Updated: Jun 24
Fungus can actually be a wonderful thing. We use fungus in penicillin and amoxicillin to kill bacteria that makes us sick. We even use fungus as mushrooms to make tasty dishes, have you seen the movie Pig? Amazing! I digress, we are here to talk about fungus as an annoyance when it attaches to our nails and a nail fungus home remedy or two, or 5.
Nail fungus, also known as onychomycosis, is a common condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It can cause embarrassment, discomfort, and even pain. While there are medical treatments available, many individuals prefer exploring natural alternatives due to their milder side effects and potential health benefits. In this article, we will delve into natural ways to fight nail fungus, including the use of essential oils and other remedies. Let's discover how you can regain healthy, beautiful nails without relying solely on conventional medications.
I. Understanding Nail Fungus: Causes and Symptoms.
Before exploring natural treatments, it is important to gain a brief understanding of the causes and symptoms of nail fungus. This will help in effectively tackling the problem.
Causes: A major key to preventing and stopping nail fungus is light and air. Fungus enjoys low light and humidity. It cannot form in consistent dry air and sunlight. When you come home take off any socks or nylon and walk barefoot; so no socks of any kind when you come home or when sleeping. Because fungus enjoys low light this means no paint, shellac, dipping powder, acrylic or any other nail covering during treatment. Fungus, particularly nail fungus, is contagious. For example, you may get fungus from communal showers and gyms when barefoot. So bare feet at the house is fine, bare feet at the gym shower, bad. If you are prone to getting nail fungus and you enjoy the local nail salon it may be advantageous to bring your own cuticle oil as this may be the highest point of potential infection, if there is one, during the entire nail process. However, the colors themselves should be fine as the natural nature of paint colors and their chemicals are hostile to fungus.
Symptoms: Nail fungus causes discoloration (yellow, black, white or green), thickening, distortion, cracking of the nail, and in some cases, pain or discomfort.
Now that the basic information is out of the way, let’s look at natural remedies for nail fungus.
II. Tea Tree Oil: Nature's Fungal Fighter.
Nail Fungus Home Remedy #1.
Tea tree oil is popularly known as a natural remedy for skin conditions, including nail fungus. Numerous studies have established its antifungal properties and demonstrated its ability to combat onychomycosis. A study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology revealed that the topical application of tea tree oil exhibits antifungal activity against several strains of fungi responsible for nail infections (1). To use tea tree oil, dilute it with a carrier oil, such as coconut or olive oil, and apply it to the affected nails twice daily.
III. Garlic: A Natural Antifungal Agent.
Nail Fungus Home Remedy #2.
Garlic is often referred to as nature's antibiotic owing to its antifungal properties. The active compound allicin in garlic has proven to be effective in combatting nail infections. A study published in the Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research showcased the antifungal activity of garlic extract on nail fungus and highlighted its potential as a natural treatment option (2). Crush a few garlic cloves and apply the paste directly to the affected nails for 30 minutes daily.
IV. Oregano Oil: A Natural Defense Against Nail Fungus.
Nail Fungus Home Remedy #3.
Oil from the leaves of the Origanum vulgare plant, commonly known as oregano oil, contains powerful antifungal compounds like carvacrol and thymol. Research published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology established oregano oil's strong antifungal activity against various fungal strains, including those responsible for nail infections (3). To use oregano oil, mix a few drops with a carrier oil and apply it to the affected nails twice daily.
V. Vinegar Soaks: A Simple Yet Effective Solution.
Nail Fungus Home Remedy #4.
Vinegar, especially apple cider vinegar, has long been used as a remedy for several ailments, including nail fungus. Its acidic nature prevents the growth of fungus. A study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology concluded that vinegar soaks can significantly reduce the severity of nail fungus (4). To create a vinegar soak, mix equal parts of vinegar and warm water and soak the affected nails for 15-20 minutes daily.
VI. Clove Oil: A Natural Antifungal Remedy.
Nail Fungus Home Remedy #5.
Clove oil, derived from the Syzygium aromaticum plant, has powerful antifungal properties. A study published in the Brazilian Oral Research journal investigated the effectiveness of clove oil in treating fungal infections and found it to be successful against several fungal strains, including those causing nail infections (5). Another study by the NIH showed that clove oil was even more effective than bleach on fungus, especially over a long period of time (6). That's incredible, clove oil can be more effective on nail fungus than bleach. To use clove oil, dilute it with a carrier oil and apply it to the affected nails twice daily.
VII. Other Natural Remedies and Lifestyle Changes.
Apart from essential oils and vinegar, other natural remedies and lifestyle changes can be beneficial in treating nail fungus. These options include the use of probiotics, proper nail hygiene, and maintaining general foot health as mentioned at the beginning of the article. Remember nail fungus can also be contagious so take precautions as outlined here.
If the processes above don’t seem to gain traction, then you can always seek out an over-the-counter fungal acid at your local pharmacy and if you still don’t see results you can seek out medical assistance. However, we strongly believe, whenever possible, do natural first. Be Well.