Q. I have suffered for years with a fungal growth under my big toenail and would like to get rid of it. I read somewhere that sticking my big toe in half a lemon every night would do this. Apparently the citric acid overcomes the unsightly fungus. What do you think?
A. Several years ago we got a letter about this unusual nail fungus remedy. The reader said:
“You’ve never mentioned a remedy I learned from an elderly lady in South Carolina. At night cut a hole in the top of a lemon and scoop out a hollow just large enough for the toe.
“My mother had a great toenail so thick she could hardly wear a shoe on that foot. I used duct tape to hold the lemon on Mother’s foot and put a sandwich bag over it. After three nights, the toenail became so soft that it peeled off, and the new nail grew in normally.”
No one else has reported success with this remedy. Pure lemon might be irritating, and removing a toenail should be done under medical supervision due to a risk of infection.
We have collected a number of other remedies from readers who say they worked against nail fungus. We’re sending you our Guides to Home Remedies and Nail Care for more details on treatments like dilute vinegar soaks and prescription strength urea paste to remove the nail. Anyone who would like copies, please send $3 in check or money order with a long (no. 10) stamped (60 cents), self-addressed envelope: Graedons’ The People’s Pharmacy®, No. HR-311, P. O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027.