Tinea Unguium treatment, a natural cure? A home remedy and suggestions that helps reduce the severity of the infection, by Ray Sahelian, M.D.
March 12 2016

Tinea unguium may affect one or more toenails and/or fingernails and most often involves the great toenail or the little toenail. Tinea unguium often results from untreated tinea pedis (feet) or tinea manuum (hand). It may follow an injury to the nail.

G Ital Dermatol Venereol. December 2013. Update on the management of onychomycosis. This fungal infection of the nail is highly prevalent in the general population, particularly among older individuals. The difficulty in treating it results from the deep-seated nature of the infection within the nail unit and the inability of drugs to effectively reach all sites. Present treatment options include both oral and topical drugs, with oral therapies giving better outcomes. New derivatives with a favorable risk-benefit ratio and new formulations of older azoles seem to be promising. The research for new drugs or formulations has the objective of discovering new active antifungals or new technologies to facilitate incorporation or persistence of existing antifungal drugs inside the nail plate. In fact, the same antimycotics that heal skin fungal infections are rendered less efficacious in nail disease. Treatment options include photodynamic and laser therapy.

A natural tinea unguium cure? The medical establishment would be quite surprised
Is there a natural home remedy for tinea unguium that really works? There is a partial cure / treatment. Modern medicine may not be aware that there is a partial natural cure for tinea unguium infection. It mostly involves soaking the toes in magnesium sulfate, and following several important suggestions. And, amazingly, the total cost for this home remedy for tinea unguium cure is less than 100 dollars. However, it takes a lot of time and commitment to get rid of the tinea unguium.

Natural nail fungus cure? Not really but a treatment that helps a great deal
I have come across a natural tinea unguium treatment that helps reduce the severity. This treatment is inexpensive and effective, but takes time. Follow all of these suggestions if you wish to get rid of your tinea unguium infection. For up to date, additional information on this topic, see toe nail fungus web page which is revised more frequently with additional details and specific suggestions.

Go the the grocery store and buy a large bag of Epsom salts, also known as magnesium sulfate. Also buy a nail filer.

File the thickened nail down as much as it is comfortable before soaking. Keep the nails as short as you can.  Every day or two it is helpful to file the thickened nail down so that the Epsom salt has access to the deeper layers. By filing away the excess thickened nail, it could speed the recovery.

At least once a day or preferably twice a day, soak your affected toes in a container with water and a palmful of Epsom salt. I used very hot water for my treatment, and I am not sure if room temperature water is also effective. I boiled water and added it to a shallow bowl and as soon as it was comfortable to soak my toes, I added a few tablespoons of the magnesium sulfate crystals and soaked by toes for at least 15 minutes while watching TV. Occasionally i would take my toes out of the water, add the Epsom salt directly to the nails and the skin around the nails and let it out of the water for a minute or two before soaking them again (not sure if this is needed, but I wanted direct contact of the nails and surrounding skin with the magnesium sulfate.)

I am not sure if soaking the feet more than twice a day will heal the tinea unguium sooner, but if you are motivated to do so, go ahead.

In order for this natural toe nail fungus treatment to be effective, you have to keep your feet out of shoes and socks as much as possible. Wear sandals as much as possible. The more time your feet spend in socks or shoes, the more difficult it will be for you to get rid of the toe nail fungal infection.

If you have to wear shoes, for instance at work, at least take them off during lunch, soak your feet in the Epsom salt, and wear new socks and a different pair of shoes the rest of the afternoon and take your shoes off as soon as you get home.

Sleep at night with your feet outside of the blanket. If you feet get cold, wear socks with the tips cut off so that at least your toes are open to the air.

Basically, the idea is to kill the fungus in the nails. Fungi love heat and humidity. The cooler and drier you keep your toes and feet, the quicker they will heal. Magnesium sulfate acts as a powerful drying agent. Perhaps it also directly kills the fungi, but I don't know for sure. Fungi love humidity and moistness.

If you are fortunate enough to live by a beach, walk on the sand daily with bare feet.

If you are a construction worker or have to wear shoes daily for prolonged periods, it may be difficult to cure your toe nail fungus infection. If you are very motivated, consider taking a sabbatical for a few weeks to take care of your nails.

If you have toe nail fungal infection and surrounding athlete's foot, the magnesium sulfate soaks could help the skin, too. You could apply an anti-fungal cream to the skin around the nail, massaging it deeply. Tea tree oil is an good option. Toe nail fungus infection is difficult to cure. By preventing the spread of athlete's foot, nail infection can be minimized or avoided.

Tea tree oil for tinea unguium
I have been asked many times whether tea tree oil cream is an effective treatment for tinea unguium. I only have limited experience in this area, but I have not found tea tree oil to be effective as a cure for toe nail fungus. However, tea tree oil has better potential for athlete's foot, or tinea pedis.

Q. I have had tinea unguim for several years and my doctor has suggested oral anti-fungal medications. I prefer not to take them for long periods since i realize they can cause liver damage. I was wondering, though, whether I could take one of these drugs that treat tinea ungium along with soaking in epsom salts and perhaps I would not need to take the drugs as long and I would have fewer side effects.
   A. This is an interesting approach to a tinea unguium cure. It's worth a try.

Tinea versicolor questions
Q. After having fenced with tinea versicolor for the last 35 years, I've recently noticed that it seems to multiply and spread faster if I've been ingesting large amounts of sugars. This leads me to believe the fungus may be thriving on a minute amount of sugar being excreted through the skin. Are there any supplements which may effect this, either by improving the sugar conversion cycle, or perhaps strengthening the filtration and pancreatic organs like a tonic?
   A. This is an interesting observation regarding tinea versicolor. You may consider reading the web page on diabetes on this site.