Fungal infections that affect the nails are known as dermatophytic onychomycosis and also as tinea unguium. The fungus that is responsible for this infection is the same fungus that gives you athlete’s foot, ringworm, and jock itch. The fungus feeds off keratin which is that protein substance that makes the nail hard. A nail fungal infection may affect both the fingernails and toenails. However, it is more prevalent on the toenails.
What are the causes of fungal infection?
The most common cause of nail fungal infections is a fungus that belongs to the group known as dermatophytes. In some cases, a fungal infection may be caused by yeasts like Candida or molds. These normally attack nails that are already damaged because these are easier to invade. Both fingernail and toenail infections are common among elderly people, those who have a weakened immune system, diabetes, a blood circulation disorder, and other chronic conditions. These people are more susceptible to becoming infected with nail fungus.
What are some common symptoms of the infection?
A fungal infection often starts at a free edge of a nail. Then it spreads down on the side of the nail until it affects the cuticle base. Eventually, the entire nail may become infected. The infected area of the nail may become whitish or yellowish, thickened, crumbly, brittle, and dull. It’s the big and little toenails that are often infected.
What are some treatments for nail fungal infections?
It’s important to be cautious that the fungal infection won’t spread to other parts of the toes. It can be embarrassing and uncomfortable to have nail fungal infections as well. Doctors may prescribe an oral nail fungus treatment but only after a lab test result is obtained which shows the microorganism that caused the infection. A topical nail fungal medication may also be prescribed, but this is less effective than oral medication. In some cases, a combination of these two types of nail fungal treatments may be recommended.
2All about the Gotu Kola
The gotu kola is a perennial herb that is native to the entire Asian continent. This herb has been part of traditional medicine for centuries because of its primary health benefits. These are found both in Chinese and Ayurvedic traditional medicine. The scientific name for this herb is Centella asiatica. This plant is native to the tropical and subtropical regions of Asia. This herb is widely grown in Southeast Asia. Today, you can find this herb in many countries including South Africa, India, Sri Lanka, Australia, Indonesia, Japan, and China.
This is often used as a tea, juice, or a leafy green vegetable. It is also being marketed as a dietary supplement that comes in the form of powder, capsule, tincture, and other topical formulations. Gotu kola is also called by its other names Indian pennywort and marsh penny. In Chinese medicine, this is known as ji xue sao while in Ayurvedic medicine it is called brahmi. In India, it is not only used as a medicinal herb. It is also consumed as food. The medicinal value of the herb is due to its triterpenoids. It has triterpene saponins and sapogenins that have been credited for the herb’s wound healing and vascular impact on the body. Gotu kola also contains more than 70 constituents, which may include flavonoids, polyacetylenes, sterols, lipids, and flavones.
As an Antifungal and Antimicrobial
A research study was done to determine the antimicrobial effects of the leaf and root extracts of the gotu kola. These are ethanol, aqueous, and chloroform extracts. The six strains of bacteria studied were Staphylococcus albus, Escherichia coli, Psedomonas aeruginosa, Streptococcus pyogenes, Streptococcus pneumonia, and Staphylococcus aureus and also the fungal species Microsporium boulardii, Aspergillus niger, and Aspergillus flavus, as well as one yeast species Candida albicans. The study showed that the root extract of gotu kola has stronger antimicrobial effects than the leaf extract. This means that the gotu kola indeed has an essential role to play in traditional medicine.
Another study compared the antimicrobial effects of gotu kola and string bamboo extracts on five pathogenic bacteria namely Escherichia coli, Bacillus subtilis, Staphylococcus aureus, Mycobacterium tuberculosis H37Rv strain, and Salmonella typhi. Both herbs have shown inhibitory effects on the bacterial strains, making them both potential alternative treatments.