Nail fungal infections are also known as dermatophytic onychomycosis or tinea unguium. The fungus that causes it is the same as the fungus that causes athlete’s foot. In athlete’s foot, the responsible fungus thrives in the keratin that is found in the outer layer of the skin. Once the fungus spreads to the nail’s keratin, this results in a nail fungal infection.
What are the causes?
The dermatophyte fungi are the most common cause of nail fungal infections. It is less commonly caused by yeasts and molds. These often attack the nails that are already damaged, since they are easier for fungus to invade. Toenail fungal infections are more prevalent than fingernail infections. Both often affect older people and those who suffer from chronic conditions like diabetes, a weakened immune system, and blood circulation disorders. Wearing inappropriate footwear and sharing personal items may also cause nail fungal infections.
What are the symptoms?
You won’t find symptoms in the beginning. Later on, the nails become thicker, especially when pressed by the inside of a shoe. These nails may be hard to trim. The nail’s shape is also distorted and it becomes brittle and crumbly in texture. An infected nail may become discolored, and sometimes debris may develop underneath it. It is likely for the nearby skin to have a fungal infection too.
How are the infected nails treated?
Some people opt to leave their nail fungal infections untreated. But those who experience pain and discomfort as well as an embarrassment because of the nails’ appearance, seek for nail fungus treatment. A doctor often prescribes oral antifungals that have to be taken for several months up to a year. Treating a nail fungal infection takes time since the toenails take time to grow. Sometimes doctors also prescribe topical antifungals that can be applied directly to the infected nails.
A Practical Home Remedy
When the nail fungal infection is mild, a home remedy can be used for treating the infected nails. These are easy to apply and more natural, with fewer side effects. One thing about treating a nail fungal infection is it requires that your nails are always clean and dry. It follows that your clothes are also clean and dry since it is easier for fungus to spread when given the right environment. That’s why one of the practical home remedies to use against nail fungal infections is to soak your clothes in a tub of neem water. After washing your dirty clothes with detergent soap, soak them in a tub of neem water. This will make sure that the clothes will absorb neem’s properties and kill any microbes found in them.
1As an Antifungal
The leaf extracts of neem were observed to have a powerful antidermatophytic action against Microsporum nanum, Trichophyton rubrum, T. violaceaum, and Epidrmophyton floccosum. These extracts were observed to have inhibitory action against various microorganisms which include C. tropicalis, urinary tract E. coli, multi-drug resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Herpes simplex-2, Neisseria gonorrhea, C. Albicans, and HIV.
Other Health Benefits
Apart from the aforementioned health benefits and uses of neem, it is also known to possess the following health benefits:
Based on a study done in phytotherapy research, neem can help in treating stomach ulcers. These are also known as peptic ulcers, this condition may result in stomach pain and other symptoms which are caused by the development of stomach acid. Based on the findings, the neem bark extract may help lessen the symptoms by partially preventing the acid release.
Neem has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antioxidant, and immune-boosting properties of neem which help in maintaining oral health. A study in pharmacognosy exhibited that neem may help with tooth decay, gingivitis, and periodontitis.
Neem oil may help cure acne and other skin conditions because of its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. A 2013 study published in the Journal of Acute Diseases revealed that neem oil could kill various types of acne-causing bacteria. This could make this happen without dryness or skin irritation that may be caused by other acne treatments. This implies that neem oil can be a long-term treatment for mild cases of acne.
Neem oil is sometimes used for treating dandruff although no one knows how it works precisely. The oil is believed to treat the inflammation which often causes redness, swelling, itching, and flaking. Neem may help to fight off fungus which may also cause dandruff.
According to lab studies, neem contains a substance that is known as Nimbin which is anti-inflammatory. Other studies have also looked into the plant-based chemical known as quercetin known for possessing potent antifungal and antibacterial effects.
Liver and Kidney Disease Cure
Neem has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may help fight off oxidative stress that may help with liver and kidney health. The accumulation of unstable chemicals called free radicals may cause oxidative stress. External sources may increase the number of free radicals in the body. These are naturally produced by the body as a result of metabolism. Oxidative stress may also be caused by some medications like pain relievers, cancer medications, and antipsychotics. All of these may cause kidney and liver damage.
Based on a 2000 study published in the Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology, neem leaf extract was discovered to minimize liver damage caused by a high dosage of acetaminophen in rats.
When taking neem, always remember that too much use of it may only cause damage to your body.