How to stamp out toenail fungus

The toenail fungal infection known as onychomycosis may be superficial but it’s a persistent infection that ultimately destroys the entire nail. Doctors have been stumped by it, finding no satisfactory cure. So researchers at the Department of Dermatology, University of California, looked into natural alternatives and found that tea tree oil was an effective treatment.

In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 60 participants aged 18 to 80 years with anywhere from 6 to 36 months of infection were given either a placebo cream or a cream containing 5% tea tree oil.

After 16 weeks, 80% of patients using the medicated cream were cured, as opposed to none in the placebo group. Four patients in the active treatment group experienced mild inflammation but did not discontinue using the medicated cream. During follow-up, no relapse occurred in the cured patients while no improvement was seen in the placebo participants or the group who were resistant to the medicated cream.

Tea tree oil is known to have strong antifungal properties and is also commonly used against athlete’s foot.

Sources: Trop Med Int Health. 1999 Apr;4(4):284-7