Nail fungal infections can be embarrassing. The nail can become thick, crusty, and yellowish or whitish, making you feel self-conscious about exposing your feet. Nail fungal infections are not a cosmetic problem. Toenail fungus which is also known as onychomycosis changes the appearance and condition of the nails. This infection may infect the other toenails and even other parts of the body.
What causes the infection?
The nails are made of keratin, a protein that the body naturally produces. The most common fungi are called dermatophytes which cause toenail fungus to feed off keratin. The dermatophytes use the keratin for the nails to grow rapidly, multiply, and spread fast. As the fungi consume the keratin, they create keratin debris, a crumbly residue that integrates itself into nail fungus.
Fungi thrive in a warm and moist environment, just like the environment inside sweaty socks and shoes, sauna, public pools, locker areas, and others. Nail fungus is highly contagious so you can easily pick it up.
What are some symptoms?
Some of the common symptoms of a nail fungal infection include having thickened nails, brittle, crumbly, and misshapen nails, discolored nails, and a foul smell coming from the infected nails. In some cases, the infected nail may cause pain and discomfort.
What are some risk factors?
Certain conditions and habits may increase the risk of getting infected with nail fungus. These include having diabetes, a weakened immune system, psoriasis, athlete’s foot, a blood circulation problem, and others. Sharing personal items like nail clippers and towels.
What are some common treatments?
Nail fungal infections are notorious for being difficult to treat. Bear in mind that treatment is much easier when done early. There are two major types of nail fungus treatment: those taken by mouth and those applied directly to the nail. For oral antifungals, some common examples are Sporanox (itraconazole) and Lamisil (terbinafine). For the topical antifungal, the most popular is Penlac (ciclopirox). The doctor may sometimes recommend a combination of the two types of treatment. For stubborn cases, nail removal may be advised by the doctor.
1All about the Tellicherry Bark / Holarrhena Antidysentrica
The Tellicherry Bark (scientific name Holarrhena antidysentrica) is a botanical herb that belongs to the Apocyanaceae family. In English, it is known as Conessi, in Hindi Kurchi, and Sanskrit Kutaji. The main medicinal value of this herb is as a treatment for Amoebic dysentery. For hundreds of years, this herb has also been used by several Indian tribes as a treatment for skin infections, epilepsy, cholera, anemia, and digestive problems.
Characteristics of the Plant
Tellicherry bark is a deciduous plant that grows traditionally in tropical countries in Asia. In India, this is found usually in the sub-Himalayan area. Tellicherry bark often grows to become a tree or a shrub with a height of 12 to 24 ft on average. It is a highly branched tree whose bark is slightly pale and its leaves are green with short stalks. It blooms with white flowers that become yellow as they age. The fruits of the tellicherry bark are cylindrical and they often pop out in pairs. These fruits have light-brown seeds. The plant usually has a bitter and astringent taste.
The primary components of the tellicherry bark are the following: flavonoids, resin, steroidal alkaloids, phenolic acids, saponins, tannins, coumarins, and ergosterol. The alkaloids that can be found in the bark include kurchine, holarrhimine, holarrhenine, conkurchinine, kurchicine, and conessine.
As an Antifungal and Antimicrobial
The aqueous and ethanolic extracts of the tellicherry bark along with extracts of Plumbago zeylanica L. were evaluated for their antifungal activities against various pathogens such as Aspergillus niger, Aspergillus sydowii, Aspergillus fumigatus, Aspergillus versicolor, Aspergillus nidulans, and Aspergillus flavus. The extracts showed antifungal activities against the said pathogens.
Another study was conducted on the antimicrobial activities of the seed extracts of tellicherry bark and squirrels claws. The microorganisms tested against the antimicrobial effects of these herbs include four strains of fungi and four strains of bacteria. The result of the study showed that the tellicherry bark has a broader spectrum of effectiveness.
Other Health Benefits
Aside from the aforementioned traditional applications of this herb, the tellicherry bark also offers the following health benefits:
In a study done on rats, the tellicherry bark reduced plasma glucose levels 12 hours after applying the dose. The tellicherry bark extract contains flavonoids and phenolic components which are responsible for inhibiting multiple enzymes. This results in the inhibition of glucose absorption which controls postprandial hyperglycaemia. Reduced blood glucose levels are often associated with reduced total triglycerides, cholesterol, alanine aminotransferase, serum creatinine, urea, and alanine aminotransferase.
In hamsters and rats, tellicherry bark showed potential effectiveness against experimental amoebiasis. Moreover, the fruit extract of this plant also has antiprotozoal activity against the pathogens Trypanosoma evansi and human Entamoeba histolytica.
Treatment for Bleeding Piles
This herb is useful in treating piles, particularly bleeding piles due to its astringent properties. The herb constricts the blood vessels found in the anal area, therefore healing the bleeding piles. The tellicherry bark also provides a cooling effect in the area.
Kidney Stone Formation Prevention
Based on in vitro studies, the tellicherry bark can shrink the calcium oxalate crystals that can cause kidney stones. The extract may reduce lactate dehydrogenase synthesis and cell toxicity. In test-tube studies, the studied rats showed a substantial reduction in polyurea, calcium excretion, water consumption, and crystal formation.
The tellicherry bark extract has a tissue-relieving property that helps the body to eliminate stress and become refreshed. It can also tone the muscles and takes away the body’s tiredness or weakness. This is one reason why women are administered this extract. It has the capability to tone the women’s vaginal muscles.
The crushed powder from the bark and seeds of this herb can be used as a dressing for wounds. This will enable the wound to heal faster.
Stimulates the Appetite
For people who are experiencing appetite loss, you can use the preparations made from the plant’s bark to regain your appetite.
In general, it is safe to take tellicherry bark. But taking it in large doses often results in sleeplessness and agitation.