You may have read or heard about a tea tree oil nail fungus treatment and wondered if this is some kind of gimmick designed to part the unwary and the desperate from their hard earned money. These schemes abound today as much as in the past: tea tree oil however, deserves a hard second look.
First, tea tree oil, marketed as a natural remedy for toe nail fungus and other fungal infections, does not come from tea, but from an Australian tree called the tea tree, Melaleuca alternafolia. It contains a number of naturally occurring substances, but the one that is thought to be the most important is terpinen-4-ol. To extract it and produce a tea tree oil nail fungus remedy, leaves and stem of the tree are subjected to a steam extraction process. The resulting oil is either sold as a pure oil, or blended with other plant extracts.
The important point to understand is that good scientific research has been conducted on the medicinal properties of tea tree oil and is ongoing. Results indicate that this natural remedy for toe nail fungus really does seem to work: terpinen-4-ol has proven antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. Additionally, tea tree oil nail fungus treatment appears to be able to penetrate the thick layers of an infected nail to reach and act on the fungus: lack of nail penetration has been a serious impediment to the development of topical treatments for fungal nail infections.
It seems that tea tree oil nail fungus remedy has everything to recommend it: it's available without a prescription and is relatively inexpensive compared to prescription medications for nail fungus; it's a topical treatment, so potential side effects of a systemic drug are not an issue; it's a genuinely natural remedy for toe nail fungus, and it appears to work. One note of caution is in order: tea tree oil has not been proven safe for ingestion, so only use it topically, and if you have sensitive skin, choose a product that is not pure tea tree oil (terpinen-4-ol, or some other component of the oil, can be irritating to skin).
Always consult a medical professional for a proper diagnosis before embarking on a self-care program for any health problem.
R. Drysdale is a freelance writer with more than 25 years experience as a health care professional. She is a contributing editor to Tea Tree Oil Nail Fungus , a blog dedicated to the treatment of fingernail and toenail fungus.