Toenail fungus is challenging to treat. Both conventional and natural therapies share low success rates and frequent recurrences. Topical treatments typically require a year or longer, and the likelihood of cure depends in part on the length of time the fungus has been present and its severity. While laboratory studies have demonstrated that a range of essential oils demonstrate antifungal activity against fungi cultures commonly affecting toenails, there have been few clinical trials. But, if you're interested in fighting fungus with essential oils, here are two of those clinical trials for your consideration:
Tea tree oil. In one trial, 117 participants with toenail fungus were treated with either topical 100% tea tree (Melaleuca alternafolia) essential oil or the topical antifungal medication, clotrimazole. After six months of daily treatment, the efficacy of the two approaches was similar, with approximately 60% of participants experiencing partial or complete clearing.
Spruce oil. In a pilot study, daily application of a nail lacquer consisting of 30% Norway spruce (Picea abies) essential oil-rich resin in a base of monopropylene glycol, glycerol, and alcohol for nine months led to positive outcomes in more than 60% of subjects with toenail fungus. In a comparison trial, the same spruce nail lacquer performed as well as another topical antifungal medication, amorolfine, with 30% of subjects improving after nine months of treatment.
Source: Journal of Family Practice