Toenail fungus is an unpleasant condition, but a common one. It’s estimated that around 10% of people will suffer from a fungal nail infection at some point in their life. Symptoms can include discolored, brittle nails, persistent itching, and a foul smell coming from the area. Nails infected with fungus can be a real source of embarrassment for sufferers.
Luckily, there are some good treatments that are proven to work. From the prescription-strength treatments that are available from medical professionals to over-the-counter (OTC) options with powerful active ingredients, there are lots of routes that sufferers can take as they seek a cure. Many people also look to natural, herbal remedies as a solution.
Some OTC and prescription treatments have side-effects that many people would rather avoid. This is partly why natural remedies have become so popular. Herbal treatments for fungal nail infections can also be much cheaper – you may even have some of them stashed away in your cupboards already.
Table of Contents:
- 1 Why Choose Herbal Remedies for Toenail Fungus?
- 2 What Are the Best Natural Toenail Fungus Treatments?
- 3 Alternative Remedies That Aren’t Strictly Natural
- 4 Do Natural Remedies Work for Curing Fungal Toenail Infections?
- 5 Read Our Latest Posts:
Why Choose Herbal Remedies for Toenail Fungus?
With so many OTC and prescription options to treat toenail fungus, what are the benefits of choosing a herbal remedy? Here are some of the advantages:
- Financial limitations are one of the most common reasons why people choose herbal treatments. Prescriptions can be very expensive and are unlikely to be covered by your health insurance. Herbal remedies are often much cheaper and easier to come by, making them a more budget-friendly option.
- Some prescription treatments, if taken too often, have also been linked with forms of liver damage, known as drug-induced liver disease. These medications are very powerful and must be taken sparingly.
- Most herbal treatments have no negative side-effects. If you’ve used an OTC treatment or taken a prescription treatment which caused negative side-effects, you may want to experiment with a herbal option instead. The lack of side-effects also means you can use multiple herbal treatments at the same time, which could lead to more noticeable results.
What Are the Best Natural Toenail Fungus Treatments?
But do natural remedies for toenail fungus work? Which ones are the most effective? What are the top remedies? Let’s take a look.
Tea Tree Oil As a Toenail Fungus Remedy
Tea tree oil has both antiseptic and antifungal properties, which make it a powerful natural remedy for toenail fungus. It’s readily available in pharmacies, health food stores, and many online marketplaces – and it’s relatively cheap, too.
You can use tea tree oil in its undiluted form. First, make sure the affected area is clean and dry. Then, using a cotton pad or Q-tip, apply the oil to the nail, and let it soak in. Once the oil has soaked in, around ten minutes later, use a soft-bristle nailbrush to scrub the affected area.
If you find the undiluted tea tree oil to be too strong, you can also dilute it with a carrier oil. It’s best to choose natural oils like almond, olive or coconut oil for this purpose. Apply it in the same way as you would the undiluted version.
Repeat these steps every day until the infected nail grows out and is replaced with a healthy one. It’s also recommended that you continue using tea tree oil for some weeks after the infection has been cured. This will help reduce the risk of reoccurrence and keep your toenails healthy.
Olive Leaf Extract to Treat Toenail Fungus
Olive leaf extract is another natural substance which has been found to fight fungal infections. It’s said to boost the body’s immune system, allowing the body to fight the fungus internally, killing it from the inside out. Many experts have labeled this substance a ‘natural antibiotic.’
This herbal remedy should be taken as a supplement, rather than applied topically to the toenail. You can also enjoy the benefits of this remedy in tea form – although this may take longer to treat the infection as it’s diluted. Many people choose to continue drinking olive leaf tea after they’ve cured their infection, to prevent the fungus from returning.
There are many different brands of olive leaf extract supplement out there, but you should be looking for a 100% natural, organic option. This will help to detoxify your body and cure the fungal infection.
The sheer power of Olive leaf extract might surprise you. That’s why it’s recommended that you start with a low dosage of this supplement, increasing it as you grow accustomed to its effects.
Using Cinnamon Leaf Oil to Treat Fungal Infections
Cinnamon is a natural herb, which is used as an anti-inflammatory. Natural cinnamon leaf oil also has antifungal properties and can be used to treat fungal nail infections.
The oil can be applied topically, directly to the affected area. Follow the same rules as you would if using tea tree oil: let the oil soak in, then gently scrub at the infected area with a soft brush every day.
You could also try doubling up on the effects of cinnamon by drinking cinnamon tea each day, as you use your cinnamon leaf oil. Don’t be tempted to purchase ground cinnamon – this is not effective and won’t provide the same effects as natural cinnamon leaf oil.
Apple Cider Vinegar As a Fungal Nail Treatment
Apple cider vinegar is hailed in natural remedy circles, because of its antibacterial, antifungal, pH-balancing properties. Like some of the other herbal options on this list, you can apply apple cider vinegar topically, take it internally, or do both for a more powerful approach.
To consume apple cider vinegar internally, mix two tablespoons of organic apple cider vinegar with plenty of warm water and a dash of honey (manuka honey is a great choice) or stevia (a natural sweetener). Drink once or twice a day for best results.
To apply topically, create a solution that includes one part apple cider vinegar and one part Epsom salts with at least six parts hot water. This should be mixed in a container large enough for your feet – you can do it in the bathtub, in a basin or an electric foot spa machine. Soak your feet for up to thirty minutes once or twice per day to kill off fungus and restore your toenails over time.
Use Oregano Oil to Cure Toenail Fungus
Oregano oil is another effective treatment made from totally natural ingredients. This powerful substance is an antiseptic, an antibiotic and antifungal solution. It should be used in the same way as you’d use tea tree oil cinnamon leaf oil. When applied once or twice daily over a period of months, you’ll see a real decrease in the toenail fungus and a healthy nail growing in its place.
Can Cornmeal Be Used to Treat Fungal Nails?
You’ve all heard of the phrase ‘fighting fire with fire.’ That’s exactly what the cornmeal approach does. Corn contains a type of fungus that is harmless to the body but can kill off the fungus that is responsible for your infections. You’re fighting fungus with fungus.
Mix one cup of cornmeal with two cups of water in a container large enough for your feet to rest in. Then submerge your feet for between thirty minutes and one hour. Anecdotally, many have claimed that it only needs to be carried out once per week. You may want to experiment to find the regularity which works best for you.
Cornmeal is completely harmless, with no side-effects, so you can repeat the treatment as frequently as you wish. You can also combine it with other natural fungus-fighting treatments like the ones listed here, for more powerful results.
Alternative Remedies That Aren’t Strictly Natural
These remedies aren’t exactly ‘natural,’ but they’re alternative treatment options which are easy to find just about anywhere. The first of these is Listerine.
Listerine is a product for cleaning and rinsing your mouth after you’ve brushed your teeth. But it also contains eucalyptol and thymol, which can treat fungal infections very effectively. Salicylate is also included in Listerine – this helps you to get rid of dead skin cells so that new ones can grow, promoting regeneration.
To use Listerine as a fungal nail treatment, mix equal parts Listerine and warm water in a container big enough for your feet, and soak for up to thirty minutes before lightly scrubbing the affected nails with a soft brush.
VapoRub is a common product in every medicine cabinet. It’s often used to relieve blocked noses when you’re suffering from a cold. This product also contains thymol, which can destroy the Candida that leads to foot fungus. Simply rub VapoRub onto your infected nail regularly, and you should start to see results within a few weeks.
Do Natural Remedies Work for Curing Fungal Toenail Infections?
When it comes to assessing how effective natural remedies are, most of the evidence is purely anecdotal. But when so many people come forward to say that a certain remedy, such as tea tree oil or cornmeal, has been effective for them, it’s always worth giving it a try for yourself.
Always do your research before you invest in a herbal product. Make sure you’re buying natural, organic products wherever possible, and follow the instructions carefully. It’s usually completely safe to combine these treatments and experiment to see which combination brings the best results for you. If you notice irritation or redness after using one of these natural treatments, cease immediately and see a doctor.