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Fungus nails

18 years ago

Hi, I did a search of the forum to see if this had been discussed, and there's not too much mention. I've had one bad toe for several years now, and the infection is in the skin around the nail, too. Never any fungal problems anywhere else on my feet. A friend said that her step-father cured his by putting Vitamin E on it. After a year of thinking, "yeah, right" I tried it. Interestingly enough, by keeping the toe soaked in oil from a vitamin E capsule, the infected nail eventually got flakey and peeled off a bit at a time. I can't tell if I got it all, because the nail hasn't grown enough yet. But the infection in the skin has bubbled up and gotten really irritated.

What does anyone know about this? Is there some other herbal or essential oil remedy, either internal or topical? Does the infection seem worse because it's being "drawn" to the surface? Any comments or recommendations would be appreciated!


Comments (27)

  • arttulip
    18 years ago

    Try to make a hot foot bath with a strong brewed coffee ( not instant coffee). It is also good for heels.
    Change your socks more frequently.
    Paint the nail with a fresh garlic juice.

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  • Judy_B_ON
    18 years ago

    Have you had your toe seen by a doctor? There are a number of causes of toenail deformities including fungus, mold, yeast and psorais. Diagnosis usually requires microscopic examination, as the nail looks very similar in all cases.

    The source of the infection is in the nail bed where new nail is formed and externally applied oils, ointments, creams etc will have limited ability to treat it.

    There are good oral medictions that do work for these infections; not herbal I know, but they work.

    See the link below for PubMed article about nail infection.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Nail Fungus

  • SilverVista
    Original Author
    18 years ago

    Thanks for all the good information. I haven't had the Dr. look at this toe, but my husband showed a couple of nasty nails to his Dr, and she said the oral medication is too expensive and requires too much monitoring to be worth it. So he seems to be content to live with them. I think it's gross! I'll probably put this on my list for the next visit, because DH's nail problem and mine don't look or act anything alike, and the suggestion that yeasts, molds psoriasis, etc can be involved makes me think I need to know the enemy before I fight it. Interesting comment about sugar too. I gave up caffeine and alcohol in July, and find myself consuming lots of sugar instead. Guess that's the next thing. Hmmm...what's left, lettuce? Oh well!


  • goatgal
    18 years ago

    DH cured his with tea tree oil, but it took a long time, several months.

  • xminion
    18 years ago


    I have had pretty good success with Apple cider vinegar. Get the kind with the "mother" in it. I use Bragg's. Just
    use an eyedropper and drop a few ACV's on the nail infection.

    My doctor told me also that prescription anti-fungul oral medication was not worth ingesting. Very serious side effects!

    Good Luck


  • hemnancy
    18 years ago

    I've been trying the DISTILLED white vinegar treatment from

    He says not to use regular vinegar. My nails are slowly improving. Some people claim Colloidal Silver will cure it but when I tried it my 2 slightly infected nails became 3 severely infected nails, perhaps because the silver killed off bacteria and yeasts holding the fungus in check. I also use some Tea Tree Oil & Vit. E oil to sooth irritation if my skin is irritated when I do the vinegar. I've tried some Oregano oil, Black Walnut tincture, or Grapefruit seed extract in oil, and the Menthol & Camphor oil salve. Desitin under a band-aid can be used to soothe the skin if it becomes really sore or cracked. I think any of these require application several times a day for a long time, but the vinegar does seem to cause a slow improvement- 2 out of 3 of my nails are now visibly normal, though the skin around them is still slightly affected. I won't use the prescription medicines because they can cause liver damage. Getting the right chelated multi-minerals and also taking beef gelatin can help the nails to grow right, too.

  • dumbunni38
    18 years ago

    I also had a big toenail, that had a problem, it turned black, and eventually fell off...(no pain) grew back, and pretty soon turned black again and fell off...I was begininning to feel like a lizard, ya aknow. grow a tail, lose a tail, grow a nail, lose a nail....

    not being a big fan of doctors, I could only wonder what nail #3 would it had started growing out by then.

    About that time, a lady told me that Vicks Vaborrub would help my problem...what the heck...I slathered the stuff on the nail...when I went to bed, being careful not to let it touch the sheets and be rubbed off, at least before I fell asleep...and I only did it 2-3 times...the nail is coming back and I can see the part that had started growing before the Vicks Vaporrub, looks ugly, but the rest of the toenail looks normal...not only that the redness I had around the toenail is also gone....Worked for me,

    hope it helps....

  • Judy_Bug
    18 years ago

    I also was told to soak feet in Listerine.

  • adrianag
    18 years ago

    I read about the Vicks Vapor Rub solution as well...a doctor treated his own toes, I think rubbing it on a couple of times a day and after a couple of months it was gone. The cost was less than $5 vs. hunderds for the prescription stuff.

  • Terrapots
    18 years ago

    I had my husband try Vicks, he had tried vinegar but he couldn't do it twice a day for too long, it did seem to help a little down at the bottom. I read that the Vicks should by used by first filing the nail surface down as much as possible before applying and to apply twice a day. I filed his nails down, he washed his feet using tea tree oil first, and applied the Vicks. In a couple of weeks his nails did look better. He did this again last night but soaked in vinegar and tea tree oil first. His skin turned red around his nails but did not hurt. In the morning he said they looked normal. I had one nail I used tea tree oil on for months. Finally the doctor prescribed the med for me. It was horribly expensive, supposed to use for 3 months. In one week, I broke out in a horribly body rash. I quit the medicine, kept using the tea tree oil and my nail finally grew out normal. I think my liver is still OK, I haven't turned yellow yet but I learned my lesson about RX drugs.

  • kfgesq
    18 years ago

    My daughter had a fungus infection on her skinand i used a variey of things on it and it eventually cleared up. I did not want to use the meds either becuse of the HORRIBLE side effects but after a week of herbs and essential oils she ewanted the "quick pill" so with fear and trepidation gave it to her for 2 days and it got WORSE. so back to the herbs and esential oils. It takes longer but it is worth it. I used a combination of tea tree oil, sweet almond oil (as a carrier oil) myhrr oil, black walnut tincture and grapefruitseed extract. I also used balck walnut tincture and the grapeseed in a little water few times a day as well as a homeopathic preperation. It took awhile but she is fine now.

  • Scottymamof2
    18 years ago

    I would strongly caution against the RX drugs, my Mother took 1 and now, 2 years later, she still has the infection, AND all her nails are so loose she can no longer enjoy gardening, and many other activities she used to enjoy. Anything that might catch a nail can rip them right off her hand.

  • johnyb
    18 years ago

    Get some Tea Tree oil, 3 or 4 cloves garlic, 10 or so Calendula flower heads, and a small jar neutral vit E base cream.

    In a few tablespoons of olive oil, add cushed garlic and shredded calendula leaves, and on VERY low heat simmer for 5 minutes. Alow this to cool and steep overnight.

    To the Vit E cream add 1-2 tablespoons of the above oil (strained first), and 2 teaspoons of tea tree oil.

    Apply 4 times daily to affected areas.


  • Traute_Biogardener
    17 years ago

    Any fungus disease in humans, animals, and even in plants can be cured by changing the pH of the environment. Fungi need a certain pH to proliferate. When you raise or lower that pH, the fungi die. So you can go the baking soda route or the vinegar route in the other direction. Baking soda does not feel good, so I always use vinegar. Raw apple cider vinegar or any home-made vinegar is best, because it is not just acid but it contains living enzymes.

    We spent a fortune on a medication which the doctor prescribed for my husband's nail fungus and it did nothing to cure it. It was supposed to be the only effective remedy. Well, it wasn't. I then applied vinegar directly to his toes and got rid of the fungus very quickly.

    The problem with any fungus is moisture and a lack of air circulation. That is how you get mildew in the garden. People who wear open sandals or thongs don't have nail fungus problems. My husband wears closed shoes all year round, even in the summer. No wonder he had a fungus problem. The foot sweats in the summer and creates the perfect environment for the proliferation of fungi.

    Other good fungus remedies are tea tree oil and natural source vitamin A, squeezed directly from the capsule. The vinegar is definitely the cheapest and also the most effective.

  • Ina Plassa_travis
    17 years ago


    try thyme...fresh better than dried. gather 1 loosely packed cup, add 1 cup boiling water poured over it, and I use one of those little submersion blenders on it. store in the fridge, and apply with an eyedropper or paintbrush (when we started, we soaked cotton balls in the solution, and used it as a poultice)

    this has worked on my husband's 'jungle rot' (he wears the same damned pair of combat boots for weeks at a time, and wonders why he gets athlete's foot, and funky toenails?) as well as a weird fungal thing that I initially went to the Dr for...and the scrip was close to $100 WITH my insurance...

    the hell you say ;)!

  • sheltered_stinks
    15 years ago

    I live in Florida...the capital of beautiful feet and feminine pedicures. HELP! Not ONLY are my feet cracked and dry to the point of peeling- but 5 nails are getting infected and I want nothing more than to display nice feet. I need an herbal remedy that is easy to attain, quick to show results- and is not required to be applied more than twice a day. Does anyone have any of their TOP suggestions? Should I just cave and risk my liver with Lamisil? I am desperate AND a teenager...and I feel like an isolated hermit.

  • novice_2009
    13 years ago

    you r right xminion! I've had a toenail fungus for two years now, and REFUSE to take meds for it, as i know there are serious side effects, and tx is long. I'm afraid i'm going to lose the three nails infected. I've tried tea tree oil, but perhaps not diligently or long enough. It spreads, as it started out as one toenail. My grandmother lost her two big toenails(had to be removed) from this. Is it hereditary or just contagious? I don't know. I just want to stop it! Perhaps i should try some of the above suggestions, and do it long-term, not just during the winter when i'm not painting them. LOL, it's almost pointles to do so at this time as they are not all pretty anymore. Yes, i need to reduce the sugar in my diet, as all fungi feed off of it. I'm thinking of making a foot soak, with above mentioned herbs, and drinking pau d'arco tea. please sheltered, don't cave and sacrifice your liver for vanity. not to say i haven't thought about it......but just don't do it. Also, where do you find "raw" vinegar?

  • rusty_blackhaw
    13 years ago

    How does wearing cotton clothes prevent nail fungus infections?

    Is the website the spammer in the previous message linked to based in China? It doesn't seem like something a native English speaker would have put together (and that doesn't even begin to cover all the incorrect information it cites). As to the product being touted, people looking for herbal antifungal treatment are probably best advised to stick with tea tree oil and not pay more for a bunch of other ingredients with no proven efficacy in treating fungal infection.

  • organic_delila
    12 years ago

    Although someone already mention it, well it was mentioned
    few times :) Tea tree oil worked great for me. My big toe was infected for I don't know how long, and I applied the tea tree oil for about a week or two straight, and a few weeks later, I noticed my toe growing white and clear and no yellow tint. I was very happy :)

  • tropicdude
    11 years ago

    I am not suggesting anyone try this, but I am curious about UV-C sterilizers as a possible treatment.

    I know that UV-C causes cell damage, but if a person was to protect the skin by covering the surrounding area, and give a timed few seconds "burst" of UV to the nail only, It would seem likely to work.

    There are these pocket UV sterilizers wands, I may get one.

    meantime, I am using an OTC anti-fungal and tea tree oil, and if I really get on top of it and use it twice a day, there seems to be improvement. my problem is in 1 toe nail, I had an ingrown toenail infection, about 25 years ago, which required minor super painful cutting, and this nail is curved and partly separated in the middle from the skin underneath, so its difficult to treat because normal heat and moisture from work doesn't help. ( I cant use sandals where i work ).

    I heard Oregano oil is also a great anti-fungal, also soaking your feet in warm water that has a little chlorine,
    and baking soda, this worked great for my athletes foot I had years back.

  • Lauren_Wolfe89
    11 years ago

    Natural remedies are always the best way to go when it comes to toenail fungus. Although not everyone suffering from this condition find success in using natural ailments in treating their toenail fungus, there are also many people who address their nail fungus by applying herbal cures such as tea tree oil, thyme, and oregano oil. You might also want to try this simple steps. Heat cider vinegar until it is lukewarm; place the solution in a basin and soak your feet into it for a good half an hour or so everyday. Also, you can use over the counter treatments such as Fungusil together with these natural remedies. Remember to practice good foot hygiene as well to avoid the fungi from spreading to your other nails or other parts of your body.

  • lynn_5
    10 years ago

    Maybe this is something that you might consider... People from work, the gym, etc. have mentioned that laser treatment may be more effective than other methods. It can be pricey but worth it to really tackle the nail fungus issue to the root. I don't like taking oral meds either. So I'm doing research on laser nail fungus treatment, pinpointe, and doctors who do free consultations.

  • kk1515
    10 years ago

    toenail fungus is an indication that excess dampness and stagnation is present in the inner body. so use external treatments on the toe itself but also examine diet and lifestyle to find the root cause.

    the vinegar soaks and tea tree oil will definitely help. never heard the vicks trick but i hesitate to use hydrocarbons (petroleum products) on my skin....they are absorbed and are not so good for us. its most likely the camphor oil in it that is doing the job anyway so maybe just use that?

  • Sumatra
    8 years ago

    A good soaking in Espom salts or a poultice of bread soaked in unpasteurized ACV (same type as xminion mentioned), should clear it up.

  • HerbDoctor
    8 years ago

    Modern medical surgical procedures would dictate that you cut all the toes off. It would therefore be IMPOSSIBLE to ever have nail fungus again!!


  • rusty_blackhaw
    8 years ago

    What may make Vicks VapoRub somewhat useful in treating fungus-infected nails is that it contains thymol (oil of thyme), which is known to kill some kinds of fungi, at least in cell culture and in an animal study. If one is going to try this, using thymol itself would probably result in a better chance of effective treatment.

    In general, topical therapy is not as good as systemic (oral) treatment, and has to be undertaken over a long period of time. And if the infection is long-standing, it may be impossible to effectively eradicate just using a topical remedy.

    I'm going to assume that Charlie's claim about modern medicine dictating amputation of toes with nail fungus is just a dubious attempt at humor. In very severe nail infections that don't respond to other therapy, it may be necessary to remove the affected nail in a very small percentage of cases. But obviously that doesn't involve amputating the toe.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Fungal nail infection and treatment

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