Many people suffer from thickened, discolored, and misshapen nails. About 50 percent of these problematic nails are due to the fungal infection of the nail bed, nail plate, and matrix. The medical term for this nail infection is onychomycosis or tinea unguium. The fungal organism that causes most nail fungal infections is Trichophyton rubrum.
What the infection looks like?
Infected nails are thicker than the usual nails. They could come in the odd shape or are warped. The nails could also break that easily. Nails that are infected with fungus often appear yellow. Sometimes a white dot appears on the nail surface, and this becomes bigger over time. When fungus starts to spread under the nail, it may cause the nail to loosen and at times it completely falls off. The fungus is likely to spread to the surrounding skin too.
What are some risk factors to avoid from?
These are some factors that promote a fungal infection or at least encourage fungal growth:
Wearing tight footwear that encourages crowding of one’s toes, making them moist and warm. This creates the right environment for fungi to grow and spread. Any repeated nail trauma to the nail allows the fungi to get into the nail. Communal showers also allow the feet to become exposed to fungi. Diseases that weaken the immune system such as AIDS and diabetes make it easier for fungus to invade.
How is this diagnosed?
Nail fungal infections must be diagnosed by getting a sample of the debris underneath the nail. The nail needs to be trimmed regularly. This is because most of the fungal elements can be found under the nail which could be closest to the nail. The two tests that can be used for diagnosing a nail fungal infection are the KOH test and fungal culture.
What are some treatments?
The most aggressive nail fungus treatment is often a prescription oral antifungal. This must be taken for months up to a year. Alternative therapy is a topical antifungal, which must be directly applied to the nail.
1All about the Ugu Leaves / Fluted Pumpkin Leaves
The ugu / fluted pumpkin is one of the plants that come from the West African continent, particularly from Southern Nigeria. This may be unfamiliar to you, but this plant has been cultivated in the countries Ghana, Sierra Leona, and Cameroon. Its botanical name is Telfairia Occidentalis Hook F, and it belongs to the Cucurbitacase family.
Fluted pumpkin leaves become edible when they are boiled or cooked with various dishes. They may also be consumed as a vegetable salad or perhaps even a juice when the fresh leaves are mashed, and their juice extracted. The seeds on the other hand can be used as a soap ingredient or serve as a spice.
In Yoruba, this is called sokoyokoto. In the Igbo language, this is called ugu while Hausa is known as kabewa. The people in Efik call it Ikong-Ubong.
The fluted pumpkin leaves have been seen to contain calcium, niacin, potassium, magnesium, folate, manganese, flavonoids, vitamins A, vitamins B2, B6, C2, and E, carotene, and flavonoids. According to researchers, these fluted pumpkin leaves possess protein, fiber, as well as, phosphorus.
As an Antifungal / Antimicrobial
The aqueous extract of Telfairia Occidentalis has shown antimicrobial effects against pathogenic bacteria. It was found to have an inhibitory effect against Staphylococcus aureus but not against Escherichia coli.
Phytochemical screening of the Telfairia Occidentalis leaf extract reveals that this contains flavonoid, saponin, alkaloid, phytate, riboflavin, phenol, vitamin A, and vitamin C. The extract has been observed to inhibit the growth of the following organisms: Fusarium oxysporum, Geotrichum candidum, Aspergillus niger, and Rhizopus stolonifer.
Other Health Benefits
The ugu leaves are known for their health benefits. The following are some of them:
Helps control diabetes
The leaves, stems, and extracts of the ugu plant have been proven by several studies to possess some diabetic effects due to its anti-diabetic properties. The plant has polysaccharide material as well as ethyl acetate, among other elements. Fiber is highly essential for controlling blood sugar. Consuming foods that are rich in fiber has been seen to help control blood sugar. This plant has also been observed to help improve glucose tolerance as well as serum insulin levels.
Helps enhance memory
The fluted pumpkin leaves similar to all other green leafy vegetables have compounds that help enhance one’s memory. This plant provides essential nutrients such as magnesium and vitamins that help the brain, as well as the nervous system, improve their functions normally. This also helps with cognitive reasoning, memory loss, and other memory-related conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.
Helps treat anemia
Fluted pumpkin leaves are loaded with iron nutrients that aid in the occurrence of anemia. This is also because of the ugu leaves haematinic properties. When you suffer from anemia, consuming the ugu leaves regularly will serve as a natural alternative remedy for anemia.
Helps cure malaria
Ugu leaves are known to possess anti-malaria properties. This benefit of malaria has also been linked to the antiplasmodial and schizonticisal properties of fluted pumpkin leaves. It is also because of such properties that ugu leaves are known to treat a parasitic malarial infection.
Helps prevent kidney conditions
Fluted pumpkin leaves have a high phosphorus content that helps prevent kidney ailments. As a consequence, phosphorus is also known to prevent kidney stone formation and maintain the regular functions of the kidneys.
Helps with stress reduction
Consuming the ugu leaves will help eliminate stress and depression. This is attributed to the antioxidant nutrients found in these leaves, which include dismutase, glutathione reductase, ascorbic acid, and tocopherol. When you are on a tight budget for food, you may also consider fluted pumpkin leaves as a meal option.
Helps increase blood production
Ugu leaves contain a large amount of iron and other essential minerals which make them capable of stimulating oxygen in the body and at the same time preventing anemia. Ingesting these leaves may improve blood flow in the body and at the same time increase the amount of blood in the body.
Helps with weight loss
Ugu leaves also contain calcium and fiber which can help with weight loss when added to one’s diet.