I’m looking for toenail fungus remedies. Can you help me?
This is a common question I get from Health & Healing subscribers and patients at the clinic.
When fungus invades the nails, they become thick, discolored, misshapen or brittle—not a pretty sight. Beyond appearance, onychomycosis, as it’s officially called, may be painful and, in rare cases, cause more serious problems, so it’s good to be aware of your options in toenail fungus remedies.
I wish I could tell you there’s a quick and easy natural remedy, but there isn’t.
No matter what therapy you use, you’re going to have to wait until the affected nail grows out for complete resolution—and for your big toenail, that can take a whole year. However, I do have toenail fungus remedies that I can almost guarantee will lick this problem, providing that you stick with it.
Here’s what you do. Get some DMSO (a sulfur compound) and some SSKI (a saturated solution of potassium iodide), mix equal parts together, and rub on and under the nail a couple of times a day. That’s it. SSKI has potent antimicrobial activity, and DMSO is a carrier that allows SSKI to penetrate the nail and skin, where it does its magic. The only downside of this duo is that DMSO has a distinctive odor (my wife says flat-out that it stinks), and the iodine in SSKI may discolor and stain your nails and socks.
Another treatment that we’ve had some success with is tea tree oil, applied to nails daily.
I don’t recommend oral antifungals. The FDA has issued a public health advisory about Lamisil and Sporanox, whose side effects include heart failure, severe liver damage and death. Lamisil is also linked with bone marrow toxicity.
According to The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics, “The advisability of taking either of these expensive drugs for months to treat an infection that is mainly cosmetic and may relapse is unclear.” Topical antifungals are also available, but their efficacy is questionable—one of these drugs, Penlac, resolved infection in only 10 percent of patients studied.
SSKI, DMSO, and tea tree oil are inexpensive and safe toenail fungus remedies, although high oral doses of SSKI may interfere with thyroid function. You can find these products in health-food stores or purchase them through online retailers.