This is wonderful information shared by Debra Rayburn.  Please note that it is copyrighted.  However, feel free to share it in its entirety.  If you go for professional manicures or pedicures, always take along your Young Living essential oils to put in the water – LEMONGRASS or PURIFICATION would be perfect choices . . . or LEMON, CITRUS FRESH, LAVENDER and many others mentioned below.

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Nail Health with Conditioning Recipes
Debra Raybern, N.D, M.H., C.N.C., I.C.A.
Updated/Copyright 2008

Remember when the doctor used to look into your eyes and at your hands when you went in for a check-up? Why? It is because our fingernails are a window into our body’s health. Changes in the look, shape, or color of our fingernails can indicate a nutritional deficiency  somewhere in our body long before other symptoms manifest. Though your doctor may not look intensely at your nails anymore, you can use the following guide to evaluate your overall health. Don’t ignore your nails; they can serve as an early warning signal for your health. If you are use to polishing your nails, give them a break, let them breathe and take a look at what they are telling you.

Healthy nails are pink on the nail bed indicating a rich blood supply. Nails are made of keratin, a type of protein and sulfur. It takes approximately seven months to fully grow a fingernail, at a rate of about .05 to 1.2 millimeters a week.

The following are some of the nutritional deficiencies that can show up in the nails and a few YL product suggestions. Please consult your essential oils reference book and the testimonial site for more ideas on balancing your health.

White fingernails with pink coloring near the tips can be a sign of cirrhosis of the liver. If the entire nail is white it could mean kidney or liver disorders or anemia. JuvaTone, K&B

White lines across the nail may also indicate a protein deficiency or liver disease, while white lines in a horizontal fashion may indicate heart disease, high fever or arsenic poisoning. A half white nail with dark spots on the tip could indicate a kidney disorder. JuvaTone, K&B, Pure Protein Complete

If the moon part of the nail area turns red, heart problems are suspected. If the moon area turns blue, then possible heavy metal poisoning or lung problems may exist. CardioCare, JuvaCleanse

Cuts and cracks in nails may indicate the need for more water intake. Water with NingXia Red added

Two white lines that do not seem to move as the nail grows indicate hypoalbuminemia which is a protein deficiency in the blood. Pure Protein, Essentialzyme

Abnormally thick nails might be due to the blood not circulating properly in the vascular system. CardiaCare, NingXia Red, Aroma Life

Yellow nails can mean there are problems with your liver, diabetes, respiratory disorders or problems with the lymphatic system. Core Supplements, JuvaTone, NingXia Red

Dark nails that are flat and/or thin, or are spoon shaped, can be a sign of vitamin B(12) deficiency or anemia. Core Supplements, Super B

Brittle nails are often a sign of iron deficiency and thyroid problems. You could also have impaired kidneys or problems with circulation. Thyromin, Endogize, Rehemogen

Nails that are very bendable could be a sign of rheumatoid arthritis. ImmuPower, NingXia Red

Pitted brown spots or split fingernail tips may mean you have psoriasis or that vitamin C, folic acid or protein is needed. Pure Protein, NingXia Red, Core Supplements, Super B, Super C

Very deep blue nail beds can indicate pulmonary obstruction or emphysema. RC, CardioCare, NingXia Red

Nails that crack, peel and chip easily mean a general nutritional deficiency and insufficient hydrochloric acid production, which facilitates the digestion and absorption of protein. More protein and minerals may be needed in your diet. Mineral Essence, NingXia Red, Core Supplements, Essentialzyme


Thyroid problems can be seen in nails that are brittle, soft, shiny, without a moon, separate from the nail bed, have ridges or like a bumpy road. Thyromin, Endogize

Nails with coloring like hammered brass indicate a tendency toward partial or total hair loss. NingXia Red, Endogize, Thyromin, Cedarwood and Lavender on scalp, YL shampoos & conditioners

Flat nails can indicate Raynaud’s disease. This disease affects the circulatory system, which in turn affects the limbs. It leaves hands and feet continually cold. Aroma Life, NingXia Red, CardioCare, Omega Blue

Unusually wide nails that are square can mean a hormonal disorder. Endogize, Femigen, ProGessence

Red skin at the very bottom of your nail bed could indicate a connective tissue disorder. BLM, Sulfurzyme, NingXia Red

Greenish tints to nails can signify a fungal infection of the nail or a bacterial infection in the body. See fungal oils in recipe section. Additional good friendly gut bacteria – probiotics – may be indicated. Life 5

Black splinter like bits under the nails can indicate infectious endocarditis, a serious heart infection. Inner Defense, CardioCare

Black bands from the cuticle outward to the end of the nail, can be an early sign of melanoma. In either case you should seek professional help immediately.

Lack of B vitamins cause nails to become fragile, especially indicated with ridges. Lack of vitamins, minerals or protein causes hangnails. NingXia Red, Super B, Core Supplements

Dryness and brittleness together often indicate a lack of Vitamin A and calcium. Zinc deficiencies can show up as small white spots on the nails. Iron deficiency may result in “spoon” shaped nails or vertical ridges. Core Supplements, Thyromin

Lack of sufficient gut bacteria can contribute to nail fungal infections. Life 5, Inner Defense

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Many women with not-so lovely nails often have acrylic nails glued on top of their natural nails. This is an extremely bad practice. The glues and acrylics are toxic and can penetrate into the bloodstream; the fake nails cut off oxygen to the nail making it weak and thin; and many a nail fungus had it’s beginning with a manicure or pedicure. The area where the acrylic nail attaches to the natural nail bed is a breeding ground for bacteria.

For the sake of your health-let your natural nails grow out and take steps to make them strong and healthy by getting your whole body in balance. Yes, for a while you will have soft nails; keep them cut short and they will improve in a short while.

Excessive exposure to water and detergents or soaps can cause the nails to swell. When they dry, they shrink, which results in loose brittle nails. Rubber gloves should be used when washing the dishes or getting your hands in lots of water.

Herbs that provide the body with nutrients specific for the nails includealfalfa, black cohosh, burdock root, horsetail, oatstraw, dandelion, Gotu kola and yellow dock, royal jelly, spirulina, kelp-all rich in minerals and silica.

Carrier oils such as warm olive oil, flax or borage mixed with high quality therapeutic essential oils (Young Living) can be applied topically and will nourish the nail. Choose from the following essential oils: lemongrass, frankincense, lemon and myrrh. (See recipes at the bottom for more choices).

Supplements that nourish the nails include Sulfurzyme, Pure Protein, Balance Complete, Super C, Super B, True Source and NingXia Red. Sulfurzyme, by its very nature aids the body in ridding itself of viruses, so if you begin a regimen of Sulfurzyme and begin to feel rather puny, just reduce the amount you take and build up to 6-8 capsules per day for a healthier you. Here are a couple of simple recipes that nourish the nails.

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Nail Ointment

1 jar Rose Ointment

10 drops V6 oil

4 drops Geranium

4 drops Palo Santo

4 drops Citrus Fresh

4 drops Myrrh

Scoop out Rose ointment into a stainless steel double boiler. Warm the ointment until it melts. Remove from heat and pour into glass measuring cup with a pouring spout. Add V6 oil and essential oils, swirl gently with a toothpick. Pour back into Rose ointment jar, re-label or pour into smaller jars, label and give as gifts. Using a cotton swab, apply a small amount to nail bed and massage in, twice daily.

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Nail Butter

2 tbls beeswax

2 tbls cocoa butter

3 tbls jojoba oil*

1 tbls grape seed oil*

20 drops Essential oils – rose, carrot, rosemary, geranium and sandalwood– 4 drops each.

* In place of these two oils you can substitute 4 tbls V6 oil.

Combine beeswax, cocoa butter and jojoba oil in a saucepan and warm on low heat in a double boiler until cocoa butter and beeswax have melted. Remove from heat and add the essential oils. Stir well, let cool slightly and pour into jars. Use a Q-tip swab or orange stick to get a small amount of the cream from the jar. Apply to nails and massage with your fingers.

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Quick Nail Growth Oil

10 drops Frankincense

10 drops Lemon

10 drops Myrrh

Combine in a small vial or bottle. Apply with a paintbrush to bare nails twice per day.

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Other ail health tips

Oils that soften cuticles: eucalyptus & peppermint

Oils for fungal infections: Melaleuca alternafolia, oregano, Purification, Thieves, thyme, Ravensara.

Debra Raybern
Naturopath, Master Herbalist, Nutritional Consultant, Internationally Certified Aromatherapist
Author of Gentle Babies – – Essential Oils and Natural Remedies for Pregnancy, Childbirth and Infant Care

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Disclaimer: Please remember that anything discussed here does not constitute medical advice and cannot substitute for appropriate medical care.