Can a common household product cure nail fungus?

Tailfeather from the forum want to let us know:

If you have a nail fungus, Vick’s Vapor Rub can be used as a simple home remedy instead of Lamasil. She points out that it’s cheaper and doesn’t have dangerous side effects.

The Right Brain comments:

You can read Tailfeather’s entire discussion in the Forum, but she raised some interesting points that are worthy of mention here in the blog.

What is a nail fungus?

First of all, let’s explain that a nail fungus is type of microbial infection that can cause your nail to become discolored. As Tail puts it, she noticed some “weird yellow stuff” on her big toenail.

As the fungus spreads the infected nail can become thickened, distorted in shape, and develop crumbling edges. Fungi can infect your feet whey they’re exposed to dark, damp conditions and they can be very difficult to control.

Is Lamasil dangerous?

There are several fungus fighting drugs available, both prescription and over the counter. One of the most popular is Lamasil and it’s true that it has some not so pleasant side effects. The two that Tailfeather mentioned are temporary lost of taste and the slight (but serious) danger of liver damage. If this risk concerns you, then Lamasil is probably not for you.

Does Vicks really fight fungus?

Vick’s Vapor Rub is a popular ointment that contains a variety of aromatic oils. It’s designed to help soothe your upper respiratory tract during a cold. Tailfeather claims it cured her toe nail fungus. Is that possible? Looking at the ingredients we see that one of the oils used in the product is thymol. We found a Pubmed reference to a paper on thymol published in the Journal of Phytotherapy Research. According to this paper and we quote: “The oil exhibited a strong inhibitory effect against all fungi investigated.” Based on this research it certainly seems plausible that Vick’s could work as an antifungal.

Unfortunately, P&G, the company that makes Vicks can’t legally claim this effect without presenting test data to the FDA. So you’re not likely to see anything official from Vick’s. Lamasil is proven to work, Vick’s is not, but if you’re interested give it a try.