thymol, natural cough syrup, cough and cold relief

Athlete’s foot is caused by a fungal infection of the skin on the feet. The redness, itching, peeling and burning can be most uncomfortable. There are numerous over-the-counter medications that can help discourage the fungus that is responsible. But sometimes people find other simple approaches that can help, as this person did. Thymol, found in a number of herbs, overcame an athlete’s foot infection.

Thymol to Fight Fungus:

Q. I listened to a radio program in which you mentioned thymol as a very effective fungicide. I noticed that thymol was the active agent in Seventh Generation Disinfecting Wipes.

Since I was having early symptoms of athlete’s foot, I used one of the wipes on my feet after showering. Within four days all my symptoms were gone. This is the best cure I’ve found. It’s low cost and it smells good too!

A. Thymol is an essential oil from the culinary herb thyme. It has antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial activity (Journal of Medicinal Food, Nov., 2016; BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Aug. 30, 2016).

This natural compound is an important ingredient in both old-fashioned amber Listerine mouthwash and Vicks VapoRub. That may explain why many people find those products helpful against fungal infections. Thank you for sharing your success story.

Learning More:

Thymol is found in many herbs such as basil and oregano as well as thyme (Food Chemistry, Nov. 1, 2016). In addition to fighting off fungi and bacteria, thyme has been used to treat coughs, colds and other common ailments. You can learn more about using common culinary herbs to stay healthy in our new book, Spice Up Your Health: How Everyday Kitchen Herbs & Spices Can Lengthen & Strengthen Your Life.


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  1. Scott M.
    Elgin, IL

    What is the actual product name, with Thymol in it, used to treat athlete’s foot?

  2. Mary

    I used just regular Apple Cider Vinegar. Stinks like the heck. But after a few days the infection is gone.

  3. Frances
    Chapel Hill NC

    As a child I had chronic bronchitis and the only thing that worked to calm my cough and hasten its departure was a cough syrup called Pertussin, based on thymol. Many decades later I was in the Amsterdam airport with a hideous chest cold and bought a cough syrup recommended by the clerk – it tasted exactly like the old Pertussin and worked just as well. I wish someone in this country would bring this back!

  4. Bob

    I wonder if it would work for toenail fungus?

  5. LynneB

    Is Thymol safe for breast-feeding mothers?

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