ARTICLE 4) Stop toenail fungus
Author: Donald S. Rehm

A fungal infection of the toenails often results from a chronic athleteís foot infection in our youthful years.

As we grow older, the athleteís foot problem may disappear, particularly if we learn the importance of keeping our feet dry and free from sweat. However, the toenail infection is not so easily eliminated and often continues as a seemingly perpetual problem.

In the past, drugs like griseofulvin and ketoconazole have been used, sometimes successfully, but always with the risk of side effects, particularly since the drugs must be taken over a long period of time.

In recent years, drugs like Sporanox and Lamisil have been heavily promoted as the ultimate cure, but these drugs, like all drugs, carry a certain risk of harmful side effects such as liver damage and they are not as effective as their manufacturers would have us believe. They are also extremely expensive. For those of you who know how modern medicine works, it is not surprising that simple solutions are ignored by our doctors while drugs are offered as the only answer to the problem. There are also a number of over-the-counter products which are for the most part totally ineffective.

Therefore, I offer two solutions to this problem that are cheap, nontoxic and effective.

1) Mix one part DMSO (dimethyl sulfoxide) with 9 parts SSKI (supersaturated potassium iodide). DMSO is a wood pulp derivative. It is rapidly absorbed and distributed in living tissues. It loses its oxygen and is excreted in part as dimethyl sulfide, which provides the garlic-like odor to the breath. If a little is rubbed into the skin, it can be tasted in the mouth in a few moments. It is therefore useful as a nontoxic carrier for other substances. It can be purchased at health food stores or from www.dmso.com. without a prescription. It is available in both cream and liquid form. Get the liquid form.

To buy the SSKI, you will need a prescription. Rather than struggle with the preconceived ideas of a conventional doctor, it is best to go to an alternative medicine practitioner for the prescription. You will probably find that your local pharmacy is unfamiliar with this item and canít easily find a supplier. In such a case, you will need to contact a compounding pharmacist who carries such seldom-used products. Do a search on "compounding pharmacies" for a list of sources. There are a number of such companies that will sell to you by mail. One is www.vannhealthcare.com. It is the SSKI which does the job of killing the fungus. The DMSO carries the SSKI into the infected tissue.

Apply one drop of this mixture under the nail every morning and evening. As the infected tissue under the nail dies and loses feeling, keep cutting the nail back and clean the dead tissue from under the nail as thoroughly and as often as you can. In time, there may be little nail left. When you begin to see new nail, let it grow out but continue the treatment until the nail is completely regrown. Since toenails grow so slowly (slower than fingernails), the complete process will probably take a year or more. However, this would be true even if you used the usual drug approach.

2) An alternative to the above that has also worked is the use of Tea Tree Oil alone. The advantage of this is that a prescription is not needed. Tea Tree Oil can be purchased at health food stores. It is extracted from the leaves of a shrub-like tree found only in Australia. There are over 100 varieties of such plants. The variety most frequently used is Melaleuca Alternifolia. It is a potent natural antiseptic and fungicide and is safer to use than the concocted products of the pharmaceutical industry. It has an odor somewhat like that of turpentine. Just follow the same procedure as with the DMSO/SSKI solution. You could also try using one part DMSO and nine parts Tea Tree Oil. One online source is www.teatreeplace.com.

Books describing DMSO and Tea Tree Oil in more detail may be obtained through your health food store.

Update: Since this article was published, several over-the-counter creams, such as Lamisil, have come on the market. These seem to work for some people, but the manufacturer of Lamisil is NOW recommending their tablets instead of the cream and saying that "Creams and lotions work only on the surface and can't get under the nail in concentrations strong enough to be effective. Most patients tolerate treatment with Lamisil Tablets very well. However, like all prescription drugs, Lamisil Tablets may cause side effects in some people. These side effects, as determined by three clinical studies, were mild and in general did not lead to discontinuation of treatment with Lamisil Tablets. In clinical studies, the most commonly reported side effects were headache, stomach upset, and rash. In rare instances, SERIOUS effects on the liver and skin reactions were reported." In other words, you risk the same systemic problems that were possible with the earlier internal medications. Why take the risk?

Update 3/1/2001: One successful user of this technique found out that you don't need a doctor's prescription to buy SSKI; you can make your own. He bought KI crystals in a vial and gradually added the crystals to water in a dropper bottle. When no more crystals would dissolve, the result was SSKI. Then he added DMSO in a ratio of 3 parts SSKI to 1 part DMSO.

Update 5/7/01: Another visitor writes "I recently found a very agressive fungus growing in one fingernail only, much to my dismay. I tried potassium iodide, tea tree oil, silver colloids, all of which helped, but did not kill the fungus. The FDA has approved for topical application Para Chloro Meta Xylenol, but keep it away from your eyes, they say. I bought, via the internet, 18 fl. oz. of 1% PCMX waterless hand cleaner, mixed it 50-50 with the DMSO gel from Clinic Health Services in Hemet CA, and gooped it onto the affected finger including the first knuckle joint. Seems to work fine. Got a minor immune reaction at site within 2 hours. As far as I can tell it kills the spores too."

Update 1/5/02: Another visitor writes "Leery of DMSO, I tried tea tree oil by itself, applied atop the nail. That didn't quite seem to work--didn't penetrate fully, or fully stop the fungus--until I came up with an idea. I used an ordinary nail file to take the whole nail's thickness down until it was very thin. In this way I was able to offload a lot of infected material, and with no pain, no discomfort at all. The tea tree oil saturated right through the thin, porous remainder, and I had a marker to mark my progress: the line between the thinned nail and the new nail coming in. When that grew out, with clean nail behind it, I knew I was done. This might also work with SSKI."

Update 2/21/02: Another visitor suggests putting a one inch layer of cornmeal in a flat pan that is large enough for your feet. Add enough room temperature water to cover the cornmeal. Let sit for an hour. Then add warm water for comfort, enough to cover the feet. Soak feet for at least one hour. The treatment should be repeated every 1-2 weeks until the fungus is gone. This solution almost seems too simple, but certainly worth a try.

Update 10/16/02: Another visitor writes "I have had nail fungus for some time in my toenails. I have been applying Vick's Vapo Rub to my toenails once a day for 3 months. The last three toenails have returned to normal and I have observed big changes to the big toe and the one next to it. I am starting to wear shoes that I haven't been able to wear in the last 3 years. My podiatrist has been pushing me to take Lamocil and I have resisted this since my mother died of liver disease. I just wanted to share this in case it helps someone else."

Update 9/7/06: One visitor says "Saturate a cotton ball in WD-40, a light penetrating oil, or rust penetrant; place it on top of the affected nail; roll a cut off balloon over the toe to keep the saturated cotton ball in place, and thus the WD-40 constantly in contact with the nail, which also serves to limiting its evaporation. Keep this process up for at least several days. The petroleum distillate can thus slowly be absorbed and penetrate the nail, and once it finally reaches the fungus, it will destroy it. A Marine Corp medic figured this out over forty years ago in Vietnam! The directions on the WD-40 container certainly warn against such behavior (skin contact), so proceed at your own risk!"

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