Onychomycosis, known commonly to a lot of people as toenail fungus, is a common complaint. Specific factors can increase your chances of developing infection in the toenails, like getting pedicures which involve unsterilized equipment, deformities in the nails, sustained moisture in the area, wearing of closed footwear, and a poor immune system, notes the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Several nutritional therapies can help in treating toenail fungal infections, but you must consult your doctor before using any kind of nutritional treatment.
Generally, fungal infections, especially those which involve the toenails, are difficult to treat as they often require taking medications for an extended time period. Several herbal treatments are now available, although many of them are not backed up by enough scientific evidence. Individuals who have problems with circulation and diabetes must seek medical help for the treatment of toenail fungus.
Tea Tree Oil
Derived from Melaleuca alternifolia, a plant which is native in Australia, tea tree oil has showed promising results when it comes to reducing symptoms associated with toenail fungal infections. In an article published in “The Journal of Family Practice,” a study was made which revealed that the use of 100% tea tree oil had the same results with antifungal medication clotrimazole when it comes to the improvement of the appearance of toenails which have been affected by toenail fungus when it was applied on the nail every day for six months. However, the study found that there is greater risk of recurrence and the effectiveness rate for the treatment is less than 20%. When it is to be taken internally, tea tree oil can be toxic to the body, which is why it is only used topically. Some of the reported adverse effects include irritation and swelling.
Oregano remains as a famous folk remedy to fungal infections involving the toenails although there is not enough scientific proof to indicate this. However, in some studies, oregano has been found to possess anti-fungal properties. The Food and Drug Administration classifies this herb as a food, so the safety, dosage, and efficacy have not yet been determined. The use of oregano oil must never be full strength as it is a topical remedy. According to AltMD, you should dilute 1tsp of oregano oil into 2tsps of almond oil or olive oil, and then apply it to the toenails with the use of a cotton swab. Similar to other methods, time for treatment will normally take a few months. Oregano oil can be irritating on the skin, so be careful and confine the application on the nail area only.
Grapefruit Seed Extract
The white membranes, pulp, and seeds of grapefruit are being used to form an extract which is believed to have antimicrobial activities. It has shown promise when it comes to the treatment of bacteria like Staphyloccus aureus, Escherichia coli, and many other fungi and yeasts. Although more studies are required to validate its use in toenail fungal infections, the FDA has regarded grapefruit extract as generally safe for use.