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Natural therapies for nail abnormalities

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Nail abnormalities are conditions related to the shape, color, texture or thickness of toenails or fingernails. There are several kinds of nail disorders. A fungal infection is the most common, and generally affects the toenails.

Nail abnormalities can be treated with conventional allopathic medicine involving medicines, lotions, cream, and surgery if required. But there are alternative therapies including natural therapies that are quite effective, can cost less, be less invasive, and have minimum or no side effects. Before we discuss the natural therapies, let’s first understand nail abnormalities, and why they are caused.    

Signs and symptoms of nail abnormalities

If you notice the following physical symptoms with respect to the nails in your body, it’s time to consult a doctor.

Red swelling that’s painful

Spotting or discoloration

Scars, ridges, and pits


Brown black band

What causes nail abnormalities?

Nail disorders are usually caused by skin diseases, benign or malignant tumors or certain system-wide diseases. Chronic renal failure, for example, is known to lead to many types of nail pathologies.

There are conditions and situations under which nail abnormalities can occur. These are caused due to genetic predisposition, tight fitting shoes, excessive exposure to heat, water, and humidity, diabetes, chemical damage, skin diseases, over manicuring, tumors, habits involving picking at the skin surrounding a nail, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus that causes AIDS, and soil contamination.

Complementary and alternative therapies for nail abnormalities

A comprehensive treatment plan for nail disorders may include a range of complementary and alternative therapies. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, alternative therapies including herbs, homeopathy, and better nutrition, can help heal nail abnormalities.

Supplements and nutrition

Almost all nutritional deficiencies can affect growth and health of nails. These nutritional tips may help reduce symptoms:

Get rid of potential food allergens including wheat (gluten), dairy, corn, preservatives, and food additives. You should also test for food sensitivities.

Eat food that’s calcium-rich including almonds, beans, and dark green leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach.

Consume antioxidant-rich foods including fruits such as cherries, blueberries, and tomatoes), and vegetables such as bell peppers and squash.

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Avoid refined foods such as pasta, white breads, and sugar.

Red meats should be avoided and consume lean meats, tofu (soy), cold water fish or beans for protein.

Use healthy oils for cooking food such as vegetable or olive oil.

Eliminate or reduce trans fatty acids present in commercially baked goods such as crackers, cookies, cakes, onion rings, French fries, processed foods, and donuts.

Avoid coffee and other stimulants such as tobacco and alcohol.

Drink 6 - 8 glasses of clean water on a daily basis.

Exercise at least 30 minutes daily, 5 days a week.

You can also have the following supplements to take care of nutritional deficiencies: a multivitamin daily containing the antioxidant vitamins A, C, E, the B-complex vitamins, and trace minerals such as calcium, magnesium, selenium, and zinc; probiotic supplement containing Lactobacillus acidophilus; Omega-3 fatty acids such as fish oil; and grapefruit seed extract. 

Herbs for nail abnormalities

Herbs can strengthen and tone the body's systems. Before beginning herb therapy consult a doctor. You may use herbs as dried extracts (capsules, powders, teas), tinctures (alcohol extracts) or glycerites (glycerine extracts). One can have 2-4 cups of tea with 1 tsp. herb per cup of hot water.

Green tea is quite helpful in healing inflammation and antibacterial or antifungal effects. Cat's claw (Uncaria tomentosa), 20 mg 3 times a day, is useful for resolving for antifungal or antibacterial effects. People with leukemia and high blood pressure should not use cat's claw.

Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) standardized extract, 150 - 300 mg 2 - 3 times daily, is good for immunity. But Reishi can increase the effects of blood thinning and blood pressure medications

Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) seed standardized extract, 80 - 160 mg 2 - 3 times daily, is good for detoxification support.

Prior to having any of these herbs, consult a doctor as they can adversely affect you if taken without proper medical advice.

Homeopathy for nail abnormalities

A few studies have examined the effectiveness of particular homeopathic remedies. A professional homeopath, however, might recommend one or more of the following treatments for nail disorders depending on clinical experience.

Calendula for scaly, reddish rashes

Graphites for nails with oozing fluid caused by fungal infections and cracking skin; symptoms get better with open air

Sulphur for fungal disorders that itch, especially when warmth worsens symptoms

Acupuncture, massage and hydrotherapy for nail abnormalities

Acupuncture may improve immune function, strengthen digestion, and help deal with nail abnormalities. Massage can stimulate blood circulation for better absorption of nutrients. Alternating hot and cold foot baths, in hydrotherapy, can be used to bring blood and immune cells to infected nails. Fill one bucket with hot water and one with cold water. Place feet in hot water for three minutes, then immediately into cold water for one minute - repeat this three times, and then rub feet vigorously with a dry towel.

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Written by: healthplus24.com team

Date last updated: February 06, 2015