A bit of ajwain

Can cure ringworm infection

By Vibha Varshney
Published: Monday 15 September 2003

Ringworm causes itchy skin les

a commonly
used spice might be the wonder cure for ringworm infection. Researchers from the University of Rajasthan, Jaipur, have found that oil made of Trachyspermum ammi (ajwain) can effectively cure ringworm infections. Ringworm is a common fungal skin infection characterised by scaly, itchy lesions on the skin and scalp. The infection is difficult to cure. Allopathic drugs that prove effective are expensive and have side effects. Thus an ointment prepared from ajwain would be of immense help. " Ajwain's properties are such that it has no side effects," says M Sharma, a New Delhi-based ayurvedic physician.

The efficacy of ajwain oil was tested against four pathogens of ringworm -- Trichophyton rubrum, T simii, Chrysosprium indicum and C tropicum. The researchers poured the fungus on petri plates containing a nutritive medium on which the organisms could grow. They then placed filter paper treated with the oil in the centre of some plates. On others, they placed filter papers treated with griseofulvin -- an antibiotic commonly used for treating the infection. The petri plates were incubated at 37 c for two to three days. The researchers found that even the most diluted version (25 per cent of oil in a solution of acetone) of the oil inhibited fungus growth in the centre of the petri plates. In most cases the ajwain oil was observed to be much more effective than griseofulvin (see table: Tested and tried).

The researchers then tested an ointment consisting of one per cent or two per cent of the oil on 30 people suffering from ringworm infection. The medication was applied twice a day for three weeks. All the 30 patients recovered completely after the treatment. The ointment with more percentage of the oil was found to be effective. Meenakshi Sharma, who coordinated the research, says usage of the oil is likely to be cost-effective as it is required in very small quantities.

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