Earlier I mentioned my own positive experience with olive leaf extract. I started taking the supplement and it completely cleared up a stubborn toenail fungus infection. A number of other patients have told me similar stories.

A woman with an infection of the large toenail said that within 60 days her condition was about three-quarters healed. For five years, she had tried many types of medication and natural agents without help.

More than 10 million Americans are said to have disfiguring fungal nail infections, a widely ignored medical problem. It is frequently found among patients with AIDS, cancer and diabetes, athletes, elderly individuals, people who spend considerable time standing or who wear the same shoes day after day, or who wear artificial fingernails. Drugs taken for cancer and AIDS lower resistance and are believed to make people more susceptible to infection.

For the first time in 35 years, a new drug has been approved for the condition. It is called Sporanox and is reported to be more effective than previous anti-fungal preparations. But none of these preparations come cheap. Patricia Anstett of the Knight-Ridder Newspapers reports that two 100-milligram pills of Sproranox are taken daily for about three months at a cost of $900. Older drugs, taken for 12 months or more, cost double or more that amount over the longer duration. Even with the new drug, the condition may return if the medication is stopped.

Olive leaf extract may offer a natural -- and for sure, less expensive -- method of self-treatment.

One patient said a fungal infection of the tongue he had for 30 years responded virtually overnight to the olive leaf. "I had tried all kinds of diets, treatments and regimes but to no avail," he told me. "Within three weeks on olive leaf extract the fungus disappeared!"

More than a dozen patients with candidiasis have reported significant improvements. They say they have fewer infections, allergic reactions, less dullness and more energy. One woman said she was finally able to clean out her dust-ridden garage. Before olive leaf extract that would have been impossible for her.

One 36-year-old woman, who had suffered repeated vaginal yeast infections for several years, told me this account of her experience with olive leaf extract:

"I have seen several doctors using conventional medicine. They prescribed every medication available to combat yeast, all to no avail. After less than three weeks of taking the olive leaf supplement, all symptoms cleared up and have not returned. As a sufferer of herpes simplex II, I would experience outbreaks several times a year. Now, I have had no more flare-ups."

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