What is Nail Fungus?A fungal nail infection is caused by a fungus that affects the keratin make-up of the nail. Fungal nail infection is not limited to any particular part of the nail, but can affect all the parts of the nail such as nail plate, nail bed, and root of the nail. The infection gradually develops into discolored, thickened, and mottled nails.
Toenail fungus occurs more frequently than fingernail fungus. Humid environment, regular damage to the nail, poor condition of overall health, pre-existing conditions such as diabetes or psoriasis, and wearing uncomfortable footwear increases your susceptibility towards acquiring toenail fungus or fingernail fungus.
What Causes Nail Fungus?Nail fungus (toenail fungus and fingernail fungus) is one of the most frequent diseases that are caused by dermatophyte fungal infections. The most common microorganisms causing nail diseases are Trichophyton rubrum, yeast, especially Candida spp. and moulds.
Home Remedies for Nail FungusHome remedies for nail fungus can be the best way to get rid of fungal nail infection naturally. Daily application of tea tree oil, vinegar, Vicks VapoRub or Oregano oil are all effective at alleviating signs and symptoms of nail fungus. Many herbs and extracts, decoctions or pastes have been used since ages as home remedies for nail fungus by traditional practitioners and in folklore medicine in India.
Herbs that Heal
There is a large number of natural antifungal preparation and supplements that form an essential part of home remedies for nail fungus. Some of these are:
- Snakeroot extract is obtained from a plant Snakeroot, which belongs to the sunflower family. Snakeroot extract has been found to be effective in nail fungus cure when applied topically.
- Pau D’Arco is a natural herb, found to be an effective herbal medicine for the treatment of fungal infections.
- Oregano oil is not only blessed with antifungal properties but also has potent antiviral and antibacterial effects.
- Lemongrass herb is also used for its effective antifungal properties.
- Horopito is a plant with some active chemicals such as polygodial, which makes it an effective treatment for nail fungus.
- Anise seeds are obtained from the plant Pimpinella asisum and have various medicinal properties. The chemical components present in anise seeds are powerfully effective against fungus, and hence, it is a good nail fungus cure.
Other plant extracts that have also shown beneficial antifungal effect in nail fungus cure are essential oil of Eucalyptus, alcoholic extract of neem leaves and extract of Catharanthus roseus leaves. A significant factor to be considered while treating nail fungus at home is that any home remedy can only be successful when it is regularly followed without fail for long periods of time.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is derived from Melaleuca alternifolia shrub like tree which is native to Australia. It has both antibacterial and antifungal properties. It is a popular home remedy which has been successfully used in the treatment of nail fungus. Easily available at health food stores, it has shown results comparable to those of clotrimazole in the treatment of the nail fungus infection. It has been reported that when tea tree oil is applied twice a day, it is found to be extremely effective in nail fungus cure.
Olive leaf has beneficial effects against the fungal infection and also improves blood circulation. It works best against the treatment of yeast infections. Olive leaf extract is one of the best nail fungus treatments. The use of olive leaf oil is a safe and natural way for nail fungus cure. Olive leaf oil is available in the form of tinctures, capsules or salves. Olive leaf extract can also be taken orally in a dose of one to three capsules twice a day with meals. It is important to continue this treatment until the infected portion of the nail has grown out completely and the infection has been fully eradicated.
Garlic has been popular as a home remedy in folklore medicine. Garlic is a great home remedy for nail fungus, because of its antimicrobial properties. Garlic is easily available in your kitchen and is one of the easiest and painless home remedies for nail fungus. Several chopped cloves of garlic can be placed in your socks at night to alleviate the initial stages of infection. As an alternative treatment, some fresh cloves should be crushed and placed on the affected area for about 30 minutes after which it is washed off with water.
Garlic powder is also easily available, and a light dusting of it can be utilized in nail fungus cure. Garlic oil ointment can be used as a highly effective and inexpensive as well as persistent treatment of nail fungus. Garlic oil can also be prepared at home by mixing one tbsp of fresh chopped garlic cloves, three tbsp of coconut oil and one tbsp of olive oil.
A natural supplement called Miconazole is the best nail fungus treatment. Miconazole is armed with various natural antifungal ingredients which are highly efficacious in nature.
Ozonated olive oil is effective as a cure for nail fungus. It must be applied onto the affected nail for 2-3 times a day for several weeks in a row. Ozone bagging, which comprises of inserting fingers in a bag filled with ozone gas, is also an effective technique to combat fingernail fungus.
There is some evidence suggesting that the use of Vicks VapoRub can lead to improvements in the signs and symptoms of nail fungus. A small amount of the Vicks VapoRub is applied with the help of a cotton swab on the affected area for the treatment of toenail fungus.
Keep it Clean and Trimmed
This is the most important among all home remedies for nail fungus, because it works dually in alleviating pain as well as in maintaining nail hygiene. This works by reducing pressure on the nails. Trim your nails and thin them by filing them. Apply a nail softening cream before you trim the nail. Urea cream can be applied after trimming and thinning and then covered with a bandage. This should be washed off with soap and water, and the process should be repeated until your nails soften. Use petroleum jelly on the skin around the affected nails.
The best nail fungus treatment you can give to your nails is being particular and meticulous about maintaining the hygiene of your foot to prevent re-infection. Doctors have stated that the recurrence of nail fungus is a major problem related to its treatment. To keep the toenail fungus at bay always ensure that while clipping your nails, you clip them short to match them with the contours of your toes and fingers. Always cut the nail straight across, so that there are no in-grown toenails.
If you have to take a shower in a communal area, always wear rubber shoes, flip flops, or shower clogs. Change your socks regularly if they are prone to sweating. Use over-the-counter antifungal drying powders to keep your feet dry all the time.
The incorporation of protein, folic acid, and essential vitamins in daily diet is extremely important for healthy nails. Essential fatty acids are also important for the good health of nails. Individuals trying to maintain glossy and healthy nails should include foods such as fish, flaxseed, canola oil, seeds, leafy vegetables, and nuts in their regular diet.