I saw a 7 year old child having fungal infection in his right thumb. Now this child belonged to a decent family, educated parents, hygiene well maintained, but somehow got infected with this fungus. Regular cleansing and treatment with antifungal powders/creams helped him temporarily. After just one week the fungus would reappear. I prescribed him some ayurvedic herbs, but eventually he could not find them in his nearby pharmacy. So I had to come up with a combination which was available online. The combination was essential oil-Tea tree and Neem. Both of the oils were available in pure form in many online shops. The child was bandaged regularly with a small cloth soaked in these oils. It hardly required 2 drops of each oil, every time the bandage was done. And within 2 weeks the 1 year old infection was gone. Here, in this article, we shall explore few more herbs which have potent anti-microbial and anti fungal activity. Some of these are rare, and hence are worth collecting. Some of these are completely unknown to the markets. We shall also see why this disease gets foothold in the human body.
How to identify Fungal Infection on Nails
Fungal infection is formally called Onychomycosis. It makes your nail thicker and changes its colour to black, yellow or green. I have mostly seen yellow nails. As the infection progresses the nail becomes brittle, with chipping off at regular intervals. It generally doesn’t have any pain, which means it has got a full freedom to grow unchecked until it gets deep rooted. People have a tendency to overlook it, which allows it the status of being the most common disease of nail covering about half of all nail issues.
Foods that increase the susceptibility of the disease (Fungal Infection)
Food and habits increasing Kapha(water and earth elements) and Pitta(fire element)
Wrong food combinations like milk and fish
Long term intake of sea food
Foods which are heavy to digest
Excess intake of black gram
The Role of Emotions
In my clinical practice I have seen a line connecting emotional susceptibility and fungal infections. Anyone who has an internal tendency to get hurt, or not to react back promptly or those who are not basically aggressive, are easily infected by fungus. Not only this whenever their mood gets a downward slump, their fungal infection either reappears or increases. Improving the mental status by constant counseling goes a long way for combating any sort of disease.
Rare Herbs for Fungal infection on Nails
1. The Indian cork tree
Also called tree jasmine, is first in the list because its sole species in the genus Millingtonia. Also because its my favourite among the fragnant flowers. The bark of tree has been proven to possess extra ordinary anti fungal properties apart from being useful in various other conditions.
2. Bakuchi-Psoralea corylifolia
Though its more popular to use bakuchi oil from its seeds for leukodrma, a simple paste of leaves can br used with benefit in fungal conditions. It can be easily grown at home being an annual plant.
3. Kadamba tree
Scientific name Neolamarckia cadamaba, it is an excellent antifungal tree. Though the plant in itself is not rare but people generally don’t know its antimicrobial power. The best part is, though research has proven its anti-fungal properties, they are unable to explain the exact mechanism of how the herb works. The whole part of the tree including bark, stem, roots, leaves and fruit exhibit anti fungal properties
4. Tuvaraka-Hydnocarpus laurifolia
The phytochemical studies done on tuvaraka shows promising results on fungal infection. Tuvaraka oil is easily available in the market by the name chalmogra oil. Once a common tree, now there are few who know it. It is available in Maharashtra and Assam in warm and moist climate (ironically the same climate is heaven for fungus also).
5. Karanja-Pongamia pinnata
You may walk pass this tree and not know the wonderful property it possesses. Not only it has beautiful flowers but it is specially used as a bio-fuel/diesel these days in rural India. Now here’s a plant which is proven fungi-toxic in research. This means it kills fungus directly. The leaves or stem when used for external application, will guarantee that the human pathogenic fungi will not return easily. The seeds possess highest fungi toxic property followed by root, bark and leaves.
6. Araghwadha-Cassia Fistula
In april when you walk in the streets of delhi, especially from Shantipath to South avenue, you will find this tree in full bloom, creating a heavenly yellow aura all around. From soaring high skies to the green grass around all seem covered in a mist created by the yellow flowers for araghwadha. Few know that this tree is along with fruit pulp(which generally gets ready by june end) is an excellent anti fungal drug. A simple smear with the pulp paste will get rid of the itching and oedema caused by the fungus. Though it beneficial in many other medical conditions, but it should be always used with caution because of its toxic nature.
How to Prepare an anti-fungal cream at home
If you get hold of any of these potent anti-fungal trees, seeds, bark, root, leaves, I suggest you go for preserving them by making a cream out of it. In that way you can have them readily usable also. The rule of thumb is to either make a paste of them or boil them to take an extract. Filter the extract several time until no floating particles are seen in the suspension. Warm oil over a pan, and add two cakes of bee wax in it. Once the bee wax is completely melted, you can add the extract slowly to the oil, while constantly stirring with a spoon. After this let it solidify and store in a dry jar. Your home made anti-fungal cream is ready.
Some natural minerals having anti fungal property
The following should be used cautiously and only under medical supervision
• Gandhaka – Sulphur
• Haratala -Purified Yellow arsenic
• Tuttha – Copper sulphate solution is used externally in skin disorders
Other Nail Fungus Treatment Options
Apart from the remedies above various oral, topical, laser and surgical treatment options are also available at the moment to get rid of germs causing nail fungus. There is also some anecdotal evidence of otc nail fungus treatments that don’t need prescription to work for some sufferers (one such story is posted at Funginix.org with before after pictures). It is claimed to be a side effect free solution for most sufferers but that needs to be checked.
Whether you choose a homemade remedy, an over-the-counter solution or medically approved prescription, it still takes more than a couple of months of treatment to fully resolve nail fungus (Onychomycosis). This is because clear nails take time to grow after fungus is eliminated from nail bed and surrounding areas.