When a person is diagnosed with nail fungus, it is only normal he/she is interested in seeking out the right treatment. However, as the doctor will clearly point out, medicated creams and other topical solutions might take between several months and a year to clear up the infection. Oral drugs are stronger but they come with side-effects. Given such matters, turning to home remedies seems like the natural thing to do.
As you will have the opportunity to read in the following paragraphs, there are plenty of solutions available, many, if not all of them, being based on natural remedies.
Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil has often been praised for its natural, antifungal properties, acting not only as an efficient treatment solution but also preventing the infection from spreading to other nails. If you want to benefit from this natural remedy, all you have to do is pour several drops of tea tree oil in warm water and soak your affected nails in the resulting mixture. When done, wash your feet with warm, soapy water and dry them thoroughly. Repeat the soak two times per day, for several weeks or until you notice the desired results.
As an alternative to the tea tree oil soak, you can pour a few drops on a cotton ball and apply it directly on the affected nail(s). For the best results, you can mix the tea tree oil with other essential oils, such as: olive, thyme, orange, grapeseed or grapefruit.
Numerous studies have confirmed the efficiency of tea tree oil as a treatment of toenail fungus. In a study published on Mycopathologia, researchers demonstrated that nanocapsules containing tea tree oil were highly efficient in treating nail fungal infections. Moreover, the administration of these capsules prevented the fungal infection from growing and spreading to other areas.
While salt cannot eliminate the actual fungal infection, it can be extremely effective at improving the experienced symptomatology. You can easily prepare a soothing foot bath, by mixing two tablespoons of salt with warm water. As an alternative to regular salt, you can use Himalayan crystal salt or Celtic sea salt. The affected nails should be soaked for about ten minutes and the bath repeated each day, in order to provide the best results.
One of the most active ingredients of tea is tannic acid, a substance which is known for its astringent properties (this is one of the main reasons why tea is often recommended as a natural remedy for beautiful skin). As with salt, tea cannot eliminate the fungal infection but, given its astringent properties, it can take away the conditions that favor fungi to grow and develop. Basically, tea is a natural remedy that can help sweaty feet become both dry and cool.
The first thing that you want to do is take several tea bags and place them in one liter of boiling water. Allow for five minutes to pass before removing the bags from the water and let the tea cool (until it becomes lukewarm). Once it has cooled, you can go ahead and soak your feet in the tea. Keep them in there for half an hour and dry them thoroughly when done. Tip: choose black tea, as this delivers the best results!
You might not expect plain yoghurt to be an efficient natural remedy against nail fungus but it actually is. The truth is that yoghurt has a rich content in friendly bacteria, probiotics, such as acidophilus. When applied directly to the skin, these friendly microorganisms can actually help with the healing of the fungal infection and even prevent re-infection. In order to benefit from its healthy properties, all you have to do is apply it on the infected nails. Allow the yoghurt to dry, then rinse it off with warm water. Repeat the process every day, for several weeks or until the infection clears.
Mustard powder has strong antifungal properties, representing an excellent remedy against nail fungus. You can easily use this natural remedy by mixing it with a little bit of water and applying the resulting paste on the affected nails. Allow the paste to dry before rinsing it off with lukewarm water. As an alternative, you can add mustard powder to a larger volume of water and enjoy a nice, soothing footbath. Keep your feet in there for about half an hour, then dry them off with a clean towel.
Calendula is a powerful herb, one that has been used for centuries by specialists in traditional medicine. This herb has naturally healing properties, being particularly effective on wounds and skin conditions. It seems that calendula has both anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties, which makes it a suitable choice for nail fungus. Calendula ointments can be rubbed directly on the affected nails and also in between the toes, where the fungal microorganisms tend to thrive (given the excess moisture and warmth).
Ginger is one of the best remedies against nail fungus, having powerful antifungal properties and a pleasant smell to deliver at the same time (we all know the foul odor that can occur due to a fungal infection, so having a remedy that can work on that as well is quite nice).
In order to benefit from its natural properties, take some fresh ginger and chop it in small pieces. Add the chopped ginger to boiling water and let it simmer for about twenty minutes. Allow to cool and then soak your affected nails in the ginger water. As an alternative, you can also apply the mixture to the nails, using a cotton ball. The application can be repeated two times per day, for a couple of weeks or until the infection has cleared of.
Snakeroot is actually a plant, known by the name of ageratina pichinchensis, being well recognized for its strong antifungal properties. Studies have confirmed that the snakeroot extract could efficiently treat nail fungus and other fungal infections.
In a study published on Planta Med, the effectiveness of the snakeroot extract has been assessed on patients diagnosed with onychomycosis (mild to moderate). Patients were administered a topical lacquer solution containing snakeroot extract. It was concluded that snakeroot extract presents a high therapeutic success, being well-tolerated by patients suffering from nail fungus.
Natural coniferous resin
In another study published on Mycoses, natural coniferous resin was presented as a natural, home remedy against nail fungus. Patients diagnosed with toenail onychomycosis were administered a lacquer solution, containing spruce resin (from the Norway spruce, Picea abies). This natural solution has been confirmed to have strong antifungal properties, representing a suitable topical treatment for nail fungus.
Patients were administered this treatment solution on a daily basis, for a period of 9 months. The effectiveness of the treatment was concluded upon taking nail samples and performing a mycological culture. Some patients experienced only the partial healing of the nail, while others benefitted from complete healing.
Other home remedies
Here are other several home remedies you can consider for the effective treatment of nail fungus:
• Ozonated olive oil/sunflower oil – this is actually a paste, which can be easily applied to the infected nail(s); you can also use it to prevent a fungal infection from occurring
• Colloidal silver – this is an often recommended remedy against nail fungus, being presented in the form of a spray; for the best results, maintain the application overnight
• Neem oil – go for the organic variety and apply it to dry and clean feet, using a cotton ball.
Ozonated sunflower oil has been confirmed to be an effective remedy against nail fungus in a study published on Mycoses. The study demonstrated that the application of this natural solution can restore the health of the nails, allowing the nails to regain their normal color, texture and thickness.
Self-care measures are important too
If you have decided to take care of your nail fungus, the application of natural remedies is not sufficient. You should also consider some self-care measures, such as:
• Wearing socks that are made from fabrics which can absorb excess moisture
• Drying your feet thoroughly, after you have taken a bath or a shower
• Changing your shoes and your socks on a daily basis (even several times a day, if you have sweaty feet)
• Using medicated antifungal powder as a preventative measure
• Wearing slippers or flip-flops in public places (swimming pools, locker rooms, gyms etc.).
Nail fungus is a common fungal infection and it can take a long time to eliminate, especially when using topical or oral medication. By choosing home remedies, you will be able to escape such an infection in an easier and faster manner. The most important thing is that you maintain excellent foot hygiene and avoid all sources of re-infection. Do not share objects of personal hygiene with other people and wash your hands with soap, each time you have touched an infected nail. Remember, you can spread the infection yourself, from one part of the body to the other.
 Antifungal activity of nanocapsule suspensions containing tea tree oil on the growth of tricophyton rubrum. Mycopathologia, 2013, 175(3-4). Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23392821
 Double-blind clinical trial for evaluating the effectiveness and tolerability of Ageratina pichinchensis extract on patients with mild to moderate onychomycosis. Planta Med, 2008, 74(12). Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18671197
 Natural coniferous resin lacquer in treatment of toenail onychomycosis: an observational study. Mycoses, 2013, 56(3). Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23131104
 Therapeutic efficacy of topical OLEOZON in patients suffering from onychomycosis. Mycoses, 2011, 54(5). Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20492527
Amy is a foot massage therapist that has worked with doctors specializing in podiatry while helping numerous clients through various foot conditions. She has reviewed 100s of related foot health products for plantar fasciitis, toenail fungus and more.