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Fingernails, which are made mainly of a protein known as keratin, are one of the bodies strongest tissues. They not only protect the finger tips and toes but can often tell a story about the overall health of your body. Nail problems may signal a more serious disorder such as asthma, emphysema or heart disease, improper nutrition and stress. Vitamins and herbs can be used to aid with healing of nail problems since it is known that good nutrition is the key to healthy nails. Studies have shown that gelatin which has long been hailed to strengthen nails does not contain the proper mixture of amino acids for nail growth.
Herbs like horsetail, nettle and oatstraw which are rich in silica are known to improve the health of your nails. Amino acid complex, vitamin C, vitamin E and biotin taken together will help the body build keratin. Ridges in the fingernail is a sign of insufficient B vitamins. Calcium and bone building formulas will benefit the nails by supplying much needed minerals. A calcium deficiency will usually show up as ragged cuticles, brittleness or dryness. The essential fatty acids in evening primrose oil and flaxseed oil will keep nails from cracking from lack of nourishment. A paste made with alum and water is effective in relieving ingrown nails. What is commonly called ring-a-round causes the finger to swell and become painful. This usually indicates toxity in the body and can be treated with a poultice of comfrey. Binding a piece of fresh lemon to the infected area will work as well.
Tea tree oil, garlic oil and calendula ointment are the best treatments for nail fungus. Tea tree oil is a popular antifungal medication that has proved successful in treating athletes foot and other infections. To protect the nails from bacteria it is wise not to trim the cuticles. Wearing gloves when you are cleaning and keeping the nails cut short are good preventative measures. Always check with your doctor prior to taking any herbal preparations.