A lot of people develop nail fungal infections in their lifetime. It is not that serious usually, but this can also be unpleasant and challenging to cure. It takes time for the infection to develop. The infected nail becomes discolored, misshapen, and thickened. Toenails are more often infected compared to fingernails. Its medical name is onychomycosis.
Signs and Symptoms
A fungal nail infection often does not show any symptoms at first. But as the infection progresses, it may lead to the following symptoms: nail discoloration, thickening and distortion of the nail, pain, and discomfort from the nail, and having brittle or crumbly nails. There are cases when the skin becomes infected, and it becomes red, itchy, swollen, and cracked.
Causes and Risk Factors
Dermatophytes are a group of fungi. Most nail fungal infections are caused by dermatophytes. These are the same fungi that cause an athlete’s foot. Fungi thrive in our bodies without causing trouble. The problem begins when they spread and infect. Fungi usually thrive in a warm and moist environment like the inside of one’s shoes. Nail fungus infections may also be caused by yeasts and molds.
It is more likely that you get infected with nail fungal infections when your feet are not kept dry and clean, you wear footwear that makes your feet sweaty and hot, you walk barefoot in public areas like swimming pools and shower rooms, have damaged or injured nails, or have a chronic condition like diabetes or a weakened immune system.
For mild fungal infections, a nail fungus treatment may not always be necessary. But if your nails start to look different and cause pain or discomfort, it’s time you seek the help of a foot doctor or podiatrist. He or she is more likely to prescribe one of the following: antifungal tablets, antifungal topical medication, and laser treatment.
Laser treatment is a new type of treatment that uses laser light to eliminate the fungus.
1All about Tongkat Ali
Tongkat ali has been traditionally known as an aphrodisiac, but it has multiple uses other than that. This is native to Southeast Asia. Tongkat ali (scientific name Eurycoma longifolia) is a popular flowering shrub that contains lots of phytochemicals such as bioactive steroids, quassinoids, flavonoids, and alkaloids.
Different parts of the shrub are used in traditional medicine as a remedy for various ailments. These parts include leaves, bark, roots, and fruit. However, it is the roots that contain the most bioactive compounds.
Tongkat ali is also known by various names such as Longjack, Ali’s Umbrella, and Jack. This comes in several forms namely energy drinks, teas, dietary supplements, and coffee drinks.
Tongkat ali has caught the interest of many researchers and scientists around the world. It has gained the reputation of being a potent herbal medicine, a claim that is based on years of scientific studies and research.
As Antifungal or Antimicrobial
The ethanolic extract from tongkat ali roots has been tested for its antifungal activity. It revealed that the plant has inhibition activity against two types of fungal strains which are Aspergillus fumigatus and Candida albicans. This means that Eurycoma longifolia root extract possesses antifungal properties and it has the highest potential to become a medicinal item.
Other Health Benefits
Tongkat ali is known for multiple health benefits for various health ailments. The following are some of the best benefits of tongkat ali:
One-third of women and one-fifth of men who are older than 50 suffer from osteoporosis. Tongkat ali has recently emerged as a powerful treatment and prevention against osteoporosis. It has been revealed to be more effective against male osteoporosis compared to female osteoporosis.
A 2011 study showed that orchidectomised rats benefited immensely from tongkat ali supplementation not to mention testosterone replacement. The rats also managed to retain the levels of calcium found in their bones because of the tongkat ali treatment. Those who were given tongkat ali showed better results compared to those who were administered testosterone replacement supplements.
Tongkat ali has also shown potential in relieving and regulating stress. A 2013 study revealed the impact of tongkat ali on stress hormones. The study involved 63 individuals and lasted for four weeks. The conclusion of the study showed that people who took tongkat ali showed substantial improvement in their stress levels. The testosterone levels increased while the cortisol, the hormone which induces stress, was greatly reduced.
Tongkat ali has also shown significant impact when it is used as a remedy for diabetes. Diabetes may be difficult to manage, and some drugs don’t work for some people. Based on an animal study, the medicinal effects of tongkat ali were seen to be promising. In the study concerning rats, the blood sugar levels of hyperglycemic rats decreased by 47 percent and 38 percent when two types of tongkat ali extracts were administered.
Improves Sexual Health and Libido
Tongkat ali is a popular natural remedy that comes next to Viagra. Tongkat ali has been known to help with ensuring male reproductive health functions and fertility levels. This includes semen production, libido, sperm motility, and erectile function.
A 12-week study conducted by the University of Science Malaysia on 109 men with ages 30 to 55 showed that tongkat ali had a substantial impact on libido and sexual health. Compared to those given placebo, tongkat ali resulted in increased semen volume, sperm motility, and also improved libido and erectile function.
Enhances Physical Fitness
Tongkat ali has been marketed as an ergogenic supplement for athletes. It is known to increase muscle mass, strength, and endurance, primarily because it can boost the body’s testosterone levels.
A 2021 randomized study which was published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice showed that tongkat ali supplementation enhanced muscle strength and cardiorespiratory fitness of men who suffered from low testosterone levels.
Tongkat ali has been used for centuries as a traditional remedy for various ailments, but there is not much information on its side effects. Some people have to take precautionary measures when taking tongkat ali supplements. These include those who have a suppressed immune system and those who are taking medications for hypoglycemia or high blood pressure. Pregnant women and nursing moms must also avoid taking tongkat ali supplements.