Onychomycosis, better known as a fungal nail infection, is characterized by discoloration, coupled with thickening, ridging, or even detachment of the nail from the nailbed. If you suffer from a persistent nail fungus, you’re not alone. In fact, it is estimated that 1 in 25 people will be affected by some sort of nail fungus infection in their lifetime. In most cases, fungal nail infections do not pose a serious threat to your health, but because of their unsightly appearances, it often causes more embarrassment than it does physical discomfort. Because of that, many have sought out topical treatments, only to be left disappointed with the results.
The reason many topical preparations are ineffective is that nail fungus can hide deep inside the nail making it hard for the treatment to penetrate the nailbed. Alternatively, oral treatments have a much higher success rate but may come with a variety of unpleasant side effects ranging from skin rashes to possible liver damage.
No doubt the prevalence of this condition, combined with limited treatment options, has led many to seek alternative, natural, therapies in an effort to eradicate the issue. Here are the top 3 natural alternatives that may offer some promising relief for nail fungus:
Tea Tree Oil: According to research, in some cases, twice daily application of pure tea tree oil on the nail for 6 months has resulted in partial or full resolution of nail fungus.
Grapefruit Seed Extract: Similar to tea tree oil, some recommend applying grapefruit seed extract twice a day to the affected area, for several months, which may help to resolve the fungus.
Garlic: Dr. Andrew Weil, a world-renowned leader in the field of integrative medicine, recommends garlic as a natural alternative. He says, “eating one to two cloves of raw garlic a day may be helpful over time as garlic has significant antifungal properties”. If the taste (or smell!) of raw garlic is not for you, a nutritional supplement may be a viable alternative.
(1) Ghannoum, M., Isham, N. (2014). Fungal nail infections (onychomycosis): A never-ending story? Pathogens, 10 (6): e1004105.
(2) Gregor. M. (2019 July 13). Does tea tree work oil for nail fungus? Retrieved from https://nutritionfacts.org/video/does-tea-tree-oil-work-for-nail-fungus/
(3) Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (2018, June 14). Nail fungus: Overview. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279547/
(4) Rogawansamy, S. et al (2015). An evaluation of antifungal agents for the treatment of fungal contamination in indoor air environments. Environmental Research and Public Health, 12(6): 6319-6332.
(5) Weil, A. (2016, May 1). Nail fungus. Retrieved from https://www.drweil.com/health-wellness/body-mind-spirit/feet/nail-fungus/