Q. Do you have any home remedies for athlete’s foot? I have been using over-the-counter antifungal creams with marginal success. If I wear nylons, I have an outbreak almost immediately.
A. Home remedies are rarely tested in a head-to-head manner against FDA-approved medications. Back in November 2000, however, the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology published a study comparing the active ingredient from garlic (ajoene) to topical terbinafine (Lamisil).
The study subjects were Venezuelan soldiers with athlete’s foot. They were randomly assigned to apply 0.6 percent (low-dose) ajoene, 1 percent (high-dose) ajoene or 1 percent terbinafine to their feet twice daily for a week. Two months later, three-fourths of those who had used low-dose ajoene and 100 percent of those on high-dose ajoene were still clear of athlete’s foot. For comparison, 94 percent of those who had used terbinafine were clear.
You can’t go out and buy high-dose ajoene, but you can soak crushed or minced garlic in olive oil and apply that to your feet. A few people may be allergic to topical garlic and develop a rash, so be alert.