Ask The Experts

Does oil of oregano help toe nail fungus and what natural ointment can I buy to help my toe?

Thank you for contacting us. IPFH does not recommend treatments for foot conditions on line. It would be best to pose this question to your primary care physician, a foot health professional or possibly a dermatologist. Oregano has been shown to have antimicrobial properties, although we are not aware of any research that proves its efficacy in treating toenail fungus. There is some evidence that essential oils are effective in combating the candida fungus, which is a common culprit in human yeast infections; however, it is not highly common in toenail fungal infections (Trichophyton rubrum and Trichophyton mentagrophytes are the predominant types of micro-organisms in fungal toenails). Oregano oil does contain thymol, a substance that is used in many toenail fungus treatments.

IPFH suggests always being conservative in any treatment of foot conditions, and we would advise that even the use of seemingly harmless substances such as essential oils should be done with the advice of a health care professional. For example, oregano oil can cause skin irritation, particularly if your skin is sensitive or you apply it undiluted. You can learn more about home remedies to treat various foot conditions from our article "Home Remedies for Foot Conditions: What the Evidence Shows." This article notes that a small study suggested that Vick's VapoRub might be effective in treating toenail fungus, depending on the causative organism (although more studies are needed to confirm benefits). But again, we would err on the side of caution and recommend that you consult your physician or a foot health professional before self-medicating. There are several new and highly effective medications currently in use for treating fungal toe nails, and laser treatment has been shown to be effective. Taking all of these possible treatments into account, a medical professional can help you determine the best approach for your situation. We hope this information is helpful, and that you will soon be successful in treating your affected toe nail(s).

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