Q: Sandal weather is on the way, so I am trying to treat my toenail fungus. I have been rubbing Vicks VapoRub all over my two big toenails and wrapping them in bandages for more than a month now.

The toenail on my right foot has a new nail growing under it. The left one is showing slight yellowing on one side.

This morning I poured cornmeal right out of the box into a shallow plastic tub and buried my feet in it. I felt like I was at a sandy beach. After watching TV and surfing the internet for an hour, I brushed most of the cornmeal off, but I left the powdery stuff on my toes. I put on fresh socks, sprinkled more cornmeal in my new walking shoes and walked the dog. When I got home, I forgot all about my toenails.

Later, I felt a snag in my sock and took my sock off and the top old dead nail just fell off! No pain, nothing. The new nail looks pretty good. I was surprised it worked this fast. My expectation was that I would use this method for several weeks before seeing any results. I think different methods work because there are different types of toenail fungus.

I will keep “soaking” my feet in dry cornmeal and sprinkling it in any shoes I’m wearing. It worked for me! My feet feel soft, too.

A: We appreciate your success story, although it is somewhat surprising. Other readers who have used cornmeal to treat nail fungus have made it into a warm mush first. One person wrote:


“To make the cornmeal soak, put about an inch of cornmeal in a shallow container that will just fit the affected foot.

“Carefully pour about an inch of warm (not hot) water on top of the cornmeal and let it sit for an hour, so the water and cornmeal can combine naturally. After an hour, add enough additional warm water to cover the foot and soak for an hour.

“The mush must cover the whole area, not just the toenails, because fungus thrives everywhere on the toes, especially between them. After an hour, rinse the mush off with warm water and pat the foot dry with a clean towel. Soak the toenails once a week until the fungus clears up.”

Possibly, your weeks of diligent Vicks VapoRub application contributed to the infected nail coming off so easily. Some people find this alarming, and not all fungus-infected toenails respond in this way. As you note, there are different types of fungus.

To learn about this and other kitchen table cures for nail fungus, you may wish to consult our book “Quick & Handy Home Remedies.” Look for it in your library or online at peoplespharmacy.com.

Q: Has anybody ever told you that going gluten-free helped their arthritis? Both my husband and I got this benefit.


About 20 years ago, before gluten was a “thing,” I was trying to boost my energy. I went on a diet eliminating all dairy, legumes and grains. After about three weeks, my energy was only a little better, but I realized that my hands no longer hurt. My husband had been having painful joints in his hands too, so he eliminated all three foods and his hands got better as well.

We then experimented by adding back certain foods one by one, and we found that it was the gluten-containing grains alone that caused our pain. After many years of strict avoidance, we find that we can now enjoy a slice or two of good-quality bread occasionally without repercussions.

A: Two conditions might be relevant in your case. The first is celiac disease. People with this autoimmune disorder cannot tolerate gluten at all. You and your husband should be tested, but the test works best after several weeks eating gluten-containing foods.

The second condition is non-celiac gluten sensitivity, which can cause joint pain as well as many other symptoms (Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism, Nov. 26, 2015). Your strategy is perfect for this type of problem.