Nail Fungus



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What Is Nail Fungus

Nail Fungus, also referred to as onychomycosis, is a common condition that affects toenails or fingernails.  The reason this is a common condition is because the nail is a dark, damp place that is prone to fungal growth, and it simultaneously protects the fungus as it grows.  It begins as a small infection, starting to create a yellow spot under the tip of the nail, and it can cause total nail discoloration.  If your condition is mild, you may not need treatment, but you may want to explore self-care steps or medications if thickened nails or severe pain occur.  Anyone can develop Nail Fungus, but it is most common in older adults. 

Signs Of Nail Fungus

Fungal nail infections cause nail discoloration to become yellow or brown.  It's also possible to see small white patches or a change in nail texture.  You may have Nail Fungus if one or more of your nails are: 

  • Thickened
  • Whitish or yellow-brown discoloration
  • Brittle, crumbly or ragged
  • Dark color (caused by built-up debris under the nail)
  • Foul smelling nail
  • Distorted nail shape
What Causes Nail Fungus

Nail Fungus can be attributed to various fungal organisms, the most common of which is dermatophyte.  It is also possible for Nail Fungus to be caused by yeast and molds.  Older adults commonly experience Nail Fungus because nails tend to become brittle and dry with age.  The result is that nails crack, allowing fungi, mold, or yeasts to enter and begin the infection.  If Nail Fungus spreads from the nail to in between the toes or fingers, then you have athlete's foot.  Other causes of Nail Fungus include:

  • Brittle nails
  • Trauma (bruises or lesions on the nail can cause it to lift and separate, making it vulnerable to fungal growth)
  • Weak immune system
  • Poor hygiene
  • Environment (overexposure to humid and wet environments increase risk)
  • Poor blood circulation
  • Psoriasis
  • Smoking tobacco

Dherbs Approach...adjusting your diet is always key!

Natural Remedies
  • People with fungal nail infections often benefit from using tea tree oil, which works to naturally combat fungal infections and other skin conditions.  According to research, tea tree oil may be able to effectively kill and stop fungal infections by breaking down the exterior layer of fungal cells, changing how they work.  This remedy may not be effective for everyone.
  • Ozonized oils, including sunflower oil and olive oil, are "injected" with ozone gas.  A 2011 study found that fungi, yeast, and bacteria became inactive when exposed to low concentrations of ozone.  A different study found that ozonized sunflower oil treated toenail fungus more effectively than ketoconazole, a topical antifungal prescription. 
  • While it may sound strange, cornmeal has been used to remove black-spot fungal disease from roses for a long time.  Most of the claims are anecdotal, but people with Nail Fungus have benefits from mixing cornmeal with warm water and soaking their feet in the solution.  It is recommended to soak feet or hands in the solution for one hour, once a week. 
  • Pau d'arco is healing herb that is the inner bark of a South American tree.  According to laboratory tests, pau d'arco contains antifungal compounds that are as effective as antifungal prescription medications. Brew a large batch of pau d'arco tea and soak your feet in it twice daily for 20 minutes. 
  • A 2016 scientific review found that thymol, an active ingredient in oregano oil, contains antibacterial and antifungal properties.  People with Nail Fungus can apply oregano oil on the affected area twice daily with a cotton swab. Some people like combining oregano oil with tea tree oil, but you may want to mix these with a carrier oil like olive oil.  This can help avoid irritation or allergic reaction, since both tea tree oil and oregano oil are very potent. 
  • The link between diet and health is clear!  The food you put in your body has a greater affect on your health than you realize.  Sugary foods, refined grains, processed ingredients, and processed meat products can decrease the body's natural defense system.  You have a better chance of keeping Nail Fungus at bay when you consume plant-based foods that contain essential fatty acids, iron, protein, vitamin D, and calcium.  You can view what foods are beneficial in the "Things You Should Eat" section below. 
  • Some people find that applying crushed or chopped garlic cloves to the affected area for 30 minutes per day helps to remedy Nail Fungus.  A 2009 review found that garlic contains powerful antimicrobial and antifungal properties, so while it may have a potent smell, it may well get the job done.
Things you should eat
  • Garlic
  • Mushrooms (maitake and Portobello)
  • Millet
  • Leafy Greens (kale, spinach, romaine lettuce, chard)
  • Alfalfa Sprouts
  • Cucumbers
  • Bell Peppers
  • Steel Cut Oats
  • Apples
  • Avocado
  • Berries
  • Legumes
  • Cauliflower
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Olive Oil
  • Broccoli
  • Kiwi
  • Almonds