An infection of a toenail or a fingernail by fungus is known as onychomycosis. Yeasts can infect nails, and increasing numbers of different fungi are found to be responsible for such infections. Infection of nails by Candida yeasts are by far the most common, and treatment of nail infections is difficult in spite of many new drugs. Topical treatments are quite slow, and oral treatments have side effects.
Propolis is a good alternative treatment for nail infections. It is a resin from trees which is collected by bees, and it is a ‘natural antibiotic’ with no side effects. Flavonoids in propolis are believed to be the reason for propolis’ benefits.
The current study was done to evaluate the effectiveness of propolis against 67 yeasts isolated from onychomycosis in a clinic. Eight different Candida species were found; five Trichosporon species were found; one Geotrichum candidum was found; one Saccharomyces cerevisiae was found. Thirty-three of the yeasts were sensitive to the propolis extract at 1.25mg/100ml concentration of flavonoids, and all were sensitive at 5mg/100ml. Trichosporon sp. were most sensitive to the propolis extract, and Candida species were most resistant.
CONCLUSION: It is important to make a diagnosis of the causative agent of nail infections before treatment. Propolis extract shows ‘excellent performance’ against yeasts cultured from nail infections. The treatment works even against fungi in weak concentrations.
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