Yeah. I know. EWWWW. I mean, really – EWWWWW. Right?
But, it does happen. Some people get infections from unsanitary nail salons who don’t sterilize their tools or foot baths; some happen as a result of a case of athlete’s foot gone rogue. Some folks are more susceptible to nail fungus because of diabetes and other immunosuppressing disorders. There are a plethora of videos on YouTube suggesting remedies, some of which may work, and some that really don’t.
Okay, this is where I say ‘be sure to see your doctor before taking any supplements to make sure they won’t interact with your medications or exacerbate a medical condition you have.’ Phew, that part’s over. Here are some remedies that actually work:
Garlic – crushed garlic sandwiched between layers of gauze and taped to the offending nail for a few hours a day has shown efficacy in curing nail fungus. Eating or taking garlic supplements may or may not help clear up the actual nail fungus, but it does help reduce candida in the body – if you have athlete’s foot and/or fungal nails, it’s worth a shot for the low price tag of a bottle of garlic capsules.
In one study using ozonated sunflower oil, it outperformed the prescription treatment Ketoconazole, and the conclusion drawn was that this oil was a very promising new treatment for nail fungus. Coconut oil is a natural antifungal, so it’s possible that the Ozonated Coconut Oil could demonstrate higher rates of effectiveness.
Olive Leaf Extract (OLF) has a high content of polyphenols (oleuropein, hydroxytyrosol, tyrosol, and their derivatives). These active agents in OLF have been shown to have antifungal, antimicrobial, and immune-boosting abilities according to this study. It’s more effective against nail fungus specifically when taken orally. If you want to try OLF, be sure to get one with a high percentage of Oleuropein, like this Pack of 2 x Nature’s Way Olive Leaf Standardized – 60 Capsules at Amazon with 20% Oleuropein.
Pau D’arco – Say what? You’ve never heard of this? This is one of the best fungicides available, and guess what? It smells and tastes delicious! You can buy capsules, but a better way to treat your fungal nails is to brew a cup of tea, then use the teabag to soak your affected nails while enjoying this lovely vanilla-like tea! I like Celebration Herbals Pau D’Arco Inner Bark Tea WC 24 Tea Bag, 48Gm.
Vick’s Vapo Rub – What’s that? You don’t have a cold? Well of course not! I’m talking about applying this age-old cough & congestion remedy to your nails! In this small study it was proven to be more effective in treating and curing nail fungus when tested against a prescription medication! I can definitely attest to this one – having worked on a pool deck and been a triathlete, my feet were exposed to oh-so-much grossness, and yes, I ended up with a nasty case of toenail fungus on a few of my nails. The best way to treat it without stinking up your bedsheets at night is to apply a generous amount to the nail, then wrap it with a bandaid twice a day. BE AWARE that your affected nail will start to peel, lift, and eventually come off. Keep applying it even if this happens, and combine it with other remedies to get a quicker cure (such as taking garlic, OLE, and using P’au D’arco. Once that nail comes off, you have full access to the fungus, so the tea bags and Vick’s can get right to the fungus on the skin!
Black Walnut – Black Walnut tincture is made from the hulls of black walnuts. This is a very powerful antifungal, and can easily be applied to infected nails by dropper – vòila! A quick, easy way to treat your nail fungus. I’d be concerned about using this if you had an allergy to nuts. After doing a LOT of research, the tincture I found that was best suited to treating nail fungus is this one. If you can find one that also has Wormwood in it, grab that – Wormwood is also a natural antifungal.
So that’s SIX powerful, proven, effective remedies for you, and honestly, if you really wanted to kill that fungus, there is no harm in using all the remedies together to get rid of that fungus as quickly as possible. I will warn you, even after the nail seems to have grown in properly, and looks oh-so-pretty, you should continue to treat it (except with the Vick’s, as this can cause even healthy nails to peel and lift). It can take anywhere from months to a year or more to cure fungus, but these treatments were among the best of all the treatments I was able to find, unless I write a book. *if you’re interested in trying any of the above cures, simply click on the picture to go to Amazon to order. These remedies are so inexpensive!
Here’s more of the necessary blah-blah-blah about nail fungus.
If you have nail fungus, you may have athlete’s foot. These remedies can also help with that, and Black Walnut Tincture can really help with the crazy itchiness of athlete’s foot. Your nail fungus will not clear up if you still have athlete’s foot (or hand, or whatever). Don’t use these remedies on your – er – ‘package’ or ‘girl parts’; jock itch, as it’s known, shouldn’t be treated with these topically. (Imagine Vick’s Vapo Rub down there?) *shudder*
Do NOT wear nail polish to cover it up! Covering fungal nails with polish is like creating a perfect little ecosystem for the fungus to flourish. And definitely don’t get fake nails put on to hide it! Make sure you keep your feet clean, dry, and wear cotton socks that wick moisture away from feet, use powder in your socks, and heck, go barefoot if you can (in flip-flops or sandals for everyone else’s sake in the household – it’s contagious).
WHAT DOESN’T WORK
Before you get all mad at me because you’ve seen thousands of testimonials saying that these things work, please bear with me. Nothing upsets me more (again, I’m OCD) than people who claim things work without providing peer-reviewed, scientific studies that clearly demonstrate that their claim is accurate, so read on.
Apple Cider Vinegar – No, seriously. No matter how many YouTube videos, tutorials, and other media you may have read about the amazing curing ability of apple cider vinegar for fungal nails, I’m telling you straight out – it doesn’t work. ‘Nuff said, you can read about it here. No study has ever shown that it works.
Grapefruit Seed Extract – You can read all about this very dangerous ‘supplement’ here but I’ll give you the general rundown. Twenty years of studies have shown that there is no evidence at all that Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) has any, even minute, antifungal properties. Furthermore, GSE is nearly impossible to find in its pure form, without a lot of potentially harmful additives. Even if you find the pure form, well, we know it won’t work, but worse yet, like other citruses, it can interfere with any meds you are taking – and I don’t just mean your meds may not work. Mixing GSE with any meds could literally kill you, either by killing your liver, or making the drugs you’re taking far more potent. Just – don’t – take it.
Hydrogen Peroxide – This one cracks me up. There are absolutely no scientific studies to show that hydrogen peroxide works to cure either athlete’s foot or nail fungus, yet, people will still tell you that it works wonderfully, such as in this article. At least they’re honest, and admit that there is no scientific evidence to back it up. Don’t waste your time trying it.
Bleach – Okay come on now. We’re getting a little ridiculous. Refer to the above article if you wish to read about how it’s supposed to be used alongside the warning that bleach is corrosive and will damage/burn skin. No studies have been done on the effectiveness of bleach on fungal nails that demonstrated any kind of effectiveness. And that’s all I have to say about that.
Tea Tree Oil – Okay okay just wait – yes, Tea Tree Oil is an antifungal. Yes, it may work on mild cases of athlete’s foot. But when it comes to fungal nails, there just isn’t enough evidence to tout it as a highly effective treatment to cure nail fungus. Interestingly, it may actually be very helpful in assisting medical creams to penetrate deeper into the nail where the fungus actually lives, and it does inhibit the growth of the fungus to an extent, however, much more research is needed before we can say it’s a ‘cure’. If you want to combine it with Black Walnut Tincture, you may have a very powerful cure; try putting the Tea Tree Oil on first, then the Black Walnut Tincture; this is my own suggestion based on research; but, research has also shown that the reason natural oils and tinctures tend to work is because they are capable of penetrating deep into the infected nail, so it may not matter at all which goes on first.
Prescription Medications – ha, ha…you think I’m kidding, right? Nope. Oral medications can be deadly, can leave you with no sense of taste, and can damage or kill your liver. They need to be used for at least a year in most cases to clear up the infection, and then it usually comes back anyway. Nail lacquers, creams, and so on can’t penetrate the nail enough to be effective. Study after study has demonstrated that Vick’s Vapo Rub and other herbal remedies (such as tinctures and oils) actually work far better than their medicinal counterparts. My doctor wouldn’t give me a prescription for Penlac (an anti-fungal nail lacquer that I’d used without success for almost a year) because she said ‘Vick’s. Vick’s works.’ Oh, and there’s one more thing – medications for fungal nails is very, very expensive.
One last note – if you’re going to treat your nails to kill the fungus, you should probably encourage healthy nail regrowth by taking Biotin and Salmon oil (or Evening Primrose Oil for vegetarians). Again, check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any supplements.