Toenail fungus is a fairly common condition caused by microscopic organisms that thrive in moist, warm areas. If a person walks through a hospitable area such as a locker room, shower room or pool, the organisms may invade their nails and trigger an infection. This causes the nails to thicken, and they eventually get discolored and start to crumble. The condition is unsightly, and it may be painful in severe cases. Although most cases need to be treated by a doctor, home cures such as Vicks Vaporub have shown promise.
Although toenail fungus is usually treated with oral medication prescribed by a doctor, some sufferers treat it with Vicks Vaporub. The Mayo Clinic says there is anecdotal evidence that Vicks Vaporub can cure toenail fungus in some people. This is mostly likely due to its ingredients, which include menthol, camphor and eucalyptus oil. These ingredients may have anti-fungal properties that inhibit the growth of toenail fungus and allow a new, healthy toenail to grow. The rub should be applied to the affected toenails every day.
Researchers at the University of Michigan found that daily use of Vicks Vaporub cured toenail fungus in 32 people out of 85 total study participants. It took between five and 16 months for the infection to clear up completely, which is comparable to some other toenail fungus treatments. Although Vicks Vaporub was used in the study, Consumer Reports magazine says that other medicated rub brands containing the same ingredients should cure toenail fungus just as effectively.
Consumer Reports magazine says that Vicks Vaporub has no side-effects, which may make it a good choice for people who have problems with oral treatments. According to the Mayo Clinic, oral antifungal medications can cause skin rashes in some patients, and may also lead to liver damage. Patients who have congestive heart failure or liver disease may not be able to take an oral treatment, so Vicks Vaporub may be a good alternative for them.
Vicks Vaporub is not the only home remedy for toenail fungus. The Mayo Clinic says that some people believe that vinegar soaks can be an effective cure. Although there are no studies to prove that vinegar works specifically on toenail fungus, it has been proven to stop the growth of some types of bacteria. The soak should be made up of one part vinegar and two parts warm water. The feet should be soaked for 20 minutes, then rinsed and dried off thoroughly. If the vinegar causes irritation, the soak can be diluted with more water.
The Healthy Skin Guide says that Vicks Vaporub is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use as a toenail fungus cure. The company that makes it does not recommend it for use in treating nail fungus.