Journal of
Medicinal Plants Research

  • Abbreviation: J. Med. Plants Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0875
  • DOI: 10.5897/JMPR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 3834

Full Length Research Paper

Medicinal plants and onychomycosis: potential and evidence of antifungal activity - an integrative review of the literature

Bruna Lima Perissato
  • Bruna Lima Perissato
  • Faculty of Physical Education and Physiotherapy, Federal University of Uberlândia. Benjamin Constant Street, 1286, Campus Educação Física e Fisioterapia, Uberlândia, CEP 38400-678, Minas Gerais, Brazil.
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Reginaldo dos Santos Pedroso
  • Reginaldo dos Santos Pedroso
  • Technical School of Health, Federal University of Uberlândia. Professor José Inácio de Souza Avenue, s/nº - Bloco 4X, 3º floor, 321 Room, Campus Umuarama, Uberlândia, CEP 38400-902, Minas Gerais, Brazil.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 25 April 2022
  •  Accepted: 13 July 2022
  •  Published: 31 July 2022


Onychomycosis is a fungal infection of the nails, also known as nail mycosis and Tinea unguium, which affects 6.9 to 23.2% of the general population. It is most commonly found in people aged 60 years and older. Onychomycosis is caused by dermatophyte fungi, non-dermatophyte filamentous fungi and yeast. Treatment includes topical or oral antifungal drugs. The use of other auxiliary, alternative and/or complementary therapies, such as those prepared from medicinal plants, are poorly explored, studied, and disseminated. Related medicinal plants and their in vitro antifungal activity against fungal agents of onychomycosis as well as studies that reported the clinical efficacy of these plants are presented. Integrative literature review included a search for publications from January 2011 to January 2021, in databases and/or virtual libraries: Scielo, PubMed, CAPES and Google Scholar. The main descriptors used “onychomycosis” AND “medicinal plants”. Thus, a form for collecting the main information was used as a data collection instrument. Nineteen articles were selected, 15 of which included an in vitro evaluation of plant activity on dermatophyte fungi, 11 on yeasts and six on non-dermatophyte filamentous fungi (NDFF). Five simultaneously reported the evaluation of in vitro antifungal activity on the three groups of fungi, three on dermatophytes and yeasts and none on dermatophytes and NDFF or on yeast and NDFF. Most studies (16) were in vitro, while four described clinical studies. Most studies have shown that the medicinal plants described have antifungal activity in vitro against fungal agents of onychomycosis and can be promising alternatives for conventional treatment or complementary to usual antifungal therapy.

Key words: Onychomycosis – medicinal herbs - treatment - dermatophytes - Tinea unguium.