As I explained in my article, entitled Mushrooms and Medicine, mushrooms or Fungi are the largest group of living things on the planet. Fungi inhabit everything including our bodies.
One part of our body that attracts fungi are our Toenails, because toenails are dead tissue and they are generally enclosed in socks and shoes and are, hence, dark and moist, the ideal breeding ground for fungi.
ONYCHOMYCOSIS (NAIL FUNGUS)
As we can see from the photo above, the nails which are invaded by fungi become discolored and quite ugly.
WHAT IS A TOE NAIL?
Most animals have nails. Nails are an appendage to an appendage. Evolution made the discovery that a hard piece of tissue attached firmly to a hand or foot, or its equivalent in birds, reptiles and other creatures, is extremely useful for the survival of the species. The Nail can be useful for fighting, killing, digging and opening plant shells which contain food. The uses of nails are countless and most species could not survive without them!
Amongst humans nails are useful for all the activities described above, but, strangely enough, they are also a source of beauty amongst men”and especially, women.
Women love their nails. They clean them, shine them, and in the recent past, go to extreme lengths to decorate them paying large sums of money to specialists who create art work out of their nails. In the United States today, there are “Nail Salons” on every corner.
These are generally owned by Asians who employ young Asian women to decorate the nails. Some of these young Asian ladies have a natural talent for Finger Nail Art. What they have created exceeds the ordinary imagination.
This incredible Display of fingernail ART is commonplace today. One must remember that less than one century ago Western women were forbidden to even paint their nails. This represents an unpredictable shift in societal values. The sexual freedom of women has jumped from zero to infinity!
For this very reason the infection of fingernails or toenails has suddenly taken on extreme importance in the field of medicine. When a middle aged woman enters my Clinic today and says: “Look at my nails!” I shudder in anticipation of what I have to tell her: THERE IS NO REAL CURE FOR ONYCHOMYCOSIS!
WHAT PRECISELY IS ONYCHOMYCOSIS?
We can see from the pictures above that the entire nail is involved. Not only the nail, but the nail bed, the source of the cells and nutrition of the nail is also infected. In order to cure this condition, which is quite complex, involving living and dead cells, we must give the patient anti-fungal medication by mouth so that it enters the blood stream, reaches the nail bed and eventually destroys the colony of fungi.
THIS TAKES FROM SIX MONTHS TO A YEAR! WORSE YET, IT IS DANGEROUS, IT CAN BE LETHAL!!
The medicine is so dangerous that many physicians will not prescribe it since the condition is only a cosmetic problem and does not impair the general health of the patient.
We must understand that a nail only grows approximately three millimeters per month. In order for the medicine to be fully incorporated in the nail cells we must wait a minimum of six months, and in many cases one year or more.
The medicine, which kills fungal cells, can also kill human organ cells, such as the cells of the liver. In order to be aware of any detrimental effect on the liver, liver function tests must be taken on a monthly basis to avoid any damage to the liver. If damage is noted, the medicine must be stopped immediately.
All these conditions must be told to the patient so that she may make a reasonable decision as to whether she is willing to take the risk of the medication in order to potentially cure the nail or nails. And, the physician can give no assurance that the medicine will work. Frequently, it does not!
The cost of the medicine is very high. Many insurance plans will not pay for it, because there is no life threatening infection involved.
ARE THERE OTHER CURES?
In the last decade, the pharmaceutical industry, well aware of the pitfalls of oral medication, came out with a lacquer which can be painted on the nails, which has a moderate rate of success.
Ciclopirox Nail Lacquer
Ciclopirox (Penlac, Dermik) 8% solution is the only topical antifungal approved for onychomycosis in Canada. This compound is fungicidal in vitro against proliferating and dormant fungal cells, and has a broad spectrum of activity. Ciclopirox nail lacquer was recently approved in Canada (April 2004) as part of a comprehensive nail management program, in which the lacquer is applied once daily for 48 weeks and nail debridement is performed under the supervision of a medical professional.
Ciclopirox 8% Nail Lacquer is available around the world. It is costly, but not a certain cure. It requires frequent debridement (shaving) of the nail or nails involved.
(Would you like to be a doctor, treating an angry middle aged lady, with onychomycosis, and have only these treatments available?)
THE MAGNITUDE OF THE PROBLEM
Onychomycosis generally affects middle aged people. It is also more common in people with diabetes or immune system disorders.
Epidemiological studies (POPULATION STUDIES) indicate that approximately ten percent of the population of industrialized countries suffer from onychomycosis. This number is staggering, if we consider that there are approximately four billion potential victims. Ten percent of four billion is 400 million people, or almost one half a billion people on the planet Earth, harboring this fungal infection!
Half of all nail disorders are caused by onychomycosis, and it is the most common nail disease in adults. Toenails are much more likely to be infected than fingernails. The incidence of onychomycosis has been increasing and is related to diabetes, a suppressed immune system, and increasing age. Adults are 30 times more likely to have onychomycosis than children. In fact, only 2.6% of children younger than 18 years are reported to have onychomycosis, but as many as 90% of elderly people have onychomycosis.
ARE THERE “NATURAL” CURES?
It is my firm conviction that God, in the form of Nature, provides all living things with the cause and also the cure of all diseases. Disease is a manifestation of the evolution of living things.
Living beings are constantly trying to survive by destroying or, in the case of Fungi, living on the dead cells of other living beings. In Onychomycosis, fungal cells have invaded the dead cells of the nail and then invaded the living cells of the nail bed and surrounding tissue.
This process has been going on for millions of years. In that period of time, other living cells have evolved which can produce something which will kill the fungal cells. There are many plants and plant products which can do this. These plants and plant products are not dangerous to living human cells.
In my research, I believe I have discovered several of these plant products which will kill the fungal cells involved in Onychomycosis and thereby rid the nails of the infection. In a later article, soon to be published, I will describe what I have discovered.