Nail fungus can be embarrassing and at times painful and uncomfortable, but what most people know is that it is not just a cosmetic problem. It is called onychomycosis medically. Nail fungal infection occurs when fungus affects one or more fingernails or toenails.
Symptoms of Nail Fungus
The usual symptoms of nail fungal infection include crumbling nails that have changed in color. The nail may also give off a foul smell and separates the nail from the nail bed. Once the fungus has damaged and distorted the shape of the infected nail it starts to cause pain.
Causes of a Nail Fungus
There are three classes of fungi that cause nail fungal infections. These are yeasts, dermatophytes, and non dermatophyte molds. The most common of them all is the dermatophytes. Two major pathogens are also known to be responsible for 90 percent of nail fungal infections. These are the trichophyton rubrum and trichophyton mentagrophytes.
Who Gets Them?
Nail fungal infections may be caused by an injury to the nail or the surrounding skin, which allows the organisms to enter through a crack or cut on the skin. Other risk factors also include: having poor health, family history of nail fungal infection, tight footwear, immunosuppression, and doing physical fitness activities.
How is nail fungus treated?
It can be tricky to treat a nail fungal infection. A nail fungus treatment depends on the level of severity and the microorganism that caused it. The most preferred treatment option is the prescription-based oral antifungal medication which may take months for a fresh nail to grow. A prescribed topical medication may also be an option, but this may take a longer time to heal than oral medications. For severe cases of nail fungal infections, the doctor may recommend a nail removal to allow a new nail to grow. Laser therapy is also a new alternative, but it is more expensive.
1All about Cajeput
Cajeput is scientifically known as melaleuca leucadendra. It is a plant that belongs to the myrtle family (Myrtaceae). It is widely distributed in the northern parts of Australia. It is also found in the north Solomon Islands and even in New Guinea in Papua New Guinea and Western New Guinea. It is known for so many names which include big white paperbark, Brown tea tree, Broad leaf tea tree, Cajeput tree, Paperbark, Paperbark tea tree, White tea tree, Weeping tea tree, Malaleuca, tea tree, white bottle brush tree, five-veined paperbark, and others.
Cajeput is a tree that can sometimes grow up to 20 meters high. It has a trunk that is covered by thick, white, and papery bark. It also has weeping thin branches.
Other Facts about Cajeput
You can distill cajeput oil from the tree’s leaves. Melaleuca leucadendra can be cultivated as an ornamental tree that is often used in parks and gardens. This may also be used as a windbreaker and it may play an important role in controlling erosion in areas where the soil is degraded or of poor quality. The essential oil from cajeput may also be used as an ingredient in soaps, detergents, perfumes, and insect repellents. Its wood is excellent fuel, and this can be turned into high-quality charcoal. The bark of the cajeput tree is resistant to mildew. This is why it is used for insulating the walls of cold storage rooms. It is also commonly used to stuff pillows. It is also water resistant, making it useful when caulking boats. The bark from the larger trees was used in creating bark canoes in the past. Crushed leaves of the cajeput were also used for treating respiratory infections. Its flowers were also used for making a sweet healthy drink.
As an Antifungal and Antimicrobial
A published study in the International Journal of Microbiology 2020(1):1-10 suggested that cajeput oil has the potential to be used as an ingredient of new potential combination therapies that can combat the antifungal resistance of C. albicans.
The most prized benefit of cajeput oil is its potential to fight off fungi, viruses, and bacteria such as influenza (virus), tetanus (bacteria), as well as infectious diseases like typhoid and cholera. It can be externally applied to wounds and cuts caused by rusty iron, protecting the body against tetanus until the right vaccine is administered.
Other Health Benefits
The most benefits of the cajeput can be enjoyed by using it as a cajeput essential oil. This essential oil is derived from the distilled leaves and branches of the tree. This oil is known for its antiseptic and analgesic properties. It is also used as an anti-inflammatory, which is used in treating colds, minor skin wounds, and inflammatory skin diseases. It is a natural product, but the oil can be as strong as the traditional medication. Like all essential oils, it has to be diluted in a carrier oil before it is applied to the skin. The following are some of the additional health benefits of the cajeput essential oil:
Cajeput oil works like eucalyptus oil which is also a potent decongestant and expectorant. As a decongestant, it provides immediate relief to congestions in the nose, throat, and other respiratory organs and also for the treatment of coughs, infections, and inflammation of the throat and the respiratory tract like pharyngitis (pharynx), laryngitis (larynx), and bronchitis (bronchi).
Cajeput oil is a natural analgesic, which means that it may reduce pain. When it is applied locally, it provides quick relief to headaches and toothache. When ingested, it gives relief to pain in the muscles, joints, and headaches that could be caused by fevers and colds. It’s important to consume this only in highly diluted solutions.
Boosts Energy and Concentration
Cajeput oil is known for its fruity and light aroma which can be highly energizing. This is why it is often used in aromatherapy for reducing brain fog and increasing concentration. It’s a great oil to add to a diffuser when you are at work or studying or when you feel lethargic or lacking motivation.
The cajeput essential oil is oftentimes used as an alternative to eucalyptus and tea tree oil due to its milder and much sweeter aroma.