The most effective herbs and natural remedies to fight Candida albicans infection, the most common of fungal infections.
The intestinal flora , which is the guarantor of our good physical and mental health, is made up of 100 trillion bacteria of about 400 different species, but we also find fungi and viruses.
This is what makes up our microbiota . Among these we also find candida albicans, which is a fungus, and more precisely a yeast. All these microorganisms live in symbiosis and they all have their role and their usefulness within our microbiota.
Unfortunately this balance is fragile and under certain circumstances bacteria can proliferate in such a way as to disturb the balance, causing dysbiosis .
In the case of candida albicans, which is an opportunistic yeast or fungus naturally present in our intestines, its proliferation can lead to what is called candidiasis.
And depending on the degree of infestation, this candidiasis will generate more or less annoying or even disabling disorders. Becoming chronic, candidiasis will weaken the immune system and cause a whole host of symptoms.
Symptoms of Candidiasis
Candida can spread to various areas of our body and can cause numerous symptoms, which are not always easily recognizable.
The most common symptom in women is vaginal discharge , a whitish discharge characterized by bad odor, which may be accompanied by redness, itching and burning when urinating.
Although less common, candida can also affect the male genital system , which manifests itself as an inflammation of the glans, associated with burning and itching that worsens after sexual activity.
Candidiasis can also occur in the oral cavity , in which case it is also defined as ” thrush ” and can affect the tongue, the hard and soft palate and the tonsillar arch. Symptoms of oral candidiasis can be white, painful plaques on the sides of the mouth, a burning sensation on the tongue, an unpleasant taste, redness, and difficulty swallowing.
Candida infection can spread and affect many other parts of the body. Like the intestines, the skin and even the nervous system.
Symptoms of an infectious candidiasis can be many:
- Damaged nails and nail fungus
- Recurrent bacterial infections
- Dermatological disorders
- Dysfunctions of the immune system, allergies, food intolerances
- Migraine and headache
- Depression, lack of concentration, anxiety, mental fog
- Insomnia, fatigue
- Digestive and respiratory disorders (especially in the bronchi)
- Joint and muscle pains
- Metabolic disorders (weight gain, obesity)
- Decreased libido
- Cravings for sweets and high drive tension (with a particular appetite for bread and sweets)
If localized candidiasis is not such a serious pathology, but if not treated adequately it can become chronic and invade other organs, to the point of seriously compromising the immune system , leading to a real immunodeficiency, with the risk of being more susceptible to allergies environmental, infections and cancers.
For this reason, candida should never be taken lightly and must be treated in time.
Causes of Candida Infection
The causes can be many, the most common are these:
1. Poor nutrition
Candida is a fungus that feeds on sugars, but we are not just talking about sugars, all carbohydrates are affected, including fructose in fruit and starches contained in cereals, or in other foods such as potatoes, or chestnuts for example.
Therefore , an excessive consumption of carbohydrates , such as pasta, bread, pizza, sweets, but also fruit and cereals in general, can cause an imbalance of the intestinal flora in favor of candida albicans.
Another of the most common causes of candida infection is the protracted and massive use of antibiotics . Let’s be clear, no one here wants to deny the usefulness of antibiotics, but when abused, the antibiotic can seriously compromise our microbiota, leading to an imbalance that candida albicans can take advantage of to take over and proliferate.
3. Birth control pill
High levels of estrogen while taking hormone treatment can lead to a modification of the vaginal epithelium producing glycogen used by candida to develop.
Cortisone, in addition to being a powerful anti-inflammatory, has a clear depressant effect on our immune system, especially when it is taken for a long time. Some pathogenic or opportunistic germs such as candida albicans can take advantage of this decline in our defenses to proliferate.
Candida feeds on sugars!
La Candida fights first of all at the table, starving her .
In fact, Candida is a fungus that feeds on sugars. As mentioned we are not only talking about sweets, but also about carbohydrates present in starches and simple sugars such as those of fruit, or the lactose present in milk and cheeses.
Knowing this, we have an advantage. In fact, Candida cannot proliferate if we do not provide it with the “fuel” it needs. Conversely, a diet rich in carbohydrates will help her expand, making the situation worse.
Of course you cannot improvise, the ideal is to be followed by a good nutritionist, or by a doctor expert in nutriceutics.
Natural remedies to combat Candida
While allopathic medicine is primarily concerned with combating candida through the administration of antifungal drugs, natural remedies can support the body in fighting this unwelcome host in many other ways.
The goal of these remedies will not be so much to eliminate the fungus as drugs do, but rather:
- Strengthen our immune system;
- Inhibit the proliferation of candida albicans;
Nature has given us many plants that can be useful in this area. However, from the studies carried out (mostly in vitro) some have proved to be particularly effective against this specific fungus.
Let’s see what they are.
Of all the natural remedies capable of fighting candida, cinnamon is probably the most enjoyable! However, it is also one of the most powerful. Cinnamon’s amazing antifungal properties have been found to treat and prevent the spread of candida albicans in the digestive tract.
A study published in 2011 reported that cinnamon essential oil was able to break down Candida albicans biofilm in the gut . As a result, the cinnamon treatment helped reduce significant amounts of yeast, helping to restore the health of the treated patients. After only 14 days of treatment, 72% of patients no longer had candida in the stool. The remaining 28% showed a significant reduction in yeast. ( 1 )
From a further study, cinnamon has again shown an antimicrobial action against yeasts , including Candida albicans. Research results show that cinnamon is able to fight oral pathogens, including candida and that it has been shown to be more effective than other plant extracts tested ( 2 )
Another study in 2011 investigated the use of cinnamon essential oil in hospitals. Hospital patients are extremely vulnerable to Candida infection as they tend to have severely weakened immune systems. Over the past few decades, Candida yeast infection has become increasingly common in hospitals. When the researchers compared the effectiveness of sixteen different essential oils with another type of Candida yeast, they found that the most active essential oil was cinnamon. Cinnamon appears to kill Candida yeast and prevent it from spreading. ( 3 )
Another plant that appears to inhibit the growth of this fungus is Aloe . There are over 300 varieties of Aloe, the studies carried out mostly stop on the use of Aloe Vera extracts. While there are no relevant studies on Aloe Arborescens, although as we know this has a significantly higher concentration of active ingredients.
From this 2020 study ( 4 ) conducted in vitro, Aloe Vera extract showed inhibitory action on candida albicans, comparable to standard antifungal agents.
Another older study ( 5 ), conducted in 2009, looked at an extract of Aloe Secundiflora, another variety of Aloe. The results of this study also suggest that the plant is capable of inhibiting the proliferation of candida.
To these results we must add the well-known immunomodulating properties of Aloe , able to support and stimulate our immune system, helping it in the fight against fungal infection.
Furthermore, Aloe can be used both internally , as a juice to drink, and externally . Just apply the gel obtained from the leaves, directly in the area affected by the fungal infection, be it the oral mucosa, or the intimate parts.
3. Tea tree oil
Tea tree essential oil ( tea tree oil ), obtained from the Australian tree Melaleuca alternifolia, is today the most used and most famous essential oil in the world. This is thanks to its extreme reliability and effectiveness for the treatment of a wide spectrum of pathogenic germs, including fungi and yeasts and to the absolute harmlessness for humans.
As mentioned, in addition to being a natural antibacterial, tea tree oil also has antifungal properties and from the studies carried out, it seems to be extremely useful also for fighting candida albicans infection.
Researchers in a 2003 study ( 6 ) looked at tea tree oil as a treatment for the common yeast infection strain Candida albicans , including 14 drug-resistant derivatives. The results of laboratory tests showed that Tea tree oil is effective against all strains .
A follow-up test in rats confirmed these results. Tea tree essential oil eliminated drug-resistant infections in rats after three weeks of treatment. In contrast, the untreated rats, or those treated with common yeast infection drugs, were still infected at the conclusion of the study.
To be honest, however, it must be said that a more recent study, conducted in 2015 ( 7 ) produced more conflicting results. Tea tree oil can only be effective against certain strains, at certain concentrations or in combination with conventional medications.
How to use tea tree oil
Tea tree oil can be both ingested and used externally on the skin.
Ingestion is generally done by adding 1-2 drops of tea tree oil to a sugar cube, or to honey, but in the case of candida infection, sugars are absolutely to be avoided. Alternatively you can use a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil, sunflower oil, or coconut oil. The latter, as we will see, also boasts antifungal properties.
4. Coconut oil
Coconut oil can boast numerous uses, both in cooking and in cosmetics, but few know that it is also a powerful natural antifungal .
In a laboratory study conducted in 2007 ( 8 ), researchers found that coconut oil is capable of inhibiting the growth of several yeast species. The researchers then found that Candida albicans was the most susceptible of these.
Just think that the study found that less coconut oil was needed to eliminate yeast than fluconazole, an antifungal drug commonly recommended for the treatment of yeast infections.
In a subsequent 2014 study ( 9 ), the research yielded a similar outcome to the previous study. Twenty dogs were treated with a blend of oils, which included coconut oil. This mixture was applied topically for a month.
The researchers found that the treatment had a good clinical outcome, with no reported adverse effects or relapses.
Of course, more research is needed to determine the possible short- and long-term effects of using coconut oil, but so far the outcomes seem more than positive.
How to use coconut oil
As with tea tree, coconut oil can also be eaten or used externally by applying coconut oil to the affected area. Coconut oil can also be safely used in intimate areas. In case of oral infection, it is also useful to rinse using coconut oil as a mouthwash, perhaps adding 1-2 drops of tea tree.
NB : All the information published on this site is for informational purposes and should not be considered as advice, or medical prescriptions, or of any other nature.