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How Tea Tree Oil Can Treat Toenail Fungus

Toenail Fungus Cures - How to use Tea Tree to treat the feet!

by Jonathan N. Group, R.D., D.C

For centuries aboriginal people from Australia have been using the tea tree's leaves to treat skin infections. Tea tree oil, also known as melaleuca oil or manuka oil is stream- distilled from the leaves of this plant which grown in Australia or New Zealand. Brought by Captain Cook from its native Australia in the 1770s, the oil is produced from the Melaleuca Alternifolia tree.

High quality tea tree oil is usually available in health food or specialty stores.

One of the most beneficial natural antiseptics, tea tree oil has been extensively used to combat a wide variety of infections and ailments. The active ingredient in tea tree oil is terpinen-4-ol, which has been proven to combat bacteria and fungi. It has been used to treat cuts, scrapes, and other minor skin wounds and irritations. Not only does tea tree oil attack infections and speed healing, it also reduces the risk of scarring in many applications. Because of its anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, it has rapidly become one of the most widely used antiseptics. Tea tree oil also has the ability to quickly bond with natural oils present in the skin. Because the application of this essential oil to the skin encourages the formulation of a chemical barrier on the skin, continued growth of fungi and other unhealthy organisms is diminished.

One significant application of tea tree oil is in the treatment of toenail fungus. Also referred to as onychomycosis, this common condition accounts for nearly half of all nail disorders and affects a considerable portion of the adult population. Toenails are especially susceptible to fungal growth as fungus favors the moist, warm conditions inside the socks.

Toenail fungus starts as a discoloration on the tip of the toenail and will continue to grow and spread until the entire toenail becomes thick and yellow with crumbling edges. If no treatment is given to destroy the fungus, the condition will worsen and eventually the toenail will form a distorted shape, the color may become green, brown, or black, and the toes may begin to emit a foul odor as the nail falls off. At this point you may also experience some pain in the infected toes.
Although it is extremely common, toenail fungus does not have to be accepted as a distasteful part of life. There are many treatments available to eradicate the fungus that causes this unpleasant condition. Research has shown that tea tree oil an effective remedy for toenail and nail fungus and it is gentler on the skin than prescription medications.

There is no known negative drug interactions associated with the use of tea tree oil. However, it should never be ingested, and a poison control center should be contacted if the product is swallowed. Tea tree oil has recently received much attention for its ability to combat toenail fungus. Although tea tree oil is much gentler than many chemical treatments for toenail fungus, it may irritate sensitive skin, especially around the eyes. Before using this product it is wise to do an allergy test by swabbing some of the oil on the inner arm. If the skin becomes red, swollen, or itchy, do not use it on other parts of the body.

To treat toenail fungus apply tea tree oil to all areas of the toenail and toe that are affected by the fungus. It is not necessary to dilute the oil in this application. The oil will absorb into the toenail and kill the fungus. This treatment should be done two to three times daily. It is essential to complete this therapy daily for six months. Even as the fungus dies and the toenail begins to clear it is vital to continue the treatment daily until the infected portion of the toenail has completely grown out. Missing even one day is enough to cause the fungus to replicate and require an extension of treatment time.

Once the fungus has been taken care of and the toenail is completely healthy, it is vital to take steps to ensure that the fungus does not return. Keeping toenails clean and trimmed is important because fungus can make a home under the toenail. Wear socks that allow the feet to breathe, such as those made from natural fibers such as cotton. If you have exceptionally sweaty feet, give them ample time to dry out during the day, if possible. Never pick at toenails or other skin around the toenails; bacteria and fungus can more easily find a way into your toenails if you do.

If you typically have a salon pedicure, be sure that it is a reputable one that understands the importance of sterilizing all manicure equipment. It also may be necessary to discontinue using toenail polish as it can trap moisture under the polish and encourage the growth of fungus. It is also important to keep the hands clean, especially after contacting fungus that may reside on other toenails because of the contagious nature of the fungus.

About the author:
Dr. Jonathan N. Group, B.S., R.D., D.C. is a Doctor of Chiropractic, Registered Dietitian and Independent Research Scientist. He has over 15 years of educational and research experience in health care focusing in clinical nutrition, alternative medicine, chiropractic, fitness, health and wellness. Dr. Group is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Fungus Research, L.L.C. and heads the research and development team dedicated to producing advanced, new anti-fungal and anti-microbial products.


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