Also known as onychomycosis, toenail fungus is a nail fungal infection that usually appears on and under one or several nails. This condition also occurs in fingernails although it is more prevalent in toenails because of the conducive environment inside the shoes. It may begin as a yellow or white spot often under the nail tips. This may spread deeper into the nail and cause the occurrence of additional symptoms and sometimes a complete loss of the nail.
The nail infection has varied symptoms, which depend on the type of infection, extent, and duration of the infection. Some complicating factors may have to be looked into as well. However, the following are some of its most common symptoms: nail thickening, having distorted or misshapen nails, the nails becoming crumbly, brittle, ragged, and chalky, the nail turning whitish or yellowish and sometimes maybe darkened with debris, and having a mildly foul odor.
The doctor will examine the infected nails. It is possible for the doctor to send a sample of the nail to a lab to determine the microorganism that caused the infection. Sampling can be done by clipping part of the infected nail or scraping the debris under the nail.
Home Remedies and Treatments
Nail fungal infections don’t go away when left untreated. Most of the time, the infection is persistent. Several home remedies can be used to get rid of toenail fungal infections. These remedies include vinegar, mentholated ointments, baking soda, mouthwash, or hydrogen peroxide.
When such home remedies don’t work, you may consult with the doctor. Several options for a nail fungus treatment are available. It’s more likely for the doctor to prescribe oral antifungal medications such as itraconazole (Sporanox) and terbinafine (Lamisil). As an alternative, topical nail fungal medications may also be prescribed by the doctor.
Ajwain (Trachyspermum ammi) is an annual herb of the Apiaceae family. It’s the same group where caraway, parsley, celery, coriander, fennel, and parsnips belong. This herb produces small and seed-like fruits, like those of cumin and caraway. It is known by many other names such as bishop’s weed, carom seed, and ajowan caraway.
You can usually find ajwain in Indian food. It has a strong and bitter taste and its aroma is like that of thyme. What is seen as seeds are its fruits which are usually dry-roasted or ground and added in spice mixtures. These are often used in Siddha and Ayurvedic alternative medicine for the treatment of numerous conditions. These two are healing systems whose major belief is that general health and wellness rely on a healthy balance between mind, spirit, and body.
As an Antifungal
A study revealed that Trachyspermum ammi possesses antifungal potential which is caused by the thymol content found in its extracts. The study has observed that the extracts of ajwain seeds and leaves have antifungal properties because of their organic phenolic compounds. These bioactive molecules could be used for synthesizing antifungal agents.
According to test-tube studies, thymol and carvacrol have been shown to inhibit the growth of fungi and bacteria. These compounds have so far been seen to fight off harmful bacteria such as Salmonella and Escherichia coli (E. coli). Both cause food poisoning and other health conditions.
Another test-tube study has revealed that carom seeds are more effective against drug-resistant strains of fungi and bacteria which include Streptococcus mutans, Candida albicans, and Candida krusei when compared to many other solvents.
Ajwain contains several essential nutrients which include protein, fiber, potassium, calcium, essential fatty acids, iron, fats, and carbohydrates.
How to Prepare
Ajwain is commonly found in Indian, Middle Eastern, and Pakistani dishes. It has to be ground before it is used and added to many dishes during the final stages of cooking. The following are the many ways to use ajwain. These include putting flavor to meat, soups, rice, and sauces, baking Indian bread ajwain paratha, creating the flavorful bean, chicken, fish, and lentil curries, mixing fenugreek, mustard seeds, and turmeric to produce a pickling liquid, or you can simply boiling it to create ajwain water that helps with digestion and weight loss.
Other Health Benefits
The following are some of the other health benefits that ajwain can offer:
Ajwain has active enzymes that are known to improve stomach acid flow, which can provide relief for bloating, gas, and indigestion. This herb is also capable of treating peptic ulcers and also sores in the intestines, stomach, and esophagus.
Arthritis Pain Relief
Ajwain is also popularly known to help with pain and swelling. You can make a paste from crushed fruits of Ajwain and apply this skin and the joints to relieve arthritis pain. As an alternative, you just have to fill the tub with warm water and add to it a handful of ajwain seeds to give you a soothing bath.
Ajwain can provide cough relief, and it can also clear your nose from mucus, making you breathe easily. This may also help to expand the bronchial tubes, which can help people who have asthma.
Thymol found in ajwain is a potent germicide and fungicide. Ajwain seeds can be easily crushed to make a paste that can be applied to the skin for treating infections and cuts.
Tooth and Ear Ache
You can simply add two drops of ajwain oil to your painful ear. When it comes to toothache, gargle with lukewarm water, salt, and a teaspoon of ajwain. You may also opt to inhale the fumes created by burning ajwain seeds to relieve yourself from toothache. Apart from this, the gargle may act as a good mouthwash, and it helps to maintain oral hygiene.
Curb Graying Hair
Ajwain seeds may help put a halt to premature graying of hair. You can prepare a mixture by adding dry grapes, carom seeds, sugar, and curry leaves in a cup of water, and let it boil. Drink a glass of this every day until results begin to show.
Reduces Blood Pressure
Studies done on rats indicate that the thymol content of ajwain may prevent calcium from getting into the blood vessels in the heart, reducing one’s blood pressure.
Pregnant or breastfeeding women must avoid taking ajwain. Some of its compounds have the potential to cause miscarriage or birth defects.