Treating nail fungus (onychomycosis) has always been a difficult challenge. A fungal infection in a fingernail or toenail creeps up slowly and insidiously, often starting as a slight discoloration and advancing bit by bit until you suddenly realize that there really is a problem. The retreat of the fungus is just as slow, and complete resolution of symptoms must wait until the nail has grown out completely and replaced itself – many months.
The length of time it takes to be successful in treating onychomycosis will test the patience of many a fungal nail sufferer. The long wait can make you doubt that the nail fungus product you are using is having any effect. Interestingly this is just as true of the prescription drugs for treating nail fungus as it is for old home remedies and natural treatments – you have to use the preparation for many months and wait for the nail to grow out.
There are many types of nail fungus product available to consumers today: they range from over the counter antifungal lotions, creams, and oral prescription drugs, to a selection of remedies derived from natural sources. The natural treatments are worth investigating: in a way, treating nail fungus with a natural treatment makes sense because plants must fight off the attacks of fungi in the environment all the time. Some plants have extremely effective defenses against fungal invasion, including natural chemicals that can be extracted and used to fight of fungi in human infections.
One of the most promising natural remedies marketed for treating nail fungus is tea tree oil, an herbal extract of the Australian tea tree. Though it can be purchased as a pure oil, many topical preparations use it in combination with other herbal extracts. At least one nail fungus product uses both a topical herbal preparation, including tea tree oil, and an herbal oral supplement to fight off the stubborn fungi that get established in human nails. Preliminary scientific evidence and the testimonials of those who have tried it indicate that this approach really does work, and the low cost compared to prescription drugs tends to make it appealing to many people.
No nail fungus product will work if the problem is not fungus to begin with, so before choosing an over the counter or natural healing product, have a medical professional look at your infection and confirm that a fungus is causing it. If there is any doubt, a sample of the nail can be sent to a medical laboratory for testing. Once you are sure of what you are dealing with, you’ll be able to select a product for treating nail fungus – but remember, treatment takes a long time. You have to be patient.