Most people are not aware that they have a nail fungal infection, so they don’t look for treatment. Nail fungal infections are a common foot problem, and they can go on for years without any disturbance. The infection is usually characterized by a discoloration of the nail, which is more than a mere blemish. When the infection is not treated, it may cause a complication.
A nail fungal infection is also known as onychomycosis. This is the type of infection that appears under the nail. It may also get through the nail per se. Most of the time, this nail infection comes with a secondary yeast or bacterial infection in or around the infected nail. This may result in pain and discomfort, making it hard for one to walk or even wear shoes. Other symptoms may include nail brittleness, discoloration, crumbling, loosening, and thickening.
A group of fungi known as dermatophytes may attack the nails easily. These feed off keratin, a protein found in nails that make them hard. In some cases, once the microorganisms take over, the nail becomes thick, yellow-brown, or darker, and at times smells bad. Debris may appear underneath the nail while white marks may appear on the nail surface. The infection may spread to other toenails or fingernails and even to other areas of the body.
The majority of nail fungal infections are treatable, and it is possible for your nails to look healthy again. However, it may take months for the infection to disappear. Some doctors prescribe a combination therapy for a more aggressive nail fungus treatment. The usual treatment options are the following: oral antifungal medications, topical antifungal medications, and laser therapy. When the infection is stubborn and does not respond to any of these treatments, the doctor may prescribe a nail removal which can be done to directly apply the treatment to the nail bed or to allow a new nail to form.
1All about the Eucommia Bark (Du Zhong)
Eucommia bark is from the hardy rubber tree which is also called eucommia. This tree belongs to the rubber family. It is mainly found in Guizhou, Sichuan, Yunnan, and the Hubei provinces of China. The mature tree of eucommia may reach up to 50 feet. The tree does not have to be killed for the bark to be obtained. Only small patches are peeled off from those trees that are over 10 years old. Its inner bark possesses a white, rubberish liquid, to which its healing properties are attributed.
In traditional Chinese medicine, eucommia bark is known for its sweet and warm properties. This is often linked with kidneys and livers. It is also considered a primary herb to provide the body’s yang functions. Eucommia bark may strengthen the body’s bones and muscles. Furthermore, it heals weak and injured tissues in the body and relieves lower back and arthritis or leg pain. It is also known in Chinese medicine to reduce blood pressure levels. It is also administered to pregnant women who can come to the fetus and prevent miscarriage.
Eucommia is an ancient tree species based on fossil records from between 10-35 million years past, Eucommia ulmoides and other Eucommia species include a broad range of habitats which include fossil sites in Europe and North America.
Eucommia has du zhong for its Chinese name. This is according to the Chinese materia medica, Bencao Gangmu, which was produced during the Ming Dynasty. This is in reference to the man of the same name who took the tonic and became enlightened after.
As an Antifungal or Antimicrobial
Eucommia ulmoides (EU) or Du Zhong contains different chemical constituents such as phenolics, flavonoids, lignans, iridoids, steroids, as well as other compounds. It has several pharmacological properties like anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, neuroprotective, cardioprotective, antioxidant, anticancer, and antiaging.
Eucommia ulmoides have been observed to inhibit the growth of bacteria and reduce cytokines which are pro-inflammatory. It is known to possess antibacterial and antimicrobial properties that inhibit Acinetobacter baumannii, Staphylococcus aureus, and Aspergillus fumigatus.
Other Health Benefits
Let’s try to investigate more on the science behind the health benefits of Eucommia ulmoides or Du Zhong:
A couple of preliminary studies revealed that Eucommia may relieve osteoarthritis. This is based on the 2015 published study in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology. This is due to a reduction of body inflammation and inhibiting the breakdown of cartilage. This study is currently limited to animal studies. More human studies are required.
Reduces Blood Pressure Level
Eucommia bark has been widely used in traditional Chinese medicine as a treatment for hypertension and high blood pressure. It has been established in several studies to possess blood pressure reducing properties together with its beta-adrenergic blocking property that aids the dilation of blood vessels.
Eucommia contains antihypertensive compounds such as pinoresinol diglucoside, which is a lignan that can be found in cruciferous vegetables, sesame, and olive oil.
A Potent Sexual Tonic
Most Chinese tonics particularly those from Yang and Yin Jing herbs can be highly stimulating for sex organs and glands. These improve sexual libido, normalize sexual functions, and boost the body’s physical energy. Eucommia bark is also used on several pregnancy-related issues, preventing miscarriages and calming a restless fetus.
Animal studies have proven Eucommia bark to have potential in diabetes treatment and prevention. One study conducted on diabetic mice showed that after the mice were administered Eucommia for six weeks they exhibited reduced blood sugar levels.
Another study conducted on rats also showed that the herb has the potential to fight obesity and reduce insulin resistance in the body. By administrating Eucommia to the bodies of the rats, the metabolic functions are enhanced, suggesting the herb’s potential as a diabetic treatment. However, more human studies are required to establish this.
It is generally safe to use Eucommia bark, and only a few side effects are reported. According to research studies, doses that are up to 3 grams are safe to consume daily. It also has no reported drug interactions. However, it is possible for the doctor to advise against the use of Eucommia bark when you are also taking anticoagulants, antiplatelets, and diabetic medications, to be on the safe side.