Does Cornmeal Mush for Toenail Fungus Work? Is It a Myth?
Cornmeal is a popular treatment for the toenail fungus condition. This is somewhat surprising as there has been no scientific research into its efficacy. However, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest that it is nevertheless an effective treatment.
Cornmeal is made from dried maize and is used for cooking in many cultures around the world. However, it is claimed to have antifungal properties too. This means in theory it can penetrate the nail and kill the onychomycosis fungus.
In this article we look at cornmeal mush as an option for removing toenail fungus. We’ll also provide a step-by-step guide on how to apply it and guidance on how long it takes to work. Read on to find out more about if it really does get results.
Table of Contents:
The Origins of Cornmeal Mush for Toenail Fungus
The origins of this controversial treatment appear to lie in the Chicago Tribune. An article appeared in the news source claiming that this staple food item actually had one more use. Namely, that it could “cure” the notoriously difficult to remove toenail fungus.
Since then, there has been plenty of anecdotal evidence from enthusiastic cornmeal mush advocates. Many popular internet sites are full of people swearing that it works. Many of these people have also unsuccessfully tried other treatments.
There are plenty of reasons that people are happy to try cornmeal mush as a toenail fungus treatment. These include:
- Cornmeal is affordable and easily accessible. It can be found in most stores.
- It is safe to use as a treatment, with no risk of damaging or irritating your skin.
- As a food product, it is non-toxic and totally harmless. Contrast this with prescription medications, that can can liver damage.
There is no scientific evidence to suggest that cornmeal mush works. However, can it really be a coincidence that so many people have seen positive effects? Can they all be wrong?
Toenail fungus – a Definition
Toenail fungus is a fungal infection, otherwise known as onychomycosis. It affects many people, especially the elderly. The infection manifests in a number of symptoms:
- A thick, yellow toe nail
- Soreness around the toenail
- Raising of the toenail from the nail bed
- In severe cases, the toenail will fall off completely
What is Cornmeal?
It is made from dried maize. Maize is a grain that is the basis of corn on the cob, popcorn and other corns. The maize is ground down into a fine powder to create cornmeal.
- Fact: maize was first cultivated in Mexico more than 10,000 years ago.
As a fine powder, cornmeal can be soaked and mixed in water. This creates cornmeal mash – a thick paste that can be applied to the toes and feet.
Cornmeal’s Antifungal Properties
Cornmeal is said to have natural anti-fungal properties, much like tea tree oil. It has commonly been used by gardeners to remove unwanted fungus on flowerbeds and lawns. And it appears to fight toenail fungus equally well.
Many advocates claim that cornmeal mush alleviates the pain and discomfort of nail fungus. With extended use, it is claimed to be able to penetrate the nail and fight the fungus directly. This allows fresh, uninfected nails to grow.
How Do You Apply Cornmeal to Toenail Fungus?
Rather than buying maize and drying and grounding it yourself, most people choose to buy cornmeal directly from a local store. Organic cornmeal is particularly popular for its lack of impurities. However, it may be more expensive than regular cornmeal.
The best way to treat toenail with fungus with cornmeal mush is as follows:
- Step 1: Pour a thick layer of around an inch into a shallow container. Then, pour an inch of warm water over the cornmeal and leave it to sit for around an hour. This gives the cornmeal mush plenty of time to combine.
- Step 2: Afterwards, add enough water to completely submerge your foot. You can then step into the container and let your foot soak for a further hour.
- Step 3: The whole foot should be submerged, rather than just the toes. This is because the fungus can spread and thrive between the toes, rather than remaining only the nail.
- Step 4: After an hour, rinse off your foot with warm water and pat the foot dry with a clean towel. This step is essential as wet feet can encourage further fungal growth.
How Long Does the Treatment Take?
There are different opinions over how often you should soak your feet in cornmeal mush. Some people suggest a daily soak, others recommend once a week. Your preference will depend on how bad your toenail fungus is and how much free time you have.
Either way, you should repeat the treatment as often as is necessary for you to see results. Toenail fungus can be notoriously difficult to overcome, so this could take quite some time. And remember, there is no scientific basis for cornmeal mush so it may not work.
Here’s some other foot soaks that may be of interest:
Other Remedies for Toenail Fungus
Toenail fungus is a common ailment that affects many of us. It generally becomes more prevalent as we get older and our toe nails grow more slowly.
- Fact: According to the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society, more than 75% of the over-70s population suffers from toenail fungus!
Perhaps this is why there are so many recommended treatments. Alongside cornmeal mush, dozens of other natural and synthetic treatments are popular among Americans. Some of the more commonly known treatments include:
- Apple cider vinegar
- Tea tree oil mixed with olive oil
- Mouthwashes such as Listerine
- Prescription toenail fungus medications
Does It Really Work?
It is difficult to find a clear verdict. There is a lack of evidence in peer-reviewed scientific journals that cornmeal mush is an effective treatment. However, maize does have natural anti-fungal properties – which would suggest that it does.
Furthermore, the testimonies of thousands of Americans would suggest a resounding ‘yes’. It is possible that there simply hasn’t been any scientific research into cornmeal mush as a toenail fungus treatment. However, if your toenail fungus persists then you should find out more about a PROVEN over-the-counter treatment.