Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Okay, I'm definitely a fan of old-fashioned remedies that actually WORK, such as the old Vicks Vaporub on your neck/chest to help you breathe when your nose is stuffy from a cold or allergies. How wonderful that it doesn't make you sleepy or hyper while it works (unlike many of our decongestants and antihistamines.)
However, there is another use for this favorite product. Would you believe that putting vaporub on your yellow, thickened toenails will often cure the fungus causing this discoloration? Now, it does literally take months to see results, but even our expensive antifungal pills used for the same purpose take that long.
I read about this off-label use of vaporub over a decade ago, in the AAFP (American Academy of Family Physicians) journal. It was not a controlled study, and I know of no excellent evidence-based trials. I DO know that I have been recommending this benign treatment for more than ten years, and I estimate my patients' success rate around 80%!
The very best result I have seen was on my mother's toes, which had severe thinkening/discoloration, and they actually became almost normal in four months. I believe the trick was that she refrained from using any nail polish that whole time, and she was religious about putting on a smear of vaporub on her nails every night before bed.
BOTTOM LINE: Summer will be here in a few months, so consider an old home remedy for yellow toenails starting now!