Toenail Fungus Home Remedies
Fungal infection of the toenail is also known as Onychomycosis.
Between 5 and 10% of adults will experience toenail fungus at some point in their lives.
Fortunately, it's very easy to treat using simple home remedies and everyday products from your kitchen or bathroom.
Toenail fungus should not be confused with ingrown toenails, which occur when the nail grows painfully into the skin.
Signs and Symptoms
A toenail with fungus is much thicker and often yellowish in colour, though it can also be brown, black, or green. As the infection weakens the nail, it will typically crack or begin to chip off in large pieces.
The skin around the toenail is not always infected, but the entire toe can become swollen or inflamed in extreme cases of fungus.
Men are more susceptible to toenail fungus than women, and doctors suspect that nail weakness may be partially hereditary. To positively diagnose toenail fungus, doctors will microscopically examine a sample of nail clippings to determine whether an infection is present.
For decades, doctors have prescribed conventional medications for toenail fungus. Some of these, such as nail paint with ciclopirox, contain synthetic anti-fungal agents.
But what you may not know is that there are plenty of remedies, many of them natural, which also contain anti-fungal, antiseptic, or antibacterial properties.
Like conventional medications, these natural treatments can cure toenail fungus quickly and easily at home.
Before You Begin
Before applying a toenail fungus remedy to your feet, it's best to push back the skin from around the infected toenail so that the product can be fully absorbed. Use a nail file or a small pair of scissors to gently scrape away any dead skin and push the cuticles back.
Next, cut back any excess nail so that the infected nail bed is as exposed as possible. Use a foot bath to clean the toe, then dry your foot well. This will help keep the infection from spreading.
While your toe is healing, you should avoid wearing tight socks or shoes and walk around barefoot whenever possible. This will ensure the infected toe is getting enough air, which will speed the healing process.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is made from fermented organic apples and has a variety of medicinal applications.
Traditionally, apple cider vinegar has been used to treat inflammation, menstrual problems, stomach ailments, and joint stiffness. It's also popular as a weight loss supplement.
Apple cider vinegar can help clear up toenail fungus if it's applied directly to the affected area three times daily. To speed up the healing process, you can also try ingesting a teaspoon of the vinegar each morning so that it's fully absorbed into the bloodstream.
When choosing a vinegar, look for a product that contains the "mother," a murky brown substance that sits at the bottom of the vinegar bottle. The mother is the most nutrient-rich part of the vinegar and contains living enzymes with many powerful health benefits.
For centuries, salt and salt water have been used as natural antibiotics.
Gargling with salt water is a common way to help alleviate the symptoms of a sore throat. When applied topically, salt can also help treat bacterial infections, although it typically stings when applied to a cut or burn.
Epsom salt, or magnesium sulfate, is a particularly effective remedy for toenail fungus since it naturally removes toxins from your body. This product is available at most grocery stores (usually in a white jug or carton) and is also sold in bulk form at many dry goods stores.
To treat toenail fungus with Epsom salt, add two handfuls to a foot bath and soak your feet for 20-30 minutes each evening.
It's common knowledge that honey cures sore throats. But did you know it's also a natural antibiotic?
Honey contains hydrogen peroxide, which helps kill bacteria and heal burns or other superficial wounds on the skin. As an antifungal, honey treats toenail fungus by drawing toxins out of the foot.
Try applying a small spoonful of honey to your toenail and then gently wrap the affected area with gauze. You can also try ingesting a tablespoon of honey, along with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, on a daily basis to help fight infection.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is a very popular essential oil that is pressed from the tree Melaleuca alternifolia.
The oil has natural antiseptic and antibacterial properties. It is commonly used as a medicinal remedy for burns, cuts, viruses, infections, and even acne.
Tea tree oil also happens to be a powerful antifungal agent. To treat toenail fungus with tea tree oil, apply a few drops of the oil to a cotton swab and gently dab at the affected area.
Repeat this process every day in the morning and evening.
Believe it or not, but you may have the key to curing toenail fungus for good right in your bathroom.
Most conventional mouthwashes, like Listerine, have antiseptic or antibacterial properties that help fight bad breath, kill bacteria, and stop the buildup of plaque.
If you are suffering from toenail fungus, try adding a few tablespoons of mouthwash to a foot bath every day. Letting your feet soak for 20-30 minutes can help reduce the symptoms of fungus quickly and safely.
Vicks VapoRub is a conventional cold medication that is sold in most drugstores.
When applied to either the chest or feet, VapoRub can help suppress a cough or help de-congest your chest.
In recent years, it has also become a popular "cure-all" for a variety of other ailments, including sore muscles, headaches, and even paper cuts.
When applied to toenail fungus, Vicks VapoRub can help clear up infection quickly and painlessly. Simply dab some of the ointment on the affected area before going to bed.
Repeat this process each night for 1-2 weeks. You should notice a marked improvement on your toe within a few days.
Bleach is a well-known product that's used to clean everything from clothes to bathroom floors.
Many people swear it's also an effective toenail fungus remedy. If you have fungus, add a tablespoon of bleach to a gallon of warm water, and then soak your feet for 20-30 minutes each day.
Use caution when working with bleach and make sure you keep the solution very diluted. Bleach is a powerful chemical agent that can easily burn your fingers or toes.
Olive Leaf Extract
The extract from the olive leaf has many anti-aging, antioxidant, and antibiotic properties.
When applied to toenail fungus, this essential oil can help reduce infection and restore the skin around the nail.
Olive leaf capsules are also available in many alternative health food stores. These can be taken orally to speed up the healing process.