Tea Tree Oil for Toenail Fungus
Tea tree oil is an herbal extract that comes from trees that grow in the wetland areas of Australia. In areas near where the trees grow, people have used tea tree oil as an herbal medicine for centuries. Scientists have now studied the chemical makeup of tea tree oil and found that it has the ability to fight some types of bacteria and fungus. As a result, it is sometimes used to deal with infections. The Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database states that tea tree oil is "possibly effective" for treating fungal infections of the toenails when applied at 100 percent strength directly to the nail twice daily for 6 months. In studies, roughly 18 percent of people were completely cured of the infection, and 60 percent experienced improvements in the appearance of their toenails after six months of treatment even if the infection had not completely cleared up.
Using Tea Tree Oil on Your Nails
Before using tea tree oil for toenail fungus, make an appointment and talk to your doctor about your infection. You may need to take a prescription medication to deal with the problem if you have any other illnesses or health conditions. Your doctor can let you know if tea tree oil is likely to work safely for you. Once you have talked to your doctor, return to Walgreens, where you'll find many tea tree oil products. Choosing a liquid extract will likely be best for your needs. Typically, tree oil soaps and skin care creams do not have a high enough concentration of the herb to fully address the fungal infection, which can be difficult to treat. Use a disposable cotton swab to spread the oil onto your toenail. It can take several months for nail fungus to respond to any type of treatment, so be sure to continue to use the product as recommended by your doctor for as long as he or she suggests. Tea tree oil may cause swelling of the skin or redness around your nail. Be sure to keep the cap on the bottle of your extract, as the oil is more likely to cause reactions when it is exposed to the air. It may not be safe for young boys to use tea tree oil to address toenail fungus due to concerns about how the herb affects hormone levels in the body.
This summary is intended for general informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of purity, strength, or safety of the products. As a result, effects may vary. You should read product labels. In addition, if you are taking medications, herbs, or other supplements you should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before taking a supplement as supplements may interact with other medications, herbs, and nutritional products. If you have a medical condition, including if you are pregnant or nursing, you should speak to your physician before taking a supplement. Consult a healthcare provider if you experience side effects.