Ask any veterinarian: Ringworm is one of those infections considered to have no conventional cure. When cats are infected, they may be cleaned and washed and hopefully will repel the infection over time, but there is no known cure for the infection among conventional veterinarians.
In humans, applying antifungals repeatedly over months and months can effect a removal of the infection – but these will often take time. In some cases, powerful prescription antifungals are necessary, and they usually work, but they have been shown to exert considerable toxicity and possible resistance over time, and for these reasons the European Community has banned the use of most ringworm antifungals on sheep and other farm animals.
Over-the-counter antifungal creams advertised as useful for combating the infection also tend to be often ineffective, depending upon the species of infection. Whether this is because the Microsporum canis or Trichophyton mentagrophytes fungi – which produce dermatophytoses that infect the cells – have become resistant remains to be fully understood.
What is known by most veterinarians is that ringworm infections are so difficult to treat that they will often refuse to allow ringworm-infected animals into their clinics or treatment areas.
Does Nature provide Antifungals?
Yet researchers from the University of Pisa have found that certain essential oils can effectively treat and largely cure the ringworm infection. In one study they applied a mixture of essential oils to seven cats infected with ringworm. The mixture cured four of the seven cats completely and the others showed improvement.
The mixture was composed of 5% essential oil of Oregano (O. vulgare), 5% essential oil of Rosemary (R. officinalis) and 2% essential oil of Wild Thyme (Thymus serpyllum) – in a base of sweet almond oil.
The researchers also tested a number of essential oils against no less than eleven different isolated species of ringworm. They found that Wild Thyme and Oregano show the most inhibition of the ringworm fungi. Star anise (Illicium verum), Rosemary and lemon oil (Citrus limon) closely trailed those oils in their ability to stop the infection.
A more recent study at the University of Pisa studied the same essential oils for ringworm infections occurring in sheep – infected by Trichophyton mentagrophytes. The researchers applied the same combination of oils described above onto 13 ringworm-infected sheep. They applied the oil combination twice a day for 15 days. Seven untreated sheep acted as controls.
The mixture was successful in treating all of the infected sheep given the essential oil blend, while the infection among the control animals continued.
Other Studies Confirm These Oils’ Antifungal Actions
Other research has found that Oregano and Wild Thyme have antifungal effects in other areas. A number of studies have found Oregano and Rosemary oils useful in eliminating aflatoxins from harvested fruits and grains.
A species related to Wild Thyme – Thymus broussonetii – was found to inhibit candida in a study from Morroco’s University of Cadi Ayyad.
And In vitro and In vivo tests from Pakistan’s University of Karachi found that Oregano can inhibit urinary tract infections – many of which are fungal in nature.
Mother Nature’s Formulary
Thyme and Oregano share potent antifungal constituents, particularly thymol, which has been isolated and utilized as an antifungal in conventional medicines. Oregano oil contains from
40 to 64% thymol.
Natural Oregano oil was found in a 2012 assay to also contain p-cymene, terpinene, bicyclogermacrene, terpinen-4-ol, α-pinene, octenol, α-terpinene, carvacrol, β-caryophyllene, β-myrcene, terpinenol, octanol, β-pinene, cineole, α-cubebene and β-ocimene. How is that for one of Mother Nature’s recipes!
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Mugnaini L, Nardoni S, Pinto L, Pistelli L, Leonardi M, Pisseri F, Mancianti F. In vitro and in vivo antifungal activity of some essential oils against feline isolates of Microsporum canis. J Mycol Med. 2012 Jun;22(2):179-84.
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