12 Home Remedies for Nail Fungus that are Simple Yet Effective

 

It usually starts as a small white or yellow stain under the nails that you may not even notice [1].

However, as the nail fungal infection penetrates more deeply, it can cause the nail to discolor and break [1].

The nails eventually become thick, brittle and crumbly on the edges [2].

The other signs and symptoms of nail fungus include scaling under the nail, flaking white areas on the surface of the nail, unpleasant odor from the infected nail and loss of nail.

This condition, otherwise known as onychomycosis or tinea unguium, is not only unsightly but also painful and annoying [2].

It more commonly affects the toenails than the fingernails [2].

If you’d like to get rid of this problem, you may use antifungal medications, which are available widely.

The only problem is, some fungal strains have become resistant to medications.

If your nail infection seems difficult to treat, or if it keeps coming back, try using these home remedies which are simple but effective.

1. Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil, which is derived from a “shrub-like” tree in Australia, contains active compounds such as terpinen-4-ol and cineole that disinfect and fight fungal infections, penetrating quickly into the skin [3].

Its antifungal mechanisms have been demonstrated in several studies [4, 5].

It has also been shown to work against Trichophyton rubrum, a type of dermatophyte that causes nail infection and other fungal diseases [6].

In a clinical trial that you can find at the Tropical Medicine & International Health Journal, 60 patients with onychomycosis were divided into two groups, the first of which was given a cream formulation that includes 5 percent tea tree oil, and the other group was asked to use a placebo [7].

Results show that 80 percent of the tea tree oil group were cured of nail infection while none from the placebo group had a resolved case of infection [7].

Because there are no reports of toxicity or hypersensitive reactions from the use of tea tree oil, it can be assumed that it’s safe to use [3].

What You Will Need:

  • 5 drops of tea tree oil
  • 1 teaspoon of coconut oil

 

Recommended Directions:

  • Combine tea tree oil and coconut oil.
  • Pour mixture into a glass jar.
  • Cover the jar with its lid.
  • Shake the contents of the jar to mix well.
  • Using a cotton ball, apply oil mixture on infected nail.
  • Let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Gently scrub the nail with an old but clean toothbrush.
  • Repeat remedy three times a day until infection disappears.

2. Olive Oil

In Mediterranean countries, olive oil is considered a staple food, a popular ingredient added in salads, main courses, and almost every type of dish [8].

Not only do people love its unique flavor and silky texture, they also appreciate its numerous benefits for the health.

This oil has been proven in scientific research as a powerful antioxidant, analgesic and anti-inflammatory [9, 10, 11].

Plus, it’s also an antifungal agent that can inhibit the activities of various infection-causing dermatophytes [12].

One of these is Trichophyton rubrum, which is responsible for nail fungal infection [12].

It can also kill other fungal strains such as those that cause yeast infection or candidiasis [12].

What You Will Need:

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 drops of lavender oil
  • 1 drop of oregano oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Put all ingredients in a bowl.
  • Transfer mixture to a glass jar with a lid.
  • Seal the jar and shake.
  • Apply mixture on the affected nail using a cotton tip.
  • Leave it on for 20 minutes before washing your feet with warm water.
  • Use this procedure everyday for one to two weeks.

3. Oregano Oil

Oregano oil comes from a shrub that can be commonly found in the stony slopes and rocky mountains of the Mediterranean, Irano-Siberian and Euro-Siberian regions [13].

Known for its intense aroma and flavor, it is widely used in culinary, cosmetics, and perfumery [13].

But that’s not all, it also has earned a place in traditional medicine, as it can cure a wide range of ailments including nail fungal infections [13].

In 1998, researchers from Greece investigated the antifungal effects of four essential oils including oregano oil [14].

Results show that oregano oil had the highest antifungal activities among all the essential oils tested [14].

It caused a 95 percent reduction in active cells in the fungus Trichophyton rubrum within six hours of use [14].

Its fungicidal properties can be attributed to the presence of carvacrol and thymol [14].

What You Will Need:

  • 2 drops of oregano oil
  • 1 teaspoon of almond oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Pour oregano and almond oil in a jar.
  • Cover the jar.
  • Shake it well to blend.
  • Apply this oil combination on the affected nails.
  • Wait for at least half an hour before rinsing.
  • Don’t forget to dry toes completely.
  • Do this remedy twice a day for three to four weeks.

4. Cinnamon Oil

If you think cinnamon does nothing but sweeten up your pastries and desserts, think again.

Oil extracted from the bark of cinnamon is actually a potent medicinal remedy that can cure a multitude of health problems.

The list of ailments it can treat includes onychomycosis or nail fungal infection.

A study conducted by Indian researchers in 2011 reveal that cinnamon oil can inhibit the growth and spread of various fungal strains including Trichophyton rubrum [15].

Its cinnamaldehyde is said to play a key role in its antifungal actions [15].

According to the research, this component reduced the elastase activity of fungi by up to 96.5 percent [15].

What You Will Need:

  • 1 basin of warm water
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Pour warm water in a basin.
  • Add cinnamon oil.
  • Swish water with your fingers to blend water and oil.
  • Soak your feet in the basin.
  • Do this for 30 minutes.
  • Dry your feet thoroughly afterwards.
  • Repeat procedure once a day until condition improves.

5. Turmeric

Also called haldi or Indian saffron, turmeric is a perennial herb grown in India, France, Belgium and Indonesia, among other countries [16].

For many years, it has been an important part of Ayurvedic and Chinese traditional medicines, treating all sorts of health problems including jaundice, menstrual pain, bloating and many others [16].

Among the countless issues it can resolve is fungal infection of the fingernails or toenails.

A 1995 study conducted in Chiang Mai University in Thailand tested the inhibitory effects of turmeric on isolates of dermatophytes, yeasts and molds [17].

It was found that turmeric worked against dermatophytes such as Trichophyton rubrum, but did not have any effects on yeast [17].

Turmeric effectively halted the activities of this particular group of fungi and prevented infection after seven days of topical application [17].

What You Will Need:

  • 1 tablespoon of turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon of ginger juice

Recommended Directions:

  • Combine ginger juice and turmeric.
  • Mix well.
  • Using an old but clean toothbrush, apply mixture on infected nails.
  • Scrub gently.
  • Do this for a few seconds.
  • Rinse with warm water.
  • Follow procedure three times a week for one month.

6. Lemongrass Oil

If you can no longer bear looking at your yellowish distorted fingernail or toenail, then make use of lemongrass to get rid of this fungal infection.

Of the 13 essential oils probed for their antifungal mechanism against several strains of dermatophytes, lemongrass was among those with the highest inhibitory activity, reports a 1993 study [18].

Findings show that lemongrass oil caused a reduction in dermatophyte strains by up to 80 percent [18].

In another study performed by a team of Indian scientists, it was also confirmed that this oil has potent fungicidal actions against Trichophyton rubrum [15].

But of course, as with other essential oils, you cannot use lemongrass oil undiluted as this may irritate your skin.

Always combine it with a carrier oil such as coconut oil to ensure safety.

What You Will Need:

  • 1 teaspoon of coconut oil
  • 5 drops of lemongrass oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Mix coconut oil and lemongrass oil in a bowl.
  • Pour content into a glass jar.
  • Mix by shaking the jar covered with a lid.
  • Apply oil mixture on nails using a cotton pad.
  • Wrap the whole feet including the toenails with a towel.
  • Let it sit for 30 minutes.
  • Rinse off with warm water.
  • Pat it dry with a clean towel.
  • Use this remedy once a day for two to three weeks.

7. Clove

Have you tried treating your nail fungal infection but have not been successful?

If yes, it’s probably a good idea to try home remedies such as clove oil.

Brazilian researchers have discovered that clove oil has beneficial effects for those suffering from onychomycosis [19].

And that’s because this oil can effectively control the fungal strain causing the infection, thanks to its major component eugenol [19].

In a different study done in the University of Porto in Portugal, clove oil which had a high concentration of eugenol at 85.3 percent, prevented synthesis and spread of fungi [20].

Specifically, it reduced the number of ergosterol, a component in the fungal cell membrane, and at the same time, stopped the germ tube formation [20].

What You Will Need:

  • 5 drops of clove oil
  • 1 basin of warm water

Recommended Directions:

  • Boil water in a pot.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Pour water into a basin.
  • Wait until the water is warm but can be tolerated by your skin.
  • It shouldn’t be too hot as you don’t want to scald your skin.
  • Soak your feet in the water.
  • Add clove oil.
  • Wait for 30 minutes before removing your feet from the soak.
  • Dry your feet thoroughly.
  • You can do this technique once a day for up to three weeks.

8. Lavender

Just the mere mention of the word lavender can immediately make you feel calm and relaxed.

It’s probably because your brain has already associated this essential oil with relaxation effects that have already been confirmed numerous times in scientific literature [21, 22, 23].

But did you know that lavender has many other purposes apart from toning down anxiety and stress levels?

Lavender oil is actually a strong antifungal agent, which you can use if you have nail fungal infection.

Science Daily featured a study that verified lavender oil’s ability to kill fungal cells.

Researchers explain that it does so by damaging the fungi’s cell membrane but they recommend further studies to be done on this matter [24].

What You Will Need:

  • 5 drops of lavender oil
  • 5 drops of tea tree oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Combine the two oils in a glass jar.
  • Top with the lid, and shake to blend.
  • Apply oil mixture on the edge of the infected nail and the skin surrounding it.
  • Let it sit for 10 minutes.
  • Rinse it off.
  • Be sure to dry your toes carefully.
  • Do this remedy three times a day until infection subsides.

9. Garlic

When it comes to garlic’s strong flavor and pungent aroma, it’s either you love it or you hate it.

But here’s something that everyone will appreciate: garlic’s medicinal value.

As you probably know, garlic is one of the most widely used herbal remedies that have been found effective in treating many kinds of ailments.

It’s also an excellent way to keep fungal infections at bay.

Its antifungal actions have been established in various scientific investigations [25, 26, 27, 28].

These are attributable to the active compounds in garlic namely ajoene, allicin, and methyl allyl thiosulphinate [27, 28].

What You Will Need:

  • 1 teaspoon of white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Combine white vinegar and garlic oil.
  • Pour mixture on the infected nail and the skin around it.
  • Cover with a bandage.
  • Leave it on for two to three hours.
  • Remove bandage.
  • Wash feet with warm water.
  • Pat it dry with a clean towel.
  • Do this everyday until infection is cured.

10. Orange Oil

Orange oil’s antifungal properties make it a suitable treatment for nail infections and other fungal conditions.

In a clinical trial featured at the International Journal of Dermatology, 60 patients with nail fungus were divided into three groups, one of which was given a 25 percent solution of orange oil for three days [29].

In this group, 80 percent of the patients were cured in one to two weeks while the remaining 20 percent had their infections cleared in the next three weeks [29].

According to the study, orange oil did not have any side effects but could cause mild irritation when used in pure form [29].

A Korean study verified that the limonene in orange oil can successfully inhibit the activities of Trichophyton rubrum [30].

What You Will Need:

  • 2 drops of orange oil
  • 1 teaspoon of grapeseed oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Combine orange oil and grapeseed oil.
  • Apply this oil solution on your nails using a dropper.
  • Wait for 30 minutes to one hour before rinsing.
  • This remedy can be used three times a day until condition clears.

11. Black Cumin Oil

Commonly cultivated in Eastern Europe, Middle and Western Asia, and the Middle East, black cumin is widely known for its ability to cure innumerable ailments [31].

It is also recognized for its strong pharmacological effects.

In fact, it is used far and wide as an anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiparasitic and antifungal [31].

Most of its biologic properties can be attributed to its main active compounds such as thymol and carvacrol, among others [31].

Now when it comes to combating fungal infections such as those affecting the nails, its thymoquinone is what goes into action [31].

This chemical has significant inhibitory effects against dermatophytes that cause these types of infections [31].

What You Will Need:

  • 2 drops of black cumin oil
  • 1 teaspoon of almond oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Mix the two oils in a bowl.
  • Put mixture in a glass jar with lid.
  • Cover with lid and shake to blend.
  • Use a cotton bud to apply a few drops of the mixture on the affected nail.
  • Repeat several times a day for up to one week.

12. Olive Leaf Extract

Did you know that the olive tree can live for up to hundreds of years?

That’s because it has very strong resistance against various types and strains of microbes [32].

Many scientists have come to know olive’s antimicrobial properties, which is why it has become the subject of many studies.

In traditional medicine, meanwhile, the extract from olive leaves is used for various medicinal applications.

Research has shown that the phenolic compounds in olive leaf extract can efficiently suppress the growth and spread of fungal strains that cause nail fungal infection [32].

The use of olive leaf extract is especially useful in this time when there’s an increased resistance to antifungals and antibiotics.

What You Will Need:

  • 1 cup of olive leaves
  • 1 cup of water

Recommended Directions:

  • Boil water in a pot.
  • Add olive leaves.
  • Simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Transfer solution to a basin.
  • Soak feet in the solution for 30 minutes.
  • Rinse feet with warm water.
  • Pat it dry completely.
  • Repeat remedy twice a day for one to two weeks.

Nail fungal infection is not life threatening but it can be very unpleasant.

So this problem doesn’t bother you anymore, make use of these natural antifungal remedies that are simple to put together but are highly effective in combating nail fungi.