Onychomycosis is the medical name for the nail infections that are caused by fungus. This is a condition that becomes more prevalent as the person becomes older. It is a rare condition to occur in children. Nail fungus may be caused by the following microorganisms: dermatophytes, yeasts, and molds.
Nail fungus may affect both the fingernails and toenails. Most of the time it affects the little toenail or fingernail. It can occur in various patterns such as scaling that occurs under the nail, lifting of the end of the nail as the free edge crumbles, yellow spots appearing in a half-moon, the appearance of a thick localized area of the nail, nail destruction, the appearance of flaky white patches and pits on top of the nail plate, and the appearance of the white or yellow opaque streak on the side of the nail.
Nail fungus may be distinguished from other conditions that have similar symptoms. These include psoriasis, eczema or dermatitis, viral warts, onycholysis, lichen planus, and onychogryphosis.
For a diagnosis to be done, nail clippings must be taken from the tip of the infected nail. The discolored nail surface can be scraped off, and the debris underneath the nail can be taken away. These nail samples are then sent to a mycology laboratory for culture and microscopy. It is crucial to determine the specific microorganism that caused the infection. Remember that a nail infection caused by yeasts or molds requires a different nail fungus treatment from those that are caused by dermatophytes. Treatment can be prolonged and expensive as well.
Mild nail infections may be treated using topical antifungal medications, but a moderate case may need oral antifungal medications which have to be taken for several months. A laser that emits infrared radiation is also used to eliminate nail fungus by creating heat and directing it toward the infected tissue.
1All about the Chinese Peony Root
The white peony or the Chinese peony (Bai Shao in Chinese) is scientifically known as Paeonia lactiflora Pall. It is a flowering plant that is native to East Asia. This is grown in several parts of the world such as Mongolia, China, and Siberia. In the northern United States, this is grown as a common garden plant.
For over 1,000 years, the dried root of this plant has been part of Chinese traditional medicine. It has been used for various ailments namely inflammation, fever, and pain. Some of its traditional medical benefits have been backed by science.
Aside from the names of the plant mentioned above, the Chinese peony root is also called common garden peony, fragrant peony, common peony, garden peony, coral peony, tree peony, white peony, and Japanese peony. Its genus name Paeonia lactiflora is from the Greek name Paeon, who is the physician of the gods and a known discoverer of medicinal properties in various plants that belong to this genus. A specific epithet of it means milk-white flowers.
As an Antifungal and Antimicrobial
Extracts of peony seeds were investigated to determine their antibacterial and antifungal activities. All the sample extracts were seen to exhibit antimicrobial activities against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria (Listeria monocytogenes and Bacillus subtilis) and several fungi (Candida albicans and Microsporum gypseum) at various levels.
Paeoniflorin which is a chemical compound found in peony plants exhibited antibacterial effects. Moreover, a polysaccharide from the peony seed dregs exhibited antibacterial properties against Gram-positive bacteria (B. subtilis and S. aureus) and Gram-negative bacteria (E. coli and S. typhimurium). Peony seeds are also loaded with polyphenols. Phenolic compounds are known for their antimicrobial properties and for preventing rancidity. The peony seed extract is also rich in benzoic acids, known for their powerful antibacterial activity.
Other Health Benefits
Scientists continue to investigate the medicinal properties of peony roots. The following health benefits have been observed by science so far:
For autoimmune disorders
The white peony root has glycosides. Such are compounds that have carbohydrates attached to them. It contains paeoniflorin, aside from other compounds. Such glycosides can be extracted from the roots of the plant, and these are called total glycosides of peony. Based on a 2020 review, total glycosides help in regulating the immune system. It has been discovered to effectively cure autoimmune conditions such as psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome, and oral lichen planus.
For pain relief
White peony root has been known to treat pain. Based on a 2018 animal study, Paeoniflorin which is found in peony roots contains an analgesic and pain-relieving property. Researchers said that this is due to the anti-inflammatory properties of Paeoniflorin that affect the CNS or the Central Nervous System.
For improved brain function
White peony root also helps in improving brain functions. This plant is commonly used as a rejuvenator and it supports meditation as it helps clear one’s thoughts. Often, it is also used to support the treatment of cognitive deficits as well as to enhance memory and learning in general.
For heart health support
Chinese peony roots are important for heart health. Peony tea is loaded with antioxidants, making it beneficial for heart health. One of its essential benefits is that it reduces bad cholesterol or LDL, lowering the body’s blood pressure. This strengthens the body’s circulatory system and protects it from heart risks brought about by high cholesterol levels. These antioxidants also protect the heart from blood clots that could lead to severe stroke and heart ailments. This makes it healthy for you to drink a cup of peony root tea daily.
For skin health support
A 2016 lab study revealed that white peony root extracts have the ability to reduce hyperpigmentation. This is the condition in which the skin becomes darker in particular areas. This may range from mild small spots to the whole body.
White peony root when applied to human skin may reduce its melanin pigment, the pigment that gives your skin its color. This goes to show that white peony root extract may be significant in regulating the production of melanin.
Traditionally, the Chinese peony root is also used for successfully treating anxiety and depression. It was discovered through a 2020 study on rats that the white peony root extract could reduce the activity of SERT or serotonin transporter.