisle.

  7. LJB
    Reply

    I was unfortunately introduced to toe nail fungus several years ago and have tried many remedies with no success. Then I remembered that I had GSE (Grapefruit Seed Extract) in my cabinet. Under the product label were instructions to treat many ailments including toe fungus. The instructions used 1 ounce of isoprol alcohol and 5-10 drops of GSE. This is applied to the entire toe nail and qtips are recommended to apply under the toe nail. Results can be seen in less than 2 weeks with twice daily treatments. There is also a tablet form of GSE that can help speed up the healing from the inside. GSE appears to be anti-bacerial, anti-fungal and anti-viral.

  8. GEM
    Reply

    Does this treatment also work for fingernails?
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: It should.

  9. Anonymous
    Reply

    Does the cornmeal treatment for toenails also work for finger nails?

  10. PAO
    Reply

    What kind of vinegar? White, red??? And where did you find a cotton and wool fabric to wrap it in?

  11. vicky
    Reply

    I had nail fungus in one big toe nail for 2 years and began wrapping it in white vinegar soaked cotton wool and in less than a month the new nail has been growing clear of fungus.

  12. Naomi B.
    Reply

    I’ve tried so many others, I’m going to give this a shot. Sticking the toes into a whole lemon worked but it’s messy and my tree is out of yellow lemons now so, corn meal, here we come !
    Thanks

  13. Col Yogurt
    Reply

    I also had a toenail fungus that didn’t respond to all the OTC choices. After several years, I painted vodka on and under the nail every night before bed and in the morning after a shower. Unbelievably, it took 8 months for a new nail to grow in and its been perfect for over two years now. Haven’t used the vodka treatment for two years.

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