Nature against dermatomycosis

MUDr. Karel Mencl, CSc.
Laboratory of Medical Mycology
Dept. of Microbiology, Pardubice Hospital
Pardubice, Czech Republic

MUDr. David Stuchlík
Dermatological-Veneorological Department


Pythium oligandrum is a dermatophyte fungus tested on its efficacy in the supression of Tinea skin infections in human feet. Its efficacy was evaluated in 69 patients. In every patient was done the mycological examination of the scale from interdigital space as well as nails. The most frequent infectious agents were Trichophyton rubrum (17,4%) and Trichophyton mentagrophytes (8,7%). Only patients with a positive lab test of dermatomycosis entered the trial. 56% of patients required microscopical confirmation of the diagnosis. Evaluation of efficacy was one month after initial aplication of the Pythium oligandrum. Odorous (smell) symptoms were eliminated in 78,6% of patients (n=42), improvement occured in 19% of patients. The Pythium oligandrum was without any effect in one single patient (2,4%). Hyperhidrosis was eliminated in 67,4% (n=43), improved in 27,9% and without any change in 4,7% patients. In case of Tinea pedis and Tinea interdigitalis, the symptoms of the disease were eliminated in 82,8% of patients (n=58) and improved in 17,2% of cases. The effect of the Pythium oligandrum on Onychomycosis (nail fungus) was evaluated as subjective improvement of the disease, growing of healthy nail and improvement of patients' compliance. This positive effect was observed in 72,9% of patients (n=59) with Onychomycosis. There was no improvement in 27,1% of patients. During the treatment with Pythium oligandrum there were no negative side effects.


Our attitude to health problems and the way we deal with them often does not reflect the fact that we are a part of nature. We originated from nature and still can rely on her as our powerful ally, regardless of the fact that we have been doing our best to destroy her. Very often it is quite enough just to copy the mechanisms that nature created thousands of years ago and has developed and improved over centuries. This is also the case of myco-parasitic fungi, which may apparently be used as a natural method of eliminating dermatomycoses of the feet.

Waiting rooms of dermatologists are still full of patients suffering from dermatological diseases caused by microscopic fungi, in spite of the fact that their significance has lately been slightly overshadowed by the much more serious opportune mycotic infections that cause organ and systemic diseases and their malign activities in tissues and organs, endangering the lives of the affected patients. These infections are undoubtedly very serious, but we should not neglect our skin either, because it is also an important human organ.

Most dermamycoses affect lower limbs and extremities, namely as mycoses of interdigital spaces (Tinea interdigitalis) and nails (Onychomycosis, Tinea Unguium). The neglected or overlooked mycosis of interdigital spaces is in fact the most frequent origin of the infection of toenails, in epidemiological terms. The disease itself belongs to the category of contact diseases. Men are most likely to catch this disease when they are in the military service, other people might be infected by wearing someone else’s shoes, from a mat in a shared washroom or shower room, in swimming pools etc. Places of infection include swimming pools, saunas and other sport facilities. We should bear in mind the fact that even a heated sauna does not necessarily guarantee a clean and healthy environment, free of mycological infection.

Foot skin disease is catalysed mainly by wearing waterproof or badly ventilating shoes, by foot perspiration and insufficient foot care. Warm moisture macerates the skin, which subsequently becomes more sensitive to minor trauma. This environment also enables the further proliferation of microbial microbial flora, especially Gram-negative bacteria. The whole process, apart from the unpleasant odour, also prepares suitable environment for the subsequent takeover by microscopic fungi. If you underestimate the process at such an early stage, the infection may subsequently spread to the nail disks as well.

Pythium oligandrum

I have been working in the field of medical mycology for more than 20 years and over these years I have become almost obsessed with this issue. I was therefore interested in the annotation of a generally available cosmetic biological agent which caught my eye in one pharmacy and which claimed that the preparation was able to successfully eliminate odorous symptoms and feet fungi. Ever since my military service I have suffered from recurring interdigital mycosis triggered by foot perspiration. I get rid of the mycosis by means of various local anti-mycotic preparations. At that time I was just suffering from one of the recurring mycoses, which is why I decided to try this bio-preparation. All went without complications and with superb effect.

The tested preparation consists of an original composition of microorganisms, dominated by a micromycet belonging to the Chromista-Stramenopila family, which has myco-parasitic impact on other microscopic fungi, such as Trichophyton rubrum, Scopulariopsis brevicaulis, Candida albicans etc. and feeds the nutritious substrate of these fungi by penetrating into their fibres and cells with its parasitic hyphas and drains nitrogen, carbon and also the sterols needed for its own reproduction process. This is the mechanism by means of which the ”vampire fungus" exhausts the dermatoparasitic fungus. The parasitic fungus subsequently ceases to spread in the skin and the first symptom of the skin disease that is eliminated is the unpleasant itching. By weakening the parasitic fungus the Pythium oligandrum enables the organism to activate its own immunity mechanisms and the spontaneous exfoliation of keratin from the skin gradually removes the last remaining bits of mycotic infection. In the meantime, a dessicant in the commercially available preparation of Pythium oligandrum help desiccate the interdigital spaces by suppressing their perspiration. The ingredients of the bio-preparation thus gradually dislodge the pathogenic mycoflora from the interdigital spaces by competing for their food and space. When the ”vampire fungus” has used up all the available nutrition, it disappears from the locality and makes it possible for a new, healthy microflora to take over.

Practical experience with the application of Pythium oligandrum

All of the monitored respondents had been suffering from mycosis of feet (confirmed by laboratory tests) and the trials were done under the professional scrutiny of several Czech dermatologists. The resulting data provided the basis for this article.

The monitored patients (n = 69) applied the Pythium oligandrum preparation with added silica desiccant to the affected parts of their feet, according to the instructions in the enclosed leaflet. The recommended application of the preparation was either a feet bath or a poultice. The feet baths in a suspension of the preparation should be taken for 30 minutes for two subsequent days approx. 24 hours apart, and this pattern should be repeated after one week, and again after one week. If the treatment is aimed at curing nail fungus, then this procedure was combined with an overnight poultice applied in regular intervals. A thicker kind of suspension is to be used for the poultice.

The age of the monitored patients is stated in Figure 1, the youngest patient was 19, and the oldest 77 years old.

Figure 1. List of monitored patients treated with Pythium oligandrum

Age category (years)

Number of treated patients

19 - 30


31 - 40


41 - 50


51 - 60


61 - 70


71 - 77


(n = 43), odorous symptoms (n = 42), Tinea pedis or Tinea interdigitalis (n = 57), or Onychomycosis (n = 59). These disorders were very frequently combined. All 69 monitored people were subjected to a laboratory examination aimed at finding microscopic fungi in the affected areas, and a positive result of this examination (i.e. the occurrence of the fungi) was the precondition for enrolling them in the trial.

Figure 2.  Laboratory findings in cases of patients treated with Pythium oligandrum

Type of mycological finding – identified fungal organism

No. of findings

% of positive cultivation
(n = 30)

n = 69


Only in microscopic quantities




Trichophyton rubrum




Trichophyton mentagrophytes




Trichophyton spec.




Microsporum gypseum




Candida albicans




Candida parapsilosis




Candida spec.




Saccharomyces cerevisiae




Scopulariopsis brevicaulis




Fibrilar fungi /non-dermatophyta/




Microscopic quantities were found in case of more than 50% of patients, which does not correspond with some data listed in the related literature, neither with our own laboratory experience. In the cases of positive cultivations the most frequent findings were dermatophytes (n=21), which means that these fungi were caught in 30.4% of trial participants. Trichophyton rubrum was found to be the dominant dermatophyte (n = 12), which accounted for 40% of all positive cultivations.

The effect of the Pythium oligandrum treatment trial was assessed one month after the last application. The subjective evaluation of the effect of the applications, made by the patients themselves was as follows:

 Figure 3. Final result of applying Pythium oligandrum, assessed 1 month after final application

Type of infection

No. of monitored patients

Condition 1 month after 3 applications

Disease was eliminated

Condition improved

Condition did not improve







Odorous symptoms (smell)
































As well as the objective assessment of the attending doctors, the basic application of the Pythium oligandrum preparation reduced the odorous symptoms in 78.6 % cases and significantly improved the condition in 19% of cases. Hyperhidrosis was indicated in 67.4% and 27.9% of the monitored patients. The degree of elimination the microscopic fungi demonstrated by mycosis was evaluated primarily with regard to the clinical data collected by the attending doctors, because complete sets of check-up laboratory examinations were not available. However, the clinical findings enable us to come to the conclusion that the preparation succeeded in improving the overall condition of all the patients suffering from Tinea pedis and Tinea interdigitalis, and managed to stop or eradicate the disease altogether in 82.8% of patients. 72.9% of patients with Onychomycosis (nail fungus) showed some improvement. The success of the cure was measured according to the reduction of the hyper-keratitic substances under the nail disk, and partly also according to the growth of the new and healthy nail, change in colour of the affected nail disk and, last but not least, according to the relief of painful symptoms of Onychomycosis.


The potential usability of Pythium oligandrum has so far been evaluated mainly by experts on plant protection. However, it has recently been used more and more frequently in standard medical science as well. Therefore, if we managed to make use of the antagonistic relationships and ”killer” phenomena of some of the microscopic fungi, which can be used against micromycetes that are noxious to human health or make life uncomfortable, it would be a major breakthrough in this area. These bio-preparations have large potential for application, especially in the cases of dermatomycotic diseases, and could help namely old people and patients affected by other elementary diseases which cannot be treated with standard antimycotics, for visceral reasons. The potential group of patients also includes people who develop allergic response or eczema when treated by topical chemotherapy.

Onychomycosis is not a life-threatening disease, but it can be by no means waved away as a cosmetic problem. It is a potential chronic disease which needs at least the same attention as all other skin ailments. This disease is generally a long-term problem for the patients, is characterised by a considerable number of recurrences, can be very painful and may even result in severe mental traumas and considerable reduction of quality of life. In many cases it diminishes manual dexterity and mobility, makes it difficult if not impossible to do certain types of jobs, hinders people from doing certain types of recreational activities, restricts social contacts, undermines one’s self-confidence, and in addition to these there is the danger that the infection will spread to the adjacent fingers or to the family members, including children or grandchildren.

The foot and hand ailments are caused primarily by dermatophytosis. This finding has also been confirmed by our research. Our findings also correspond with the established fact that the second most frequent causative agents of the disease are fungi. Lately there has also been a growing number of non-dermatophytic nail infections caused by fibrillar microscopic mycetes, which also entails other kinds other than Scopulariopsis brevicaulis. The methods of picking up these causative agents have already been described many times, but dealt mostly with sporadic isolations. However, these days they occur quite frequently, which may be related both to the prolonged productive life expectancy and to a growing number of people with reduced immunity because the fungi of the types Aspergillus, Fusarium, Alternaria etc. belong to the group of so called opportune organisms that can cause secondary mycoses to people with altered physical condition. The findings of these fungi accounted for 13.4% of all cultivation positive cases we picked up in the monitored group, which is a significant percentage.


Skin- and nail mycoses represent a significant medical and sociological problem both in terms of its treatment and its epidemiological, psychosocial and somatic impact, and their relevance increases with the growing incidence in national as well as global scale. This condition is also reflected by the growing number of people who are prone to such mycotic diseases (diabetics, people suffering from immunosuppression etc.)

Onychomycosis may also imitate a number of other nail diseases, and vice versa. These ailments are consequently extremely difficult to diagnose, which is why they should be examined by professional dermatologists, in order to choose the most suitable therapy.

However, it is a pleasant fact that we have managed to find a natural and ecological method which effectively eliminates these microscopic substances and hampers their parasitic invasion of the skin and nails. It is necessary to bear in mind that Pythium oligandrum is not a miracle drug - it requires patience and adherence to the instructions that come with the product. In spite of this we may safely confirm that it is a very effective and safe product.