Finger Nails
Answered by: Susan Eagles
Question from: Sharri
Posted on: July 22, 1998

My daughter is 7 and has twenty digit syndrome. That is where the nails are scratchy looking and are very thin. We put dovonex ointment on them. The doctors say they will not get better but we can maintain them with this ointment. I don’t know about herbs. Is there anything that you could recommend?

I don’t know the syndrome, but the medication is normally used for control of psoriasis. Check on the constituents of the particular ointment you are using and read up on the possibility of side effects with long term use. In particular, some Dovonex ointments contain steroids, which with long term use have many undesirable side effects including susceptibility to infection and weight gain.

In general, building up the nails includes a diet rich in vitamins, zinc, protein and silica. Since nails are mostly made of protein, a high protein diet is beneficial. Eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables will provide the vitamins. Herbs that are useful are:

* Horsetail: high in silica. This is best taken in the form of a juice, available at health food stores. Due to its high mineral content, it should be taken for no more than a month at a time, with a break of 2 weeks before starting again.

* Alfalfa: high in nutrients that encourage tissue growth

* Oats: high in proteins and vitamin E. This is best taken daily in the form of porridge or cereals.

* Evening Primrose Oil: high in essential fatty acids required for tissue growth and health

* Pumpkin seeds: A small handful a day will provide essential zinc, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals for tissue growth.

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