Toenail fungus or onychomycosis is a nail infection and in some cases, it includes the surrounding tissues. It affects 20 percent of the general population and about 75 percent of those who are above 60 years old. Most of the time, this condition is considered a cosmetic problem, yet a lot of patients feel pain and discomfort. In some cases, the infection may also lead to serious infections.
What are the symptoms?
Most patients observe nail discoloration and thickening. The areas surrounding the nails may also become itchy. Over time, the nail may end up brittle, crumbly, deformed with jagged edges, and separated from the nail bed. Nail changes can make it difficult to trim the nails. When the nails become too thick, it can be uncomfortable to wear shoes.
What are some causes?
Multiple fungal species may infect the nails. Fungus grows easily in damp and warm environments like showers, swimming pools, and other public places. Fungal nail infections are more prevalent among men compared to women. Perhaps more men walk barefoot in locker rooms and swimming pools. Age is also another risk factor. Half of those who suffer from nail infections are older than 70. Other risk factors include diabetes, malnutrition, and vascular insufficiency.
How is this diagnosed?
Diagnosis can be done based on a clinical exam. Occasionally, this can be confirmed by sending a nail sample to a lab for microscopy or by growing the fungus in a culture medium. It is easier to treat this condition when it is diagnosed early.
How can this be treated?
The doctor may prescribe a topical medication. When the infection is more severe, the topical medication may not be able to penetrate the thickened nail. This is when the doctor may prescribe an oral nail fungus treatment. This type of treatment can be highly effective, but they have to be taken for several months. They are often applied when there is a risk of severe infection or a skin breakdown.
1All about Cubeb
Cubeb is a member of the piper family. It is also known as cubeb pepper with the scientific name piper cubeba. It is known as the cousin of piper longum and piper nigrum, which is also better known as the black and white pepper. This plant is native to Indonesia and the Greater Sunda Islands. It is cultivated in other places which include Sumatra, Malaysia, Java, and Sri Lanka. You can find several other more common names of cubeb. These are Jawa peppercorn, West African black pepper, Java pepper, Javanese peppercorn, Javanese pepper, Tailed pepper, and False pepper.
Cubeb is a kind of herbal seed, known for its multiple health benefits. It has the smell of cinnamon spice and it looks like black pepper. It also smells like a combination of the aromas of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and cardamom. This is used as an aromatic spice and as a medicine. This can also be used in sweet and salty dishes.
As an Antifungal and Antimicrobial
One study was done to investigate the antimicrobial properties of two piper species, piper cubeba and piper longum, against selected bacterial and fungal strains such as Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus mutans, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and Candida albicans. The results revealed that the ethanol, methanol, and acetone extracts were found to have antimicrobial activities against all the aforementioned oral pathogens.
Another study looked into the antimicrobial activities and wound healing capabilities of the cubeb essential oil against 13 microbial strains. Data showed that the essential oil is effective against Staphylococcus aureus and Listeria monocytogenes.
Other Health Benefits
Dried cubeb berries contain an essential oil that possesses sesquiterpenes and monoterpenes. The terpenes that are found in berries of the cubeb plant possess both anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. The following are some of the most popular health benefits of cubeb:
For gastritis treatment and digestive health
Cubeb peppers are used for treating gastritis as well as to fortify one’s gastrointestinal tract. Cubeb pepper promotes digestion as it stimulates salivation as well as the production of gastric juices. Cubeb is particularly potent after consuming high-fat and difficult-to-digest meals.
For treating cough and cold
Cubeb is best to take when you have colds, coughs, and mild fever because of its antipyretic properties. This can be taken as a tea along with turmeric powder and holy basil. This can be very soothing to drink when we suffer from colds. In the same way, this can also help relieve headaches.
Helps deal with moderate stress and anxiety
Stress and anxiety can be reduced by chewing whole grains. It also treats headaches and dizziness as well as enhances attention and focus. It is also known to improve physical and mental performance. In traditional medicine, this plant is used for addressing memory problems, depression, and sadness.
Can remove mouth odor
Cubeb is known for its being aromatic. It is also known to possess antiseptic properties. This is why this has been used to treat dental problems for many years. It is specifically useful for treating halitosis or mouth odor.
For treating respiratory conditions and chronic bronchitis
Ayurveda or Indian folk medicine acknowledges the mucus-dissolving properties of this time-tested medicinal plant. Cubeb pepper continues to have active use in Ayurveda even to this day as a cough suppressant for mild cases of bronchitis, dry cough, and respiratory problems in general.
For treating urinary tract infection
Cubeb has anti-inflammatory properties that can be helpful for ureter infections, uterine and prostate inflammations, and kidney inflammations. You may take cubeb powder with sugar candy to end any urinary obstruction. It is said that Arabian and Persian physicians have used the cubeb fruit in treating genito-urinary diseases.
For treating snakebites
You may use a mixture of snakeroot and cubeb powder. You have to take two teaspoons of the mixed powder and add a teaspoon of salt then apply this to the bitten area. This may also be taken internally.
For treating dandruff and other scalp problems
You can create a hair oil using the following cubeb, haritaki, unrefined sesame oil, and fenugreek leaves. This can be effective for all kinds of scalp problems. This oil may also be used as a pre-shampoo treatment. Furthermore, this may also reduce dandruff.