a bag of cornmeal

Q. You have written about using cornmeal for toenail fungus. According to Bob Webster, a South Texas gardening expert, the reason ground cornmeal works against fungus (including grass fungus as well as foot fungus) is because a fungus called Trichoderma grows on cornmeal.

Trichoderma attacks and destroys other non-beneficial fungi. Bob Webster recommends covering the fungus-affected area with cornmeal paste for one hour each day for 7 to 10 days. It works!

A. We’ve always wondered why cornmeal might fight nail fungus and are grateful for the explanation. There are more than 80 species of Trichoderma; the one used to control fungi that attack plants is T. harzianum. It grows especially well on cornmeal.

We offer other home remedies for nail fungus in our Guide to Hair and Nail Care.

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  1. kathy
    United States

    Has anyone tried cornmeal mixed with Vicks Vapor Rub, rather than petroleum jelly??

  2. GMS

    @idumea: Your post sent me on an online search for Aspercreme. Turns out there are variations. One has menthol, others have other formulations… can you post more info about the one you used? Thanks!

  3. idumea

    My two large big toes had a fungus for the last five years. My doctor prescribed a nail fungus medicine (cream)that the cost was to high, I did not have it refilled, plus it not not cure my nail fungus. My mom ninety three years old told me to use Aspercreme and to file my nails down as often as possible.
    I started using the cream morning and night. My nails are so healthy looking the Doctor still believes I am using the cream she prescribed. Aspercreme is cheap I buy the 5 oz size at Costco for $6.75 and it last about six months or more.

  4. TB

    Tea tree oil will also stop toe nail fungus. I have used it several times and it has worked for me. Twice a day paint the affected toe nail with the tea tree oil. Most health food stores and places that sell vitamins sell it.

  5. Nellie

    Here’s an idea some may find useful… cut the thumb off a surgical type glove. Put in a little cornmeal and a little warm water. This will fit nicely over (most) big toes where the fungus often is found. Keep the treatment on for as long as you like, socks or not. The neat thing about the cornmeal versus Vicks is that you will see an immediate effect. The nail will be lighter in color.

  6. Kathryn

    Cornmeal for Toenail Fungus
    Read the article with great interest; I have been spraying my toes with vinegar and wearing wool socks. I feel the wool socks help by keeping my feet dry and do not provide an environment to “feed the fungus” The only time the fungus has made a comeback hes been when I put on non-wool socks and sport shoes right after taking a shower (my fault). Has anyone else tried wearing wool socks?

  7. Marv

    I tried Vapo-Rub without any improvement and have used Tea Tree oil for over a year without any results. I’m about ready to rip off the ugly nails (both big toes) but will try Epsom salts and vinegar. Guess there are worse things that can happen to well worn feet.

  8. Dan

    jg answered my question — I hope. After I made a poultice with meal and water, I wondered how to keep it on my toes after painting them with it. I’ll try jg’s “put on your socks” solution.

  9. Susan P.

    And how would you know your cornmeal has the fungus?

  10. JJS

    Following up on RST’s comment, Mr. Webster says that the beneficial fungus grows on the cornmeal. Can we then assume that the corn meal we purchase already has this fungus growing on it?

  11. ebm

    this fungus might explain why so many people are allergic to corn???? And maybe that’s
    the culprit in expired cake mixes that can make one really ill.

  12. RST

    Is this beneficial fungus inherent in cornmeal, or do you have to do something to encourage its growth before applying it to the nail fungus?

  13. LJG

    I have also used mentholatum on my foot nail fungus. It works, too!!!!! had tried the tea tree oil for about six months, but it barely made a dent in the problem (plus the odor lingered too long!). I have one nail that is almost healed with vicks vaporub…. applied at bedtime. Plan to try the cornmeal if I have the problem again. Bet the odor of the cornmeal treatment would be less pungent.
    It takes almost a year to see total healing, though, so don’t give up!!!

  14. jg

    while cornmeal works, to sit for an hour with a poultice on your feet works for some, most of us cannot wait for an hour sitting around. Vapo-Rub works After you put it on your toes, put on socks or stockings and go about your business, or if at bedtime, socks, and beddy bye.

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