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Oil of Oregano for Toenail Fungus

Origanum vulgare

Oil of oregano is an essential oil made from the leaves of oregano. In ancient Greece it was used to prevent food from spoiling and to relieve itchy rashes. Today it has been scientifically studied and recognized as one of the most potent antimicrobial and antifungal substances that medicine has in its arsenal. Oil of oregano is very effective at killing viruses, bacteria, and fungi, including both skin and nail funguses and internal yeast infections. Studies show that oil of oregano stops candida better than some antifungal drugs. It is also used to fight antibiotic-resistant infections, because microbes do not seem to develop a resistance to oil of oregano, as they do with antibiotics.

In addition to killing microbes that may cause infection, oil of oregano also has anti-inflammatory properties. When applied topically, it can reduce the redness and irritation that may accompany toenail fungus, if the skin is not already so irritated that it develops a reaction to the oil of oregano.

Oil of oregano is very expensive – it can cost as much as $45 for an ounce. However, oil of oregano is so strong that one should never use more than a few drops at a time, so one small bottle can last for a long time.

Fungi have a high rate of recurrence, even when people manage to get rid of them. There is not much point in treating a toenail fungus with oil of oregano or any other antifungal agent unless you also take action to change the conditions that made it possible for fungi to settle in to begin with. This means, first, keeping the feet and toes clean and dry, and wearing socks that are clean and dry. Some people also find that they cannot totally eradicate toenail fungi until they make changes to their diet. Providing the body with a balanced, nourishing diet is helpful for most health conditions, and toenail fungi are no exception.

Using Oil of Oregano to Get Rid of Toenail Fungus


  • Dilute oil with another oil, such as olive oil. You should use olive oil as the carrier oil, and add just two or three drops of oil of oregano.
  • Apply using a cotton ball, three times per day.
  • Adults may want to try taking oil of oregano internally. To do so, you can place a drop or two under the tongue, or drink a few drops in juice or water. Or, you can buy oil of oregano in capsules and take two capsules twice a day. However, the internal use of oil of oregano has not been well studied, so proceed with caution.

Why It Works

Oil of oregano, like most essential oils, is high in terpenes, compounds that disrupt the cell membranes of bacterial and fungal cells. The terpenes in oil of oregano are thymol and carvacol. Some scientists say that terpenes “punch holes” in cells. As a result, terpenes can kill bacteria and fungi colonies fairly quickly.


Some sources say that oil of oregano can reduce the body’s ability to absorb iron, so you may want to take an iron supplement while you are using oil of oregano. However, if you are using oil of oregano in the short term and are not taking it internally, an iron supplement is probably not necessary. People who are allergic to basil, thyme, mint, sage, hyssop, or marjoram may also be sensitive to oregano. Use with caution and watch for signs of sensitivity, such as skin irritation, rashes, or vomiting (if you are taking it internally). Some sources feel that oil of oregano is much too strong to take internally, while other sources encourage patients to use it internally, taking only a few drops at a time. The internal use of oil of oregano has not been well studied, so proceed with caution. Do not take oil of oregano internally if you are pregnant, as volatile oils are thought to cross the placenta to reach the baby.

Because oil of oregano is so strong, it can irritate the skin. It should not be used, even topically, by children under two, or by people with damaged or very sensitive skin.

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This information is solely for informational and educational purposes only. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Neither the owners or employees of or the author(s) of site content take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading this site. Be aware that many of the techniques and remedies published on this site have not been evaluated in scientific studies. Often, only limited information is available about their safety and effectiveness. Use of these remedies in connection with other medications can cause severe adverse reactions. It is always best to speak with your primary health care provider before engaging in any form of self treatment. Additional information contained in our Legal Statement

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