Alternative medicine practitioners put considerable faith in plant oils that kill nail fungus (onychomycosis) as an alternative to costly and risky prescription drugs. Unfortunately, like many alternative treatments, these extracts lack the scientific proof of efficacy that doctors and many informed people demand. This does not mean that they don’t work – it means they haven’t been studied. Properly conducted scientific studies are costly and take a long time. to date, the financial backing for trials of these alternative treatments has been largely lacking.
The essential oil treatment for onychomycosis with the greatest scientific evidence so far is tea tree oil. Testing under laboratory conditions has proven that essence of tea tree has antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. Pitting it against fungal cultures grown in the lab and using it to cure infection in actual patients, however, are two different things. Clinical trials with tea tree oil and other plant oils that kill nail fungus have been inconclusive.
One of the reasons that essential oil treatment for onychomycosis may not work as well on infected nails is the structure of the nail itself. Built of layers of tough keratin, the nail is meant to protect tender finger-and toenails – it is hard, resilient, and difficult to penetrate. Keratin is the very substance that fungi use for nutrients. they break it down, but they usually do so from underneath where plant oils that kill nail fungus cannot penetrate. This is the reason that modern medicine places so much stock in oral medications – the drug can reach the infection from underneath.
The information available about plant oils that kill nail fungus generally mentions some or all of the following plants: tea tree, oregano, lavender, and olive. Frequently, blends incorporate several of these, and olive oil is often the base for one of the other three. an interesting addition to the list is the cold remedy marketed as “vapo-rub.” a clear gel with a strong smell of menthol, vapo-rub contains several herbal extracts and is reported by some to cure fungal infections of the finger- and toenails.
If you’re suffering from persistent fungal nail infection, essential oil treatment for onychomycosis is worth a try. before self-treating, however, it’s always a good idea to have a medical professional confirm the diagnosis and discuss treatment options with you.
R. Drysdale is a freelance writer with more than 25 years experience as a health care professional. she is a contributing editor to Plant Oils that Kill Nail Fungus at Nail Fungus Treatment, a blog dedicated to the treatment of fingernail and toenail fungus.
By R. Drysdale