Onychomycosis, or toenail fungus, is a common infection that afflicts the foot. The primary symptoms are yellow, brown, or white discoloration on the toenails, as well as thickening and cracking of the nails.
The most common treatments are prescription oral antifungals like Lamisil or Diflucan. These are usually effective but can cause side effects like upset stomach, dizziness, skin problems, and jaundice. If you don’t want to risk the side effects, how do you get rid of toenail fungus? Here are some alternative remedies:
Vicks VapoRub is a topical ointment intended for cough suppression. However, its active ingredients, camphor, and eucalyptus oil have been proven effective in dealing with toenail fungus. Use it by applying a small amount of VapoRub to the infected area once a day.
Snakeroot extract is made from plants in the sunflower family and has been proven to be just as effective in combating toenail fungus as prescription drugs. Apply to the affected area 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 oil that serves as an antifungal and an antiseptic. Paint the oil on the infected nail with a cotton swab twice a day.
Oregano oil contains thymol, which has antifungal and antibacterial properties. You can apply oregano oil in the same manner as tea tree oil; it is also possible to combine the two oils. But these oils are potent and can cause irritation or allergic reactions, especially if combined.
Olive Leaf Extract
Oleuropein, an active substance in olive leaf extract, can have antifungal, antimicrobial, and immune-boosting properties. Apply the extract directly to the nail or ingest as a capsule.
Injecting substances like olive oil or sunflower oil with small amounts of ozone gas can help them counter fungi, yeast, and bacteria. Work the oil into the toenail twice a day.
Using vinegar to treat toenail fungus is only supported by anecdotal evidence, but it is still a safe remedy to try. Soak the infected foot in one-part vinegar, two-parts warm water for 20 minutes.
Listerine contains menthol, thymol, and eucalyptus, all of which possess antibacterial and antifungal properties. Soak the infected foot in a basin of amber-colored Listerine for 30 minutes daily.
Garlic has some antifungal and antimicrobial properties, place chopped/crushed cloves of garlic on the infected area for 30 minutes a day or take garlic capsules.
Change Your Diet
Having a healthy diet can help your body fight off illnesses and infections. You can get the right nutrients by eating probiotic-rich yogurt, enough protein to support nail growth, enough iron to prevent brittle nails, essential fatty acids, and foods rich in calcium and vitamin D.
When to See a Doctor
Toenail fungus is usually just a cosmetic problem, but it can sometimes cause serious complications. If you have diabetes or issues with blood flow, contact a doctor before trying any home remedies.
Home remedies can be just as effective as medication for mild-to-moderate toenail fungus, and with fewer side effects. But, there is limited scientific evidence supporting the use of these remedies. Factors that can alter the results of fungus treatment include nail penetrability, the severity of the infection, and overall health. Home remedies can take longer to work than prescriptions, up to taking a month to treat an infection and reinfection is common. Once the infection has been eliminated, make sure your toenails are dry, clean, and well-trimmed. Severe fungus infection can cause pain and permanent nail damage. If home remedies are not working, be sure to consult a doctor.