Home Remedies for Jock Itch

Tinea cruris, also called “jock itch,” is a fungal infection of the groin area by dermatophytes, a group of fungi that also cause ringworm and athlete’s foot. T. rubrum and epidermophyton floccosum are generally the dermatophytes involved in a jock itch infection. The fungus spreads either through person-to-person contact, through contact with an infected item such as a towel, or through self-inoculation. It is not uncommon for a person with athlete’s foot to also have jock itch and when that occurs, both outbreaks should be treated simultaneously.

Garlic

“The Journal of Family Practice” reports studies using alternative treatments for jock itch. In one study, ajoene, extracted from garlic, was compared to terbinafine, the active ingredient in some over-the-counter jock itch cures. Sixty Venezuelan army soldiers took part in the randomized clinical trial. After two weeks of applying either ajoene or terbinafine, twice daily, to the infected area, the 73 percent of the ajoene-treated soldiers showed no symptoms of jock itch as compared to 71 percent in the terbinafine group. In her book, “Herbs Demystified: A Scientist Explains How the Most Common Herbal Remedies Really Work,” author, Dr. Holly Phaneuf, discusses this study and reports that ajoene is an oily molecule that is abundant in chopped garlic. In a home remedy, garlic is pounded into a paste, either using a mortar and pestle, or with a food blender and applied, as a poultice, to the infected area.

In his book, “New Choices in Natural Healing,” author Bill Gottlieb quotes Dr. Julian Whitaker, of the Whitaker Wellness Center in California, as promoting the daily consumption of raw garlic at the first sign of jock itch. Mr. Gottlieb points out, however, that raw garlic can cause stomach upset in some people and quotes pharmacist Earl Mindell as suggesting that, instead of eating raw garlic, taking a garlic supplement with every meal should suffice.

Honey-Beeswax-Olive Oil

In another study reported by “The Journal of Family Practice,” 14 patients with jock itch applied a mixture of equal parts honey, beeswax and olive oil, to the infection site three times daily for three weeks. In that study, 71 percent of the patients were cured, likely “due to honey’s inhibitory effect on fungus and beeswax’s anti-inflammatory properties.”

Tea Tree Oil

Dermatech RX recommends adding a few drops of tea tree oil to a small amount of water to make a rinse for use after thoroughly washing the infected area with soap and water. Alternatively, the tea tree oil can be added to shampoo or body wash and applied to the area. Further, a number of tea tree oil products are available in health food stores for treating fungal infections. Rocky Mountain Oils recommends the following tea tree oil treatment: Add 2 drops of tea tree oil to a bowl of warm water. Use this to wash the area thoroughly. After that, combine 1 drop of tea tree oil with 1 tsp. fractionated coconut oil. Apply the mixture to the infected area morning and night for 5 days

About this Author

Katherine Mariaca is a professional freelance journalist who specializes in alternative and complementary medicine, and skin and body care treatments. A longtime spa director and VP of skin care companies, Mariaca developed products and services for the spa industry. She earned a B.S. from Tufts and an M.F.A. from Lesley.