A nail fungal infection which is also known as onychomycosis is an infection that occurs underneath the nail. The infection is caused by microorganisms like fungi. When the pathogens take hold, the nail goes through several changes. The nail becomes darker due to the debris that collects underneath it. It may smell bad. The nail may also become distorted, brittle, and crumbly. In some cases, the nail may also separate from the nail bed. The infection may spread from one nail to another, and it may also be spread to other parts of the body. When the infection is ignored, this may lead to difficulty in walking and even just wearing shoes. A nail fungus infection may also be accompanied by a secondary yeast or bacterial infection.
What are its possible causes?
It is quite impossible to avoid contact with microorganisms such as fungi. The most common fungi that cause nail disorders belong to the group called dermatophytes. These are the same fungi that cause ringworm, athlete’s foot, and jock itch.
Are there risk factors?
Some people are known to be more susceptible to fungi. These are those who suffer from conditions like diabetes, blood circulation issues, psoriasis, and a weakened immune system. Some habits may also make one more susceptible to fungal infection. These include frequently walking barefoot in damp public places like swimming pools, changing rooms, and showers; sharing personal items like nail clippers, a nail injury, and constant pressure from wearing shoes.
How are they diagnosed and treated?
Nail fungal treatments differ according to the cause of the infection and the level of severity. The doctor may ask for a nail sample which will be sent to a lab for microscopy. Based on the results, the doctor could prescribe nail fungus treatment options from oral, and topical, to nail removal when the infection becomes severe and resistant to treatments. A newer type of treatment is laser therapy.
1All about Chirayita
Chirayita is a highly popular ayurvedic herb that naturally grows in the sub-temperate regions of the Himalayas from India to Bhutan. It is highly popular for having a bitter taste.
This particular bitter-tasting herb has many different names in various areas of the world. These names include East Indian Balmony, Gentiana chirata, Indian Bolonong, Genciana de la India, Chirette des Indes, Swertia chirayita, Swertia chirata, and Indian Gentian.
On the other hand, it is known in the Indian subcontinent by the following names: Kiratatiktaka, Chirata, Kariyatu, Chiraita, Nelavemu, Bhunimba, Nilamakanjiram, Chireita, Kirata, Chiretta, Bhunimba, Chirayat, and others.
This incredible medicinal herb has been acknowledged in several ayurvedic journals and scriptures for various applications such as skin disorders, fever, appetite stimulation, helping with digestion, managing diabetes, relief from breathing difficulties, bleeding prevention, relief from sore throat, treatment for diarrhea, relief from intestinal worms, treatment for anemia, and many others.
Chirayita is loaded with powerful ingredients which have been established to provide this herb’s health benefits. The bitter herb is also rich in alkaloids, antioxidants, glycosides such as stearic acid, palmitic acid, chiratanin, oleic acid, xanthones, amarogentin, swerchirin, gentiopicrin, chiratol, and more compounds.
As an Antifungal and Antimicrobial
In a study, the extracts from chirayita were investigated to determine their biological activities. The extracts showed antibacterial activities against 12 pathogens, 6 gram-positive, and 6 gram-negative bacteria. Examples of these bacterial strains are Bacillus megaterium, Salmonella typhi-A, Bacillus subtilis, Shigella flexeneriae, Klebsiella sp, and even Staphylococcus aureus.
Another study showed that bacterial isolates from chirayita as well as datura possess antibacterial and antifungal properties. This could be considered evidence of the herbs’ potential as antibacterial and antifungal agents.
Other Health Benefits
Chirayita as a medicinal herb has a high potential value for treating various ailments. Here are some of its popular health benefits:
For fever treatment
Chirata is known to bring down body temperature in someone who has a fever. Its effects on fever are likened to that of paracetamol. It is, however, important to consult a doctor when you suffer from fever as it may be a symptom of a more serious condition.
Supports a healthy central nervous system
Chirata produces a metabolite known as Swertiamartin, which is often used in treating anxiety and acute stress because of its beneficial effects on the central nervous system. This also helps in controlling convulsions. This may be an indication of chirata’s positive effects in treating such conditions. More studies are needed to further establish this; hence, it is important to consult a physician when you suffer from stress, anxiety, and convulsions.
Helps with weight loss
Dried chirata leaves are abundantly endowed with flavonoids, which aid the body to shed excess weight much faster. It is also loaded with fiber and essential nutrients. The formulations of this bitter-tasting herb can satisfy hunger pangs and prevent overeating when this herb is consumed regularly. It also reduces LDL or bad cholesterol levels in the body, which helps improve the body’s metabolism, allowing the body to maintain a healthy weight.
For diabetes management
Chirayita also has exceptional hypoglycaemic property, which plays a significant role in controlling the body’s blood sugar levels. Chirata formulations help in the production of insulin from the β-pancreatic cells. This helps in reducing the breakdown of starch into glucose which results in lower blood glucose levels and consequently helps to manage diabetes.
Helps in treating skin disorders
Chirayita has the ability to purify the blood, thanks to its antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. Chirata is also known to remove toxins from the blood, which helps in treating and managing skin diseases. This is why the herb is also a lot helpful in treating inflammation, rashes, itching, burning sensation, and redness. It is also a useful remedy for pimples, acne, skin eruptions, boils, eczema, and scabies.
For liver protection
Chirayita is also known for its abundance of hepato-protective properties. These eliminate the toxins from the body, contributing to liver health. Moreover, this helps in the regeneration of new liver cells.
Chirata also helps in eliminating parasites from the body such as roundworms, helminthes, tapeworms, and also flukes. At the same time, this bitter herb also heals the symptoms brought by the attack of the parasites on the body.