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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Nail Infection

The above photo of the balsam plant comes from a lovely blog here. I have a pot just like that now, started by seedlings given me by Abby, the Earth Mother of GCS.

I was nursing a nasty nail infection in The Husband's big toe. The term for it is panochyria. Quite serendipitiously, I came across a conversation in the GCS forum about The Fingernail plant. Weekend Farmer and Tin shared some uses for this plant. At around the same time, I visited Mr Donald's garden and was re-introduced to the plant. Shortly after, in visiting Abby's garden, all her balsam plants came and jumped up and down in front of me shouting "Look at me! Look at me! I am The Fingernail plant!"

Meanwhile, The Husband and I were at our wits' end trying our darndest to figure out how to get rid of the toenail infection. The doctor prescribed antibiotics which helped not a whit. Socks were microwaved, shoes were thrown away, salt soaks, vinegar soaks, milk soaks (milk is an antifungal agent)... To no avail. Finally, a needle was used to lance the infection to draw out the pus and introduce tea tree oil. We used so much tea tree oil that the skin began to burn and peel.

Still, the infection stayed stubbornly under the nail... We couldn't reach the infected area because a layer of nail covering protected the pathogens from any anti-fungal solution we had the brains to devise. Tea tree oil is Petunia's last resort for anything fungal or bacterial, you see. If tea tree oil doesn't work, Petunia's defenses against all the naughty infections that dare to attack the family have effectively been overwhelmed.

I was loath to use the leaves of my newly acquired Fingernail Plant seedlings because the seedlings were so small and had not yet stabilised in their new pot. The Husband loved me too much to defoliate my seedlings. But he was in so much pain, and it had been a month, that at the risk of killing the seedlings, I tore off leaves and crushed them into a poultice which I wrapped around his big toe.

The infection was gone within a day. After 3 days of poultic-ing, no more sign of re-infection at all.

Okay... please don't ask me how it works. I have no clue. I have no qualifications in herbalism... and certainly no PhD in botany. But someone called CloudJade shared "If it works, don't diss it". I ain't dissing this (whatever "diss" means). I am an old wife and this is an old wife's remedy.

But man! It works! And I might add that I am sure it was no mere coincidence to have come across a thread in the forum on The Fingernail plant outta absolutely nowhere... come across the same plant in Mr Donald's garden... AND come across Abby's loud and rambunctious Fingernail Plants... AND of course, when Abby stuffs armful of seedlings at you, it's hard to say "no" (NOT that I wanted to at all). It just seemed that God knew my need and He was saying, "Here is my provision for you".

Thank you God, for making The Fingernail Plant just for me and The Husband.


Blur Ting said...

Oh, that's so timely! By the way, I have a whole bunch of seedlings in my garden after I sowed the seeds about 2 weeks ago. I could give you some when they're older. They're but 1cm tall now.

YK has persistent in-grown toenail problem. It comes and goes but will never fully go away because of the way his big toe and 2nd toe are shaped. They clash and rub against each other. The poor boy wil be in trouble when he goes into the army.

petunialee said...

Ting - Are yours red or purple? I have purple ones. Need the red. Have?

Blur Ting said...

Oh, I scattered seeds from 2 separate plants. One is purple, the other is pink I think. I will know only when they start to flower.