How Was Ringworm Treated in Ancient Times?

Ringworm is a common fungal infection that affects the skin, nails, and scalp. It is caused by a group of fungi called dermatophytes, which feed on keratin – the protein found in skin, hair, and nails.

The symptoms of ringworm include red, scaly patches on the skin, itching, and hair loss. While modern medicine has several effective treatments for ringworm, have you ever wondered how this infection was treated in ancient times?

Ancient Egyptian Treatment for Ringworm

The ancient Egyptians were one of the first civilizations to document their medical practices. They believed that diseases were caused by natural factors such as insects or bad air.

Their treatment for ringworm involved using a combination of natural ingredients such as olive oil, honey, and myrrh. The affected area was cleaned with water and then rubbed with the mixture. This treatment was repeated several times until the infection disappeared.

Ancient Chinese Treatment for Ringworm

Traditional Chinese medicine has been around for over 2,000 years and is still widely practiced today. In ancient China, ringworm was treated with a combination of herbs such as Sophora flavescens root and Rhizoma coptidis.

These herbs were boiled in water to make a decoction which was then applied to the affected area. This treatment was said to have anti-inflammatory properties that helped reduce redness and itching.

Ancient Greek Treatment for Ringworm

The ancient Greeks believed that disease was caused by an imbalance in the body’s four humors – blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile. Their treatment for ringworm involved using a mixture of honey and vinegar which was applied to the affected area. They believed that this mixture would help restore balance to the body’s humors.


While modern medicine has come a long way in treating ringworm with antifungal creams and medications, it is fascinating to look back at how ancient civilizations treated this common infection. From natural ingredients to herbal remedies, these ancient treatments may not have been scientifically proven but they were certainly creative and resourceful. Today, if you suspect you have ringworm, it’s important to seek medical advice from a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.

  • Ancient Egyptian treatment for ringworm included olive oil, honey, and myrrh.
  • Ancient Chinese treatment for ringworm included herbs such as Sophora flavescens root and Rhizoma coptidis.
  • Ancient Greek treatment for ringworm involved a mixture of honey and vinegar.


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