Onychomycosis, or toenail fungus, is a common fungal infection of the toenail. A white, brown, or yellow discoloration of one or more of your toenails is the most noticeable sign. It has the potential to expand and thicken or fracture the nails.
Whether it’s sandal season or not, toenail fungus isn’t something you want to see when you look down at your feet. You can attempt a variety of treatments, fortunately.
Toenail fungus is traditionally treated with prescription oral antifungals such terbinafine (Lamisil) or fluconazole (Diflucan). Although these therapies are frequently helpful, they can have substantial adverse effects ranging from nausea to dizziness to severe skin problems and jaundice.
This could be why so many individuals prefer to use natural medicines. Here are some of the most common at-home remedies.
1. Vicks VapoRub
Vicks VapoRub is an ointment that is applied to the skin. Although it’s intended to treat coughs, the active components (camphor and eucalyptus oil) may also aid with toenail fungus. Vicks VapoRub was reported to have a “good clinical effect” in the treatment of toenail fungus in a 2011 study. Apply a tiny dose of Vicks VapoRub to the affected area at least once a day to get the best results.
2. Extract of snakeroot
Snakeroot extract (Ageratina pichinchensis) is an antifungal produced from sunflower plants. According to a 2008 study, the therapy is just as effective as the prescription antifungal drug ciclopirox at treating toenail fungus. For the first month, snakeroot extract was administered every third day to the affected area, then twice a week for the second month, and once a week for the third month.
3. Tea tree essential oil
Tea tree oil, commonly known as melaleuca, is an antifungal and antiseptic essential oil. Tea tree oil has been shown to be effective against toenail fungus in small-scale clinical investigations, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. To use, use a cotton swab to apply the tea tree oil straight to the damaged nail twice a day.
4. Oregano essential oil
Thymol is found in oregano oil. Thymol possesses antifungal and antibacterial effects, according to a 2016 assessment. Apply oregano oil to the afflicted nail twice daily with a cotton swab to treat toenail fungus. Some people combine oregano and tea tree oils. Both products are highly strong and may produce irritation or an allergic reaction in some people. It’s possible that combining them will raise the risk.
5. Extract from olive leaves
Oleuropein, an important ingredient in olive leaf extract, is known to have antifungal, antibacterial, and immune-boosting properties. Olive leaf salve can be applied directly to the fungus or taken as a pill. A 2012 study found that taking one to three olive leaf capsules twice daily with meals is more helpful than using olive leaf salve to cure toenail fungus. During this treatment, it is essential that you drink enough of water.
6. Oils that have been ozonized
Oils that have been “injected” with ozone gas, such as olive oil and sunflower oil, are known as ozonized oils. According to a 2011 study, low-level ozone exposure over a short period of time can inactivate various species, including fungus, yeast, and bacteria. Another study indicated that ozonized sunflower oil was more effective than the pharmaceutical topical antifungal ketoconazole in treating toenail fungus (Xolegel). Work ozonized oil into the infected toenail twice a day to treat toenail fungus.
Only anecdotal data supports the use of vinegar as a toenail fungus therapy. Nonetheless, it’s a relatively risk-free home cure to try. To use, soak the affected foot for up to 20 minutes in a solution of one part vinegar to two parts warm water on a daily basis.
8. Listerine mouthwash
Listerine mouthwash has antibacterial and antifungal qualities thanks to substances like menthol, thymol, and eucalyptus. This could explain why it’s such a common folk cure for toenail fungus. The treatment advocates suggest bathing the injured foot in an amber-colored Listerine basin for 30 minutes every day.
Garlic contains antifungal and antimicrobial properties, according to a 2009 study. Garlic can be used to treat toenail fungus by applying chopped or crushed garlic cloves to the afflicted area for 30 minutes each day. Garlic capsules may be a better (and less fragrant) way to cure it from the inside out. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
10. Make dietary changes
The link between diet and health is obvious: the healthier the foods you eat, the greater your body’s chances of fighting off diseases like toenail fungus.
Eat the following foods to provide your body with the nutrients it requires:
yogurt with lots of probiotics
sufficient protein to promote nail regeneration
enough iron to keep your nails from becoming brittle
an important fatty acid-rich diet
calcium and vitamin D-rich meals, such as low-fat dairy products
When should you see a doctor?
Toenail fungus is typically regarded as a cosmetic issue. Nonetheless, it has the potential to create major difficulties in some persons. Toenail fungus can cause foot ulcers or other foot problems if you have diabetes. Chronic toenail fungus is a substantial risk factor for bacterial cellulitis of the leg, according to a 2012 study. Home cures for toenail fungus should not be used if you have diabetes or a damaged immune system. Consult your doctor to determine the best course of action.
Last but not least:
In the treatment of mild-to-moderate toenail fungus, home therapies may be more helpful than pharmaceutical drugs. Although there are fewer adverse effects with home treatments, there is less scientific evidence that they work. When it comes to treating toenail fungus, many aspects come into play, including nail penetrability, infection severity, and overall health.
Toenail fungus is more difficult to treat with home treatments than with prescription topical drugs or oral systemic antifungals. It’s possible that you won’t see any benefits for several months. Reinfection is a common occurrence. Keep your toenails dry, clean, and well-trimmed once the infection is gone. Toenail fungus can cause pain and irreparable toenail destruction in severe situations. Consult your doctor if you try home cures for the infection and they don’t work or have adverse effects.