Thyme to give nail fungus the flick

nail fungus, thyme, thymolIf you’ve ever had a toe nail or finger nail fungus infection you’ll know how frustratingly hard it can be to get rid of. There are numerous medicinal ointments on the market however anecdotal evidence would suggest, while offering some degree of control, they don’t cure the infection entirely. Just when you think you’re on top of it, it comes back with a vengeance!

Increasingly fungal-infection sufferers are finding success through the use of essential oils. Essential oils have low molecular weight which means they easily penetrate the nail plate and reach the fungal infection harbouring beneath. Side effects are almost non-existent, and unlike some commercial ointments, it’s rare for nail fungus to develop a resistance to essential oils.

In a review published in Mycopathologia¹, researchers found that, “…the use of an essential oil incorporated into a topical formulation is an interesting, safe, and effective alternative for the treatment for onychomycosis (nail fungal infection).

Essential oils commonly recommended in the treatment of nail fungus include, oregano oil, tea tree oil, manuka oil clove oil and something called thymol. Thymol is found naturally in oil produced from the common household herb, thyme.  Thymol is what gives culinary thyme it’s distinctive and very agreeable aroma.

Several studies² have found that Thymol interferes with the development and growth of hyphae (the filaments that make up fungus), and damages the organism’s viability.

What is nail fungus?

Onychomycosis, also known as nail fungus is estimated to affect around 8-10 per cent of the population. While the condition is not debilitating it can be uncomfortable, sometimes painful, and many sufferers are self-conscious about how the fungus changes the look of the nail.

Nail fungus is generally characterised by the following symptoms:

  • nail thickens and/or changes shape
  • brittleness, softness and greatly increased breakage of the nail
  • yellowish or brownish discolouration
  • nail detaches from the nail bed
  • tinea
  • pain.

What causes nail fungus?

While there’s no one defining cause of nail fungus there are many risk factors including:

  • injury to the nail bed which may allow an infection to enter
  • contact with contaminated environments such as pools, spas, sauna and nail salons
  • a history of athlete’s foot and/or psoriasis
  • poor circulation in the legs and feet
  • an in-balance in gut bacteria
  • a compromised immune system
  • a family history.

We can help

National Custom Compounding regularly makes up thymol and chloroform topical ointments for the treatment of fungal infections. Chloroform also acts as an antifungal agent. Speak to your integrative doctor today to discuss whether thymol and chloroform is the right treatment for your particular nail condition.