Onychomycosis is a fungal infection of the nail which often results in the nail plate’s thickening and discoloration. Most often, the callus or dead skin starts to accumulate underneath the nail plate. Sometimes the nail may also change in shape. Among all the fungal infections that take place in the body, nail infections are the most difficult to treat and prevent.
What is the cause of a nail fungal infection?
Onychomycosis is caused by the spread of fungi. Fungi are known to thrive well in warm and moist environments. The fungus often starts its growth at the tip of the nail plate and continues its spread under the nail. At times white or yellowish streaks or plaques form on the surface of the nail. As the infection progresses, discoloration may follow. Because of the cell damage caused by the fungus to the nail base, the nail may become thick and distorted in shape.
How is it treated?
Nail fungal infections can be treated in three ways. They can be treated conservatively, surgically, and using a laser. Conservative nail fungus treatment may be oral or topical. For the topical treatment, it can be applied directly to the nail in the form of nail polish. At times, a combination of both oral and topical treatments is advised. Laser treatment is another type of nail fungus cure. Surgical treatment to remove a part or the entire infected nail may also be done. This will allow a new nail to grow.
Elderly people are at the highest risk of incurring a nail fungal infection. Diabetic people are also at risk of nail fungal infections.
1All about the Indian Gooseberry / Amla
The Indian gooseberry or amla is a fruit tree that is native to several parts of Asia. It is known for its multiple medicinal and culinary uses and applications, particularly in India. This fruit is loaded with vitamin C, and it is known for its potential of being an antioxidant and for its heart-health benefits.
The Amla has two scientific names which are Emblica officinalis and Phyllanthus emblica. This tree has yellow-green flowers that tend to turn into round and edible fruits. They are of the same color as their flowers. Its fruit has the size of a golf ball yet with a thin peel. Its taste is described as sour, astringent, and bitter. The entire plant can be used for medicinal purposes. In India, fruit is used as an ingredient in cooking, but the supplements found in the market today come in the form of powder, fruit extract, and dried fruit.
As an Antimicrobial
The Indian gooseberry extract exhibited activity towards the growth of food-poisoning bacteria like S. aureus. The extract has also been observed to possess antioxidants. Its extract is also known for having high phenolic contents. A study supported the claim that amla or Indian gooseberry makes a good antimicrobial and antioxidant agent. In another study, it was found that the water, acetonic, and ethanolic extracts of amla are found to be effective against Candida albicans, Enterococcus faecalis, and Streptococcus mutans. Moreover, another study to determine the effectiveness of amla’s antimicrobial potential of aqueous infusions and decoctions was confirmed against 186 bacterial isolates and 10 various genera.
Other Health Benefits
Amla has several other potential health benefits, but most of them require more studies on human applications.
Controls Blood Sugar
Indian gooseberry has been observed to help in reducing blood sugar levels in animal studies. The same effects have also been seen in a small study that involved 32 people. After 1 to 3 grams of Indian gooseberry powder, every day for 21 days substantially decreased blood sugar levels after fasting and consuming a meal. Because of this effect, the amla may help in the prevention of type 2 diabetes. Nonetheless, more top-quality human studies are required.
Memory and Brain Health
Indian gooseberry has antioxidants that can help enhance memory by eliminating free radicals that may attack and damage brain cells. The fruit contains a high level of vitamin C which helps the body produce norepinephrine. This is a neurotransmitter that is known to improve brain function in people who suffer from dementia.
The berries of this tree are rich in vitamin A, which is required for improving eye health. Vitamin A is known to improve vision, and it also reduces the risk of age-related macular degeneration. The vitamin C content of amla also helps with eye health, protecting them from conjunctivitis or pink eye and other eye conditions.
Helps with Digestion
Amla berries are rich in fiber which helps to regulate bowel movement. It also helps to relieve symptoms of other digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome. Due to this high level of vitamin C, amla berries help the body to absorb other nutrients. This comes in handy when you are taking iron supplements as well as other health supplements.
In studies done on rats, the extract from amla helps protect the body from liver damage caused by a high-fat diet or N-nitrosodiethylamine, a substance that is toxic to one’s liver. This is merely because of the body’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity.
A 100 mg serving of amla berries or about half a cup provides 300 mg of vitamin C. This is twice the recommended amount for adults. Amla also contains alkaloids, polyphenols, and flavonoids. Moreover, amla also possesses the following antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
According to test-tube and animal studies, amla extracts can kill certain types of cancer such as ovarian, breast, lung, and cervical cancers. Such extracts are also known to protect against cancer cells due to their antioxidant property. These may help prevent cell mutations that often result in tumor growth and cancer growth.
A Good Adaptogen
The Indian gooseberry has been categorized as an adaptogen. This means that it supports the human body’s healthy response to emotional, physical, and environmental stress, which often leads to chronic diseases.
In the practice of Ayurveda, the amla is a rejuvenator or “rosayana,” and it is highly celebrated for its ability to restore and invigorate the body.