Happy familyBanner EverythingEssential Everything about Essential Oils   learn, ask, share
ATTENTION: You will see a number of changes as we make this website compliant with some regulatory requirements. Our apologies for inconvenience.
Health Issue                 return to A to Z

toenail and fingernail fungus

Parts of this were taken with permission from Essential Oils Overview and Reference Guide, published by: The Family Tree, 2008


Toenail FungusA fungal infection of the nails more commonly happens with toenails but also is seen in fingernails.  A typical infection will start at the tip of the nail as a yellowish-white spot and if left unattended will spread to the rest of the nail.  The result is usually a thick nail with split and crumbly end and edges.  Fungus infections are contagious so you may get the infection from walking barefoot where others may have the problem, from someone or even yourself if you have athlete’s foot, ring worm or other fungal infections.  Fungus prefers moist warm place so if your feet are in boots or enclosed shoes. are moist, and you are in a warm climate it is the ideal place for the fungus to thrive.  The infection is also more prone to grow in someone who has a compromised immune system from other ailments or age.

A fungus that invades the nail bed and the underside of the nail causes the most common form of nail fungal infection.  Another less common form invades the upper layers of the nail and the least common attacks the proximal nail fold or the base of the nail where the new nail growth begins.  This latter form is unusual in healthy folks but may occur when someone is weakened by other health problems.  There is a condition called keratin granulations that looks similar to a fungal infection but is, in fact, a reaction to frequent use of nail polish and nail polish remover.


[search helps: Onychomycosis, dermatophytic onychomycosis, ringworm of the nail, tinea unguium, Distal subungual onychomycosis, White superficial onychomycosis (WSO), Proximal subungual onychomycosis, Candidal onychomycosis]

Oils, blends & products recommended:

Oils & Blends: Topical BlendC, Lemon, Lemongrass, Melaleuca, OreganoC

Essential oils based products: GI Cleansing Formula, Probiotic Defense Formula

Also consider: Clove, Frankincense, Geranium, Lemon, Rosemary

Note: to understand the E and C superscript go to Home and scroll to New Helps.

Suggested protocols:

Different folks have had to use stronger protocols than others, here is a range of suggestions. In any case the length of time is weeks, not days, so be patient and consistent.  It is not abnormal for the nail to turn yellow or black as it heals, do not be concerned. Replace emery boards and sterilize other manicure/pedicure tools.

Mild - Apply 2 - 3 drops of the oil topically to the affected nail 2 - 4 times daily.  Continue 2 weeks after it is healed to prevent the infection from returning.  Suggested oils are:

  Topical Blend

  or Lemongrass

  or Melaleuca and Oregano*

  or combinations of the above oils and rotating them has been helpful for some

   *Note: Oregano is termed a "hot" oil and can irritate the skin, especially if someone has sensitive skin. Consider diluting with a carrier oils or only applying to the nails and avoiding skin contact.

Moderate - For some the fungus infection is not just on the nails but is an internal candida infection and is best helped with the above protocol using the topical application combined with an internal cleanse of the candida.

Use the GI Cleansing Formula/Probiotic Defense Formula protocol monthly (or more often to start with): 

·   1-3 GI Cleansing Formula capsules daily with meals for 10 days

·   Follow with probiotic Probiotic Defense Formula

This Candida Cleanse from Dr. Hill uses individual oils and was suggested before the GI Cleansing Formula became available:

·   5 drops of Lemon

·   5 drops of Melaleuca

·   3 drops on Oregano (see note above)

Put the oils into a gel cap and take internally twice a day for 10-14 days, rest two weeks and repeat the procedure.

Strong - Some have found that if they have a persistent candidiasis problem they need to couple the above protocols with a serious diet eliminating yeast and acidic foods.

Experiences and Testimonials of others

Testimonial - I have had a fungus problem on my toe for years.   I've tried prescription medicine for over 4 years to try to control it. But now, after only just over a month using essential oils, the problem seems to be gone.  I used Melaleuca and Oregano directly on the nail daily for two weeks.  I then switched to Frankincense and Lemon for a week then back to the Melaleuca and Oregano.  After about 6 weeks, the fungus seems to be completely gone.

Bette - A friend is using Topical Blend and Oregano for her toe fungus but the nails are going yellow and she is concerned.  Will the nails have to come off for the new nails to be free of fungus?  Any thoughts?

Rosemary – I remember hearing that the nail will turn different colors when you use Topical Blend and do not be concerned.

Pat – Even before Topical Blend I knew someone using Oregano with a bad toe fungus and his toe nail turned yellow, but he continued and was able to totally get rid of his nail fungus without losing the nail.  Dr. Hill mentioned the nail will turn colors while healing.

Janet - My husband and I are using Melaleuca for his toenail fungus and his toenail is growing out clear.  In a few more weeks and it should be all the way out.  The oils heal from the inside out so while you think it's working really slow it is actually healing so completely from the inside out so there is no fungus left under a scab or down deep.  I understand better after watching different sores heal that they heal differently than just a Band-Aid and Neosporin.  There is so much less scarring while it is healing from the inside out on anything!  LOVE THE OILS!!


 Cookie - My husband has fungus on one big toe. I have been putting Melaleuca on it. Any other suggestions?

Megan – Topical Blend.

Tausha - Try Melaleuca internally. Those funguses are usually deep in the tissue, and the Melaleuca may be more effective in a capsule.

Pat - Lemongrass will work wonders. Don't worry when it starts to turn disgusting colors it just means its working.

Suzy - Lemongrass.  He might also need to do a cleanse since those things are typically from within the body.  Capsules of Oregano would also be good.

Jeanette - Someone on the forum also suggested using Topical Blend and occasionally Melaleuca.  I have been using that combination and it is working beautifully!  


Lia – Someone suggested Lemongrass for toenail fungus, but it turns the toenails Orange and then black and then when the fungus is gone the toenails will grow in normally. Can you tell me if the Topical Blend and the Melaleuca do the same?  The friend I suggested the Lemongrass to didn't want her nails to turn color.  

Jeanette - I use the Topical Blend and Melaleuca and I haven't found any discoloration but my husband has.  However, we've put up with this toe fungus for years having previously been prescribed medications.  A bit of discoloration for a short time is a small price to pay!


Mama - My aunt's friend has been using the Melaleuca topically for over 2 months now for a finger nail fungus.  The fungus doesn't seem to be going away.  Should be be trying something internally?  What different oils could we try topically?  How long should this take to get rid of.  How do we take it internally if that is the best?

Pat - She should be doing a detoxification using the GI Cleansing Formula and also use Lemongrass on the fungus, and be prepared for magic!!

Denise - I've found that adding Oregano to the Melaleuca really makes a difference.

Mama - So use the Oregano topically with the Melaleuca?  I heard we should not use the Oregano over 21 days, so should it take that long to cure?

Denise - In my experience, using Oregano topically for the 4-6 weeks until the fungus was cleared up wasn't a problem. I used Oregano/Melaleuca/FCO in a glass bottle with a sprayer on it so it was easy to apply. Doing this we saw a difference in her nails (toes in this case) in under 2 weeks. But she need to continue to use it until the fungus was completely gone. The reason nail fungus is so difficult to get rid of is because most medicines work by affecting the blood, but fungus is in the nail where there is no blood supply. So, it's perfect for the topical use of the oils.

If you still have a concern, you can have them use the Oregano/Melaleuca for 3-4 weeks, then switch to the Lemongrass for two weeks, then go back to the Oregano/Melaleuca.

Lisa - Ok I am  confused because my husband had nail fungus from wearing his combat boots while  in the Navy and he was specifically told that you cannot topically apply  anything to get rid of it and that only an internally taken medicine would get  rid of this! Oh and by the way it takes months for the  cleared up nail to cover the toenail but you should be able to tell if this is  working by the new growth.

Tamalu - Within Western medicine, there is no topical medicine effective on foot fungus. Just as there is no truly effective medication for chronic pain. But because of the unique nature of essential oils, and their ability to penetrate and do their work within tissue of all kinds, we find that the answers have truly been with us all the time.

PS. I've seen great results for nail fungus with Oregano dripped onto the nail several times daily. Depending on the length of time/thickness of nails/etc, I have seen results (completely normalized nails) in as little as 2 weeks. No growing out necessary in most cases. Kind of like watching villagers flee before a hot lava flow

Lisa –I love the ps part! I will have to try this; I am tired of the holes his toenails put in my good sheets.

Jan - Many years ago, I developed a nail fungus under the nails on both big toes from trekking in wet boots for several days in Nepal. My doctor refused to give me a prescription for the internal anti-fungal medication because of its high toxicity. No argument from me once I was aware it was so dangerous. So I just ignored the condition for many years until I learned about and started using essential oils. Thank goodness for the oils. By that time, both nails were 3/4 unattached from the nail bed!

Morning and night, I dropped one drop of oil at the free edge of the nail. I could feel/see some improvement in about 2 weeks. I used a variety of oils -  Oregano, Melaleuca, Lemongrass, Clove, an Protective Blend'ish blend - each for a week or two and just kept alternating from one to another. Within about a month, it was obvious that the new nail growth was attaching until finally they were entirely normal.

At that point there was no sign of the fungus except when I stopped applying the oils for a few days and a slight itch would develop. However, applying an oil 3 or 4 times a week for a while it was finally gone completely.

Moral of this story? Use various oils and stay persistent. Good idea to put cotton balls laced with oils in shoes and boots to disinfect them too.

Submissions directly to  EverythingEssential.me.  Our thanks to:


Sharon - One major failure I wanted to pass on was an attempt to treat my sister's toe nail fungus.  After consulting various sources, we agreed on the following protocol:

Oral, Monthly x 2:
  · 1 GI Cleansing Formula capsule daily with meals for 10 days (30 caps total in the 10 days)
  ·  Follow with probiotic Probiotic Defense Formula 1 capsule three times a day for 5 days.
  ·  Wait 15 days, repeat. Do this 2 times. (repeat 15 day protocol for 2 months)

Topical, Daily:
   ·  Apply 1 drop of the Oregano/Melaleuca (equal amounts) oil blend on each affected
      nail.  Massage into base, sides, and under nail edge.
   ·  Apply the oils morning and evening for 4 weeks.
   ·  Switch to Lemongrass oil for two weeks, then go back to the Oregano/Melaleuca.
    ·  Continue 2 weeks after the nail is healed to prevent the infection from returning.

The first six weeks went fine (4 weeks of the Oregano/Melaleuca blend and 2 weeks of the Lemongrass).  Not too long after resuming the Oregano/Melaleuca, my sister developed severe contact dermatitis - started out at the base of one toenail and blossomed quickly to involve both feet to the base of all her toes.  Her feet swelled, she could not wear shoes, had to seek dermatologist help, and lost a week of work. My sister does say she did not worry if during the application process the oils got on her skin - she just sort of wiped it off.  She now wonders if she had been very careful to just touch the nail with the oils - using a Q-tip applicator - if the skin reaction would have occurred.  Just thought I would pass this experience along as a warning as to what could happen to some people...I imagine it was the Oregano that primarily caused the reaction as it seems the "strongest" oil.

Anne - I've read lots on using oils with nail fungus....does anyone have any testimonials on what actually works? What would be the best oil to use if the fungus is systemic and what topical oil have people had success with?

Pat - Treat a bad tow fungus internally and topically. The GI Cleansing Formula internally 3 times a day for a month. Apply Oregano and/or Lemongrass topically on the fungus 2-3 times a day. Be aggressive and consistent.

Frank - Hi I’m a homeopath in Guatemala city, and have a little experience in two essential oils. The first Melaleuca, put one drop in the night on the nail, and the next day use one drop of Lavender. The explanation that I can give is: the Melaleuca is a powerful disinfectant and will kill nail fungus, Lavender is a tissue regenerator and this will enhance the regeneration of the nail. I have used it on many patients.

Anne (1 month later) - I followed this protocol for 30 days consistently with no change whatsoever. Do you have any more thoughts or suggestions?  Thank you.

 Connie - I've been prone to get serious yeast/fungal infections since I was small--I've had far too many to count. When I was younger doctors always treated them with antibiotics and steroid or cortisone creams. Eventually things deteriorated to the point that medicine didn't work at all for me. That's how I got interested in herbs and essential oils, etc. GI Cleansing Formula, Probiotic Defense Formula and essential oils help a lot (Melaleuca, Lemon, Oregano, Thyme), but still, the thing that helps me the most is eating a strict yeast-free diet. When I eat acidic foods I get yeast infections, bladder infections, and funguses, no matter how many oils I take or use.

Kathy - I have an adult disabled son who has had a really bad case of nail and toe fungus for a long time. I decided to get serious and began using Oregano (a couple of drops mixed with a couple of drops of FCO) in the morning and Melaleuca at night massaging it into his toes and nails. Within a week the fungus on his toes had gone. I am continuing as his nails are in really bad shape. They are looking so much better and I am hoping that they will grow out more healthy. I also add in Lavender now and then as I read it can help with the healing...I have been doing this for about a month. Hope this helps.


John - Anyone had experience with toe fungus?

Pat - My friend used Oregano, be patient if its been around a long time. Also maybe some Oregano in a capsule internally. Kristen told me that she used Lemongrass and it worked extremely well.  

Au - Use Oregano.  You probably want to dilute it.  You could also do foot baths with hot water, Epsom salts and Melaleuca. Rotate direct application between Oregano, Melaleuca, Lemon and Myrrh daily.  I bet you'll see a difference within a couple weeks.

Rob - I would expect Melaleuca and Oregano essential oils through topical application to be most effective. These oils penetrate well, which you need to get to the fungus. A daily foot bath like someone mentioned would also be good. I would use these oils for a couple weeks even after it visually looks better.

Editor’s note: Natalie and Pat’s comments following were before the introduction of GI Cleansing Formula and Probiotic Defense Formula which they would point as better alternatives than Dr. Hill’s blend followed with acidophilus.

Natalie - I would look to candida- basically this fungus is so throughout the body that it is making an exit here. Dr. Hill talks about fingernail and toe fungus being one of the key indicators of systemic yeast. So, he recommends a formula of 1 Oregano, 2 Melaleuca, 3-5 Lemon. I've seen people that eat pretty well test for it for twice a day for the first week, then once a day for the next 2 weeks. Others that do a lot of sugar or processed foods I've noticed test for it twice a day for all 21 days. I would also supplement with a primadophilus or acidophilus, preferably lactose free, in order to increase the healthy flora if this has gone on for years.

Pat - At a meeting that I attended with Dr. Hill he adjusted the candida recipe just a bit. It is 5 drops Lemon, 5 drops Melaleuca and 3 drops Oregano. I do something a little more aggresive: I 15 ml bottle of Lemon, 1 15 ml bottle of Melaleuca and 2/3 rd bottle of Oregano. I put these in a 2oz bottle with a dripper lid and use the dripper lid to put the oils in a size 00 capsule. Its a lot easier this way and after emptying the bottle see where you are with your problem.

Also you can put Oregano directly on the nail fungus or Lemongrass.

Protocols folks recommend for children



Diet and Nutritional complements to essential oils


What Science & Research are saying



Essentials of the Earth
Best Books, charts and
labels, go to:


How to buy essential oils.
Please visit EverythingEssentialOils.me
Click Here

Need help with "generic" blend names? Our companion website everythingessentialoils.me may help. click here

Essential Oils from the heart of plants are “Nature’s Medicine Cabinet”. The quality and purity of Essential Oils are vital to a positive experience.

Essentials of the Earth

NOTE: The advice shared in this site has not been evaluated by the FDA. The products and methods recommended are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease, nor is it intended to replace proper medical help. As members offer or look for answers, kindly understand that essential oils work to help to bring the body into balance - thus helping the body's natural defenses to restore homeostasis. Essential oils are not used to "treat" medical problems.