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Will Shea Butter Fight Foot Fungus?

Using shea butter as a moisturizer can help heal a wide range of skin problems, including many that are triggered by fungal infections.

Athlete’s foot seems like a simple health condition, caused by an ordinary fungus. Most of the time that’s the case, but there may be several varieties of fungus at work in a bad case of athlete’s foot. Occasionally bacteria will get into the act as well. It is helpful to have an additional remedy that can help clean things up when necessary.

Q. I have used raw shea butter to deal with athlete’s foot as well as jock itch. I originally started using raw shea butter to help with plaque psoriasis, which I’ve had for over 39 years. It really works to eliminate the plaque buildup and reduce skin redness.

I also found that shea butter works on eczema and rosacea, which crop up most often in the winter months. Last but not least, it helps promote the healing process for cuts and scratches I get doing yard work.

A. We could find no clinical studies demonstrating the antifungal effectiveness of shea butter.  Research shows that it has anti-inflammatory activity, however, which might explain why it could help your psoriasis (Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Nov. 4, 2015; Pharmacognosy Research, Oct.-Dec., 2014).

Shea butter is derived from an African tree, Vitellaria paradoxa. Apparently it is used in many African countries for medicinal purposes (Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine, Feb. 19, 2015). It is a popular moisturizing ingredient by itself or in soaps or lotions.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.”.
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