Toenail fungus can be very tough to treat. Even with prescription medications, you have to have a lot of patience. Toenails grow slowly, as you may have noticed, and you need to keep treating the fungus until the nails have grown out completely healthy and clear. However, home remedies are definitely worth considering. Some readers would recommend castor oil to clear nail fungus.
Will Castor Oil Clear Nail Fungus?
Q. My grandmother, who was born in 1877, put castor oil on warts. They always went away.
I tried putting it on my toenail fungus. That went away too. I think castor oil works much better than pricier drugstore options.
A. Your grandmother’s remedy must have been popular because we have heard from other readers about putting castor oil on warts. There has been little medical attention devoted to this home remedy.
One case report in the Archives of Dermatology (Jan. 1982) noted that after application of castor oil the plantar warts blackened and eventually peeled off.
The authors wrote:
“Thirteen days after blackening in the warts was first noted, all of the warts had disappeared. According to the patient, the warts ‘just peeled off.’”
As for toenail fungus, we could find no scientific studies to support the use of castor oil. That said, many readers share your enthusiasm for this inexpensive simple treatment. Any toenail fungus treatment requires patience because it takes a long time for the nails to grow out fungus free.
Another Reader Reports Success Using Castor Oil to Clear Nail Fungus:
Q. I read about using castor oil to clear nail fungus in your newsletter. Since I’ve had toenail fungus for years despite trying lots of remedies, I started applying castor oil every day.
I’m delighted to report that both nails are now clear of fungus and growing out healthy. Please let other readers know, as this is the first remedy that has worked.
A. We are glad that castor oil worked for you. The reader who first shared this approach applied castor oil to his toenails after showering. It takes time to overcome toenail fungus because toenails grow slowly. Even prescription medicines require many months to produce results.
What Is the Science Behind Castor Oil to Clear Nail Fungus?
There is some science to support the antifungal activity of castor oil (Reddy et al, Food Chemistry, Oct. 15, 2012). Thyme oil also has antifungal activity (Assiri et al, Journal of Oleo Science, vol. 65, no. 8, 2016). Perhaps it would make sense to add some thyme oil to your castor oil, or use them on alternate days. Thyme is not the only spice with antibacterial and antifungal properties. Clove, oregano, cinnamon and cumin do too (Liu et al, International Journal of Molecular Sciences, June 16, 2017). That might explain why some visitors have reported that oregano oil has been helpful for clearing up nail fungus.