Toenail fungus, or onychomycosis, is a common fungal infection of the toenails. The most noticeable symptom is the white, brown or yellow color of one or more nails. It spreads and causes the nail to thicken and crack.
Sandal season or not, when you look at your feet, nail fungus is not something you often want to see. There are many treatments you can try.
Oral antifungal medications such as terbinafine (Lamisil) or fluconazole (Diflucan) are traditionally used to treat toenail fungus. Although these treatments are often effective, they can cause serious side effects such as stomach upset, dizziness, severe skin problems, and jaundice.
That’s why many people try home remedies. Here are 10 of these home remedies.
- Vicks VapoRub
Vicks VapoRub is a topical cream. Although it is designed to suppress coughs, its active ingredients (balm and eucalyptus oil) can help treat toenail fungus.
A 2011 study found that Vicks VapoRub was “clinically effective” in treating toenail fungus.
To use, apply a small amount of Vicks VapoRub to the affected area at least once a day.
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- Snake flower extract
Ageratina pichinchensis (Ageratina pichinchensis) extract is an anti-fungal plant from the sunflower family.
A 2008 study showed that this drug was as effective against toenail fungus as ciclopirox, an antifungal drug.
For the study, snake extract was applied every third day for the first month, twice a week for the second month, and once a week for the third month.
- Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil, also known as melaleuca, is an essential oil with anti-fungal and antiseptic properties.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, some small clinical studies have shown that tea tree oil is effective against toenail fungus.
Twice a day, apply tea tree oil directly to the affected nail with a cotton swab.
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- Oil of oregano
Oregano oil contains thymol. According to a 2016 review, thymol has antifungal and antibacterial properties.
To treat toenail fungus, apply oregano oil to the affected nail twice a day with a cotton swab. Some people use oregano oil and tea tree oil together.
Both products are strong and can cause irritation and allergic reactions. Combining them may increase this risk.
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- Olive leaf extract
Oleuropein, the active ingredient in olive leaf extract, is believed to have anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and immune-enhancing properties.
Olive leaf mucilage can be applied directly to the nail fungus or taken as a capsule.
A 2012 review found that taking one to three capsules of olive leaf twice daily with meals is more effective than olive leaf alone for treating toenail fungus. It is recommended to drink plenty of water throughout this treatment.
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- Ozonated oil
Ozonated oils are oils that are “injected” with ozone gas, such as olive oil and sunflower oil.
A 2011 study found that short-term exposure to low concentrations of this type of ozone inactivates many organisms, including fungi, yeast, and bacteria.
Another study found that ozonated sunflower oil was more effective than the antifungal ketoconazole (Xolegel) in treating toenail fungus.
To treat toenail fungus with ozonized oil, apply the oil to your toenails twice a day.
There is only anecdotal evidence to support vinegar as a treatment for toenail fungus. However, it is safe enough to use at home.
Soak the sore feet in one part vinegar and two parts warm water for 20 minutes a day.
- Listerine mouthwash
Listerine mouthwash contains menthol, thymol and eucalyptus for antibacterial and antifungal properties. This may be the reason why it is a popular folk remedy for toenail fungus.
Proponents of the treatment recommend immersing the affected foot in a tub of amber Listerine for 30 minutes daily.
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A 2009 study found that garlic has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties.
You can treat toenail fungus with garlic by applying chopped or crushed garlic cloves for 30 minutes every day.
Internal treatment with garlic capsules may be better and less smelly. Take according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Adjust your diet
The link between diet and health is clear: The healthier the food you eat, the better your body can fight off diseases like toenail fungus.