Ever seen disfigured or destroyed toenails or fingers infected with fungus? Just have a look at the bottom of the page and you’ll know what we mean. Toenail or finger fungus or onychomycosis can wreak this kind of havoc on your toenail. However, this is a relatively common condition that can disfigure and sometimes destroy the nail. So, common is this problem that an estimated 2.5 million people in the US fall victim to it annually. However, there are some effective natural cures available that can rid of this problem.
Understanding toenail fungus
Several different types of fungi, called dermatophytes, can cause this problem, because they all thrive in the dark, moist and stuffy environment inside shoes. What the fungus exactly does is to feed on the toenail! Yes, the protein-rich keratin, making up the hard surface of the toenails.
The bad news is this fungus can spread from foot to foot on the floors of showers and locker rooms. Little wonder it’s common amongst soldiers, sportspersons and miners.
Symptoms of toenail fungus
The color and texture change of the toenail is a dead giveaway of this infection. The toenail typically turns yellow or brown and becomes thick and overgrown. It may develop foul-smelling material under it, especially at the sides and tip. The end result of the infection is the nail either crumbles gradually and falls off or become so thick that the affected toe feels uncomfortable or painful inside shoes.
Treatment of toenail fungus
Treatment consists of removing as much of the infected nail as possible by clipping, filing or dissolving. There are plenty of over-the-counter medications available for this, but there can be some real troublesome side effects or some serious drug reactions.
So, a better option is to go in for natural cures and remedies that are safe and without side effects. Let’s see what they are:
a. Olive oil and white vinegar:
Applying ozonated olive oil and white distilled vinegar at the base of the toenail at intervals will help clear the infection.
b. Lavender oil and apple cider vinegar:
Adding a few drops of lavender and half-a-cup of apple cider vinegar in a liter of water and soaking the affected foot will cure the infection.
c. Vicks vapor rub:
Applying Vicks vapor rub for a few weeks on the affected toenail clears the infection. However, liberal amounts are required for it to take effect. Not only does this clear the infection, it also smooth the cracks or rough edges and cleans the crust under the nail.
Iodine is not only excellent for toenail fungus, but also for ringworm, moles, skin tags, hangnails, and the like. Iodine penetrates deep into the skin and the cuticle to clear the infection. However, staining and discoloration of the nail and socks is to be expected.
e. Tea tree oil:
Applying tea tree oil three times a day to the affected toenail not only helps clear the infection, but also peels off the dead skin to reveal fresh healthy skin underneath.
f. Crushed raw potatoes:
Crush raw potatoes inside a gauze and apply it to the infected toes every night. This pulls out the infection.
g. Olive leaf extract:
Although a slow process, but consistently applying olive leaf extract will help get rid of the infection.
Garlic contains several anti-fungal ingredients that help clear the infection. So, including garlic in your diet will help keep this infection at bay.
Don’t consider toenail fungus a cosmetic challenge, since it can eat away the nail! However, before trying out any of the natural cures, always consult your physician.