The best home remedies for toenail fungus

What is the best home remedy for toenail fungus?

Toenail fungus is a common infection of the toenails. It is contagious, so it can often start in one toenail and spread to several others.

Medical treatment usually involves the use of prescription-strength antifungal medications. Though effective, some people experience unpleasant side effects, ranging from upset stomach to other skin issues.

As a result, some people may choose home remedies to treat toenail fungus. The following are some of the more popular home methods that people have tried to treat toenail fungus.

Share on Pinterest There are a number of popular home remedies that may help treat toenail fungus.

Baking soda soaks up moisture that may cause toenail fungus. In one small study, researchers studied the effect of baking soda on common fungi that cause infections, such as toenail fungus.

The researchers found that baking soda prevented fungal growth in 79 percent of the specimens tested. In another 17 percent, baking soda reduced fungal growth, though it did not eradicate it.

How to use it

A person can try putting baking soda inside their socks and shoes to soak up moisture.

People can also apply a paste of baking soda and water directly to the affected nail and let it sit for at least 10 minutes before rinsing. Repeat this several times a day until the fungus clears.

Mentholated topical ointments could help treat toenail fungus.

Doctors often recommend these types of ointments to help treat cough and cold symptoms. The same active ingredients in mentholated ointments — menthol, eucalyptus oil, and camphor — have other properties that may be effective in treating toenail fungus.

One small study examined the use of one of these ointments to treat toenail fungus. All 18 participants reported being satisfied or very satisfied with the results of using the rub on their toenail fungus. However, mentholated topical ointment cured just five participants at the end of the 48-week-long study.

More research is needed to prove further that a mentholated ointment is an effective option for treating toenail fungus.

How to use it

Apply mentholated ointment directly to the affected nail. Do this about once a day for several weeks or until the nail shows noticeable improvements.

Vinegar is a common household product found in cooking and some home cleaning solutions. Though no clinical evidence exists to date, there is anecdotal evidence to suggest that vinegar is an effective tool to help treat toenail fungus.

How to use it

Anyone interested in trying vinegar can apply vinegar directly to the affected nails by soaking the toes in a bowl of warm water mixed with vinegar. People should use a 2–1 mix of water to vinegar.

As with vinegar, there is no direct scientific evidence to support using mouthwash to treat toenail fungus. However, some studies suggest that many types of mouthwash have antifungal properties.

One study reports that seven commercial types of mouthwash showed some antifungal activity in laboratory samples.

How to use it

Try soaking the toenails in a small bowl of mouthwash.

Typically used for seasoning food, garlic may help treat toenail fungus as well. Though limited, there is some evidence to support this claim.

One study found that a garlic extract showed strong antifungal properties against fungi that cause fungal infections in laboratory samples. Another study also reported promising results for garlic oil against certain strains of fungus, again in lab-based samples.

How to use it

Many people use chopped cloves of garlic to help treat their toenail fungus. To use garlic, chop up a clove and apply it to the affected nails and leave it on for about 30 minutes.

Be careful when using garlic to treat toenail fungus, as raw garlic can sometimes cause a chemical burn on the skin.

Snakeroot is not well-known in the United States but is a traditional treatment for fungal infections in Mexico. Snakeroot, also known as Ageratina, is a part of the sunflower family and is known for its antifungal properties.

One laboratory review observed that specific compounds within snakeroot showed antifungal properties against strains of fungus that can cause athlete’s foot.

Another recent but small study found no significant differences in the results for treating vaginal yeast infections with snakeroot extract compared with a common antifungal medication.

How to use it

Those interested in snakeroot extract can buy it at specialty stores or online. People can apply the extract to affected toenails two to three times a week. Treatment typically lasts for about 3 months.

Blends of certain essential oils may have an antifungal effect when applied to fungus.

These blends included:

  • lavender oil
  • petitgrain oil
  • clary sage oil
  • ylang ylang oil
  • jasmine oil

One study suggests that blends of these oils have an antifungal and antimicrobial effect in laboratory samples. However, the efficacy depends on the mix of the oils and the amount of the chemicals linalool and linalyl acetate that the oils contain.

How to use them

A person interested in trying a blend of essential oils can buy the oils online or from a health food store. Mix the oil with a carrier oil before applying the mixture to the affected nails.

Ozonized oils are oils infused with ozone gas. Examples of oils that are available in ozonized form include sunflower oil and olive oil.

According to one study, ozonized oils show positive effects similar to a traditional medication called terbinafine cream in treating one type of fungus. In this study, the researchers used rabbits to test the effectiveness of the treatment.

Another study carried out on 400 people tested how ozonized oils affected fungal infections. In this 2011 study, researchers used ozonized sunflower oil to treat toenail fungus.

Their results indicated that ozonized oils cured up to 90.5 percent of the total infections with only a 2.8 percent relapse rate after 1 year. The researchers concluded the ozonized sunflower oil works more effectively than ketoconazole cream, which is an antifungal medication.

How to use them

To use ozonized oils, apply the oil to affected nails twice a day for 3 months.

Home Remedies for Depression

There are many times in the course of life that you may feel overwhelmed and distraught. If you didn’t feel like singing the blues now and again you wouldn’t be human. It’s actually very healthy to get down from time to time. It’s when that down-in-the-dumps feeling begins to stick around longer than a couple of weeks that you might be suffering from a more serious condition, such as clinical depression.

If you are experiencing a bout of depression, don’t feel alone. Mental health experts say at least 30 million people deal with mild depression every year, and 18.8 million Americans are diagnosed with a more serious form of depression annually. Despite the wide array of medications for depression, there are also some simple home remedies that you can try to restore your balance. But, before we get to the home remedies for depression, let’s learn a little bit more about the condition.

Major or Minor?

Though it’d be nice to go through life pretending like you’re in a Brady Bunch episode, it’s not realistic. There are going to be times when life throws you a few curveballs. Perhaps you suddenly lose a parent or your spouse is diagnosed with a major illness. Feeling depressed during tough times is normal. Mild depression is something everyone encounters. But sometimes stressful situations can cause more than a few days of sadness.

If your hopeless feelings begin to become more intense and last more than a couple of weeks, you could be experiencing clinical depression. Major depression, one form of clinical depression, may only happen once in your lifetime, or it may come back several times. Major depression usually lasts weeks or months and is disabling. It can cause you to lose interest in work, sleep, eating, or going out to dinner with a friend. A less severe form of clinical depression is dysthymia. Dysthymia isn’t as emotionally crippling as major depression. With dysthymia you go about your life, attending soccer games and birthday parties, but it feels as though there’s a gray cloud hanging over your life. Dysthymia is a chronic condition. And people with dysthymia may suffer bouts of major depression throughout their lives.

Major depression is a serious and dangerous disease, and dysthymia can spoil your life over time. The good news is that there are effective modern treatments for depression, including medications that have fewer side effects than those used just a few years ago. If depression persists or makes you feel as if life is not worth living, see a doctor promptly.

Causes of Depression

Researchers have discovered that depression can run in the family. That doesn’t mean that you’ll definitely suffer bouts of depression if your mother did. But if you encounter a stressful situation, such as losing your job, you may be more likely to slip into a major depression than someone who doesn’t have a genetic link to the condition.

Physiologically, most types of depression are related to a malfunction in neurotransmitters in the brain. Researchers have discovered that if there is a glitch in the way neurotransmitters communicate, you can experience problems with mood, sleeping, and eating. Also, people who are more susceptible to depression physiologically tend to overreact to stress.

Other causes of depression include:

  • Major stresses, such as going through a serious illness or losing someone close to you.
  • Hormonal changes. As hormones fluctuate — after having a baby, before and during menstruation, and during menopause — women tend to suffer more depression.
  • Medications. Check with your doctor if you’ve recently started a new medication and are feeling symptoms of depression.

For more information on treating and understanding depression, try the following links:

  • To see all of our home remedies and the conditions they treat, go to our main Home Remedies page.
  • Depression can quickly spiral into a serious and dangerous problem. While severe cases of depression need a doctor’s attention, mild depression can be treated with herbs available at your local health-food store. Learn more in Herbal Remedies for Depression.
  • You can learn more about the causes and treatments of depression in How Depression Works.
  • To learn more about stress and how it can contribute to depression, read How Stress Works.
  • One of the major factors that can cause depression is anxiety. Learn how to alleviate this condition in Home Remedies for Anxiety.

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

In a world with no antibiotics, how did doctors treat infections?


Vice Dean, Texas A&M College of Medicine, Texas A&M University

Disclosure statement

Cristie Columbus does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.


Texas A&M University provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation US.

The Conversation UK receives funding from these organisations

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The development of antibiotics and other antimicrobial therapies is arguably the greatest achievement of modern medicine. However, overuse and misuse of antimicrobial therapy predictably leads to resistance in microorganisms. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus species (VRE) and carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) have emerged. Certain CRE species are resistant to multiple antibiotics, and have been deemed “superbugs” in the news.

Alternative therapies have been used to treat infections since antiquity, but none are as reliably safe and effective as modern antimicrobial therapy.

Unfortunately, due to increasing resistance and lack of development of new agents, the possibility of a return to the pre-antimicrobial era may become a reality.

So how were infections treated before antimicrobials were developed in the early 20th century?

Blood, leeches and knives

Bloodletting was used as a medical therapy for over 3,000 years. It originated in Egypt in 1000 B.C. and was used until the middle of the 20th century.

Medical texts from antiquity all the way up until 1940s recommend bloodletting for a wide variety of conditions, but particularly for infections. As late as 1942, William Osler’s 14th edition of Principles and Practice of Medicine, historically the preeminent textbook of internal medicine, included bloodletting as a treatment for pneumonia.

Bloodletting is based on an ancient medical theory that the four bodily fluids, or “humors” (blood, phlegm, black bile and yellow bile), must remain in balance to preserve health. Infections were thought to be caused by an excess of blood, so blood was removed from the afflicted patient. One method was to make an incision in a vein or artery, but it was not the only one. Cupping was another common method, in which heated glass cups were placed on the skin, creating a vacuum, breaking small blood vessels and resulting in large areas of bleeding under the skin. Most infamously, leeches were also used as a variant of bloodletting.

A man sitting in chair, arms outstretched, streams of blood pouring out as a nun places leeches on his body. Images from the History of Medicine (NLM)

Interestingly, though bloodletting was recommended by physicians, the practice was actually performed by barbers, or “barber-surgeons.” The red and white striped pole of the barbershop originated as “advertising” their bloodletting services, the red symbolizing blood and the white symbolizing bandages.

There may actually have been some benefit to the practice – at least for certain kinds of bacteria in the early stages of infection. Many bacteria require iron to replicate, and iron is carried on heme, a component of the red blood cell. In theory, fewer red blood cells resulted in less available iron to sustain the bacterial infection.

Some mercury for your syphilis?

Naturally occurring chemical elements and chemical compounds have historically have been used as therapies for a variety of infections, particularly for wound infections and syphilis.

A woodcut from 1689 showing various methods of syphilis treatment including mercury fumigation. Images from the History of Medicine (NLM)

Topical iodine, bromine and mercury-containing compounds were used to treat infected wounds and gangrene during the American Civil War. Bromine was used most frequently, but was very painful when applied topically or injected into a wound, and could cause tissue damage itself. These treatments inhibited bacterial cell replication, but they could also harm normal human cells.

Mercury compounds were used to treat syphilis from about 1363 to 1910. The compounds could be applied to skin, taken orally or injected. But the side effects could include extensive damage to skin and mucous membranes, kidney and brain damage, and even death. Arsphenamine, an arsenic derivative, was also used in the first half of the 20th century. Though it was effective, side effects included optic neuritis, seizures, fever, kidney injury and rash.

Thankfully, in 1943, penicillin supplanted these treatments and remains the first-line therapy for all stages of syphilis.

Looking in the garden

Over the centuries, a variety of herbal remedies evolved for the treatment of infections, but very few have been evaluated by controlled clinical trials.

One of the more famous herbally derived therapies is quinine, which was used to treat malaria. It was originally isolated from the bark of the cinchona tree, which is native to South America. Today we use a synthetic form of quinine to treat the disease. Before that, cinchona bark was dried, ground into powder, and mixed with water for people to drink. The use of cinchona bark to treat fevers was described by Jesuit missionaries in the 1600s, though it was likely used in native populations much earlier.

An engraving of a Quinine plant, 1880. Wellcome Library, London , CC BY

Artemisinin, which was synthesized from the Artemisia annua (sweet wormwood) plant is another effective malaria treatment. A Chinese scientist, Dr. Tu Youyou, and her team analyzed ancient Chinese medical texts and folk remedies, identifying extracts from Artemisia annua as effectively inhibiting the replication of the malaria parasite in animals. Tu Youyou was coawarded the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery of artemisinin.

You probably have botantically derived therapy against wound infection in your kitchen cupboard. The use of honey in wound healing dates back to the Sumerians in 2000 B.C.. The high sugar content can dehydrate bacterial cells, while acidity can inhibit growth and division of many bacteria. Honey also has an enzyme, glucose oxidase, that reduces oxygen to hydrogen peroxide, which kills bacteria.

The most potent naturally occurring honey is thought to be Manuka honey. It is derived from the flower of the tea tree bush, which has additional antibacterial properties.

Like other botanically derived therapies, honey has inspired the creation of pharmaceuticals. MEDIHONEY®, a medical grade product developed by Derma Sciences, is used to promote healing in burns as well as other types of wounds.

Combating antimicrobial resistance

While some of these ancient therapies proved effective enough that they are still used in some form today, on the whole they just aren’t as good modern antimicrobials at treating infections. Sadly, thanks to overuse and misuse, antibiotics are becoming less effective.

Each year in the United States, at least two million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics, and at least 23,000 people die each year as a direct result of these infections.

While resistant bacteria are most commonly reported, resistance also can arise in other microorganisms, including fungi, viruses and parasites. Increasing resistance has raised the possibility that certain infections may eventually be untreatable with the antimicrobials we currently have.

The race is on to find new treatments for these infections, and researchers are exploring new therapies and new sources for antibiotics.

Besides using antibiotics as directed and only when necessary, you can avoid infections in the first place with appropriate immunization, safe food-handling practices and washing your hands.

Tracking resistant infections so we can learn more about them and their risk factors, as well as limiting the use of antibiotics in humans and animals, could also help curb the risk of resistant bacteria.

7 Natural Home Remedies for Heel Spurs to Relieve the Pain

NDTV Food | Updated: June 15, 2018 18:13 IST

  • Heel spur is a condition which causes calcium deposits
  • The pain caused by heel spurs can often be sharp and stabbing
  • Here are 7 easy home remedies that can provide a good degree of relief

A heel spur is a condition, which causes calcium deposits that lead to a bony intrusion under the heel bone. It is often associated to the inflammation of the connective tissues between the foot and the heel bone and thus, leaving you in pain. It may also lead to swelling, irritation and weakening of the arch bone. Heel spurs are sometimes painful — described as a knife digging into the heel — and other times, a heel spur goes unnoticed and is only detected by an X-ray. But, you still must do some walking just to perform your activities of daily living, and that means you will have pain. While the treatment includes exercise, anti-inflammatory medicines and surgery in some cases to remove the calcium deposits, there are a few natural solutions to help you deal with the pain.

Causes Of Heel Spurs

Heel spurs are mostly common among athletes but too much strain on the foot muscles and ligaments can put anyone at risk. Here are some of the most common risk factors:

  • Running or jogging excessively on hard surfaces
  • Walking abnormally while putting too much stress on the heel bone
  • Obesity and excessive weight
  • Wearing ill-fitted shoes regularly that do not support the arch properly
  • Being diabetic
  • People who have flat feel or high arches

Also Read: 13 Effective Tips to Control Obesity)

Here are seven easy home remedies that can provide a good degree of relief from the throbbing pain.

1. Epsom salt bath

Epsom salt is nothing but magnesium sulphate. Interestingly, most of the magnesium in our body is stored in the bones. Sprinkle some Epsom salt in water and dip your feet in it. You can also gently massage your heels with it.

2. Massage with essential oils

Pure essential oils like rosemary or lavender and even everyday oils such as coconut and olive oil can help reduce pain due to their anti-inflammatory properties. Coconut oil also acts as a natural moisturiser that softens your heels. Just warm up the oil slightly and rub it deeply but gently into your heel.

Pure essential oils can help reduce pain due to their anti-inflammatory properties.

3. Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is the new super food. It can cure anything from skin and stomach problems to pain. Apple cider vinegar is known to pull out the excess calcium from the bone and bring relief. You can either soak your feet in a tub of warm water with few drops of apple cider vinegar or wrap a wet towel drenched in it around your heel for few minutes.

Apple cider vinegar is the new super food.

4. Ice pack

If you’re looking for quick and instant relief you should look at doing cold fomentation. Applying an ice pack on the affected area for few minutes is a great way to soothe swelling and pain. Avoid applying ice directly to your heel – use an ice pack or wrap in in a towel.

Applying an ice pack on the affected area for few minutes is a great way to soothe swelling and pain.

5. Baking soda

You’ll be surprised to know the number of things this humble kitchen ingredient can be used for. From giving you beautiful skin to whitening your teeth, baking soda offers a lot of benefits. It works directly on the calcium crystals deposited in the heel. Make a paste by mixing half teaspoon of baking soda in water and apply this on your heel. Baking soda also helps in balancing the pH levels.

Baking soda also helps in balancing the pH levels.

6. Flaxseed oil

Flaxseed oil is rich in alpha-linolenic acid, a form of omega-3 fatty acid, which attacks inflammation. Pour some flaxseed oil in warm water and dip a towel in it. Wrap the towel around your heel and place a heating pad over it. Leave it on for at least an hour and avoid moving during this period.

7. Have anti-inflammatory foods

Certain ingredients like turmeric, ginger, cayenne pepper and cumin seeds are known for their strong anti-inflammatory properties. These foods contain natural antioxidants and polyphenol that act as protective compounds and can help reduce levels of inflammation. You can make a decoction with 1 teaspoon of powdered ginger, turmeric or pepper and warm water. Drink this whenever pain arises. With cumin seeds, you can boil them in water, strain and drink up to counter the pain.

Turmeric, ginger, cayenne pepper and cumin seeds are known for their strong anti-inflammatory properties.

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