A toenail fungus is no more fun to have than it is to look at. While the nail fungus can affect both fingernails and toenails, it is found more often on toenails, because it is a living organism that prefers dark, moist environments. A toenail affected with the fungus becomes brown and/or yellow in color and thickens and splits. Tight shoes, damp socks, toe injury, and weak immune system are just a few factors that put you at risk for breeding a toenail fungus.
Natural Treatment With Tea Tree Oil
Your doctor can accurately diagnose your toenail fungus and can even give you prescription medication to treat it. These treatments, however, are often quite expensive and take a great deal of time to eradicate the fungus. If you would like a faster treatment that is also less toxic to the body, try tea tree oil. Tea tree oil is from the Melaleuca alternifolia tree, which is similar to a eucalyptus tree. A study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Podiatric Association states that tea tree oil has been found to have antibiotic and antifungal properties. These properties and the fact that tea tree oil is all natural make it an excellent treatment for toenail fungus.
So how do you use it? Make sure your toenails are trim and clean. Dry completely before applying the tea tree oil. You can use a hairdryer to help this step along if you like. Gently push back on the skin and cuticles around the nail. (Do not push the cuticles too far back, as they add a protective barrier to the nail bed.) Place a few drops of tea tree oil on the nail, and gently massage it into the nail, especially in any cracks, and in the skin around the nail bed. Be sure to get underneath the nail as far as possible so the oil can reach the fungus. Apply the tea tree oil twice a day, morning and night, and you should see improvements within two weeks.
Natural Treatment With Garlic and Vinegar
Garlic and white distilled vinegar both have antifungal properties, but a study has shown that when the two are used together, they become more potent. It takes only minutes to make your own treatment solution from garlic and white distilled vinegar.
Peel three cloves of garlic, and chop them up fine. In a measuring cup, pour out 1/2 cup of white distilled vinegar and add the chopped garlic. Allow it to sit for at least one hour. In the meantime, clean and trim your toenails. After one hour, dab a cotton ball into the mixture, and put it on your affected nail. Massage it into and around the toenail, taking care to get underneath it, around the edges, and down into any cracks in the nail. Apply this treatment two to three times per day. As with the tea tree oil, you should see improvement within two weeks.
References and ResourcesMayo Clinic
"Antifungal activity of Melaleuca alternifolia (tea-tree) oil against various pathogenic organisms";J.M. Concha, L.S. Moore, and W.J. Holloway, Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association; 1998
"Antifungal Effects of Vinegar and Garlic Combinations on Candida albicans"; J. Laughlin, R. Sprikantha, and K.G. Vargas; University of Iowa, 2003