Candida albicans, a single-celled infectious fungus, is responsible for the vast majority of yeast infections. Most commonly, people experience candida albicans infctions in the vagina, mouth, urinary tract or colon. In people with compromised immune systems, candida albicans infections can become systemic, leading to life-threatening complications.
Fortunately, several medicinal herbs may help to treat mild to moderate yeast infections. After consulting your health care provider, consider using these herbs to treat candida albicans infection.
Natural treatments for candida albicans vary tremendously in their safety and efficacy. Pau d’arco, a South American medicinal herb, may be effective for treating the condition. Tea tree oil is safe and effective as an external treatment for yeast infections, but it is unsafe to swallow. Other herbal treatments for candida albicans include garlic, which contains the antifungal compound sulfur compound allicin. Immunostimulant herbs such as echinacea and goldenseal may also be useful.
Herbs that treat candida albicans infections each function differently. Some, such as echinacea, work by boosting the body’s own defenses against the herb. Allicin in garlic enters the bloodstream and makes the body less hospitable to infectious yeast. Tea tree oil contains powerful compounds which act directly to destroy candida albicans. Pau d’arco’s effects are attributed to its primary constituent compounds, lapachol and beta-lapachone, which exhibit antifungal properties in laboratory environments.
To treat candida albicans using herbs, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to determine the best daily dose. Drink 2-5 cups of echinacea tea each day while fighting candida albicans infection. You also take one to three cloves of raw garlic by mouth or drink 3-6 cups of pau d’arco tea. Tea tree oil should not be ingested, but you can dilute it in water and use it as a douche or mouthwash.
In general, it is safe to use medicinal herbs to treat candida albicans infections. However, if you have a comprimised immune system due to HIV/AIDS, advanced age, or certain medications, you should not rely on alternative remedies to treat even relatively minor infections such as candidiasis. Some herbs for treating candida albicans are associated with side effects. For example, garlic can cause burns and rashes when applied directly to the skin, and pau d’arco can produce a mild blood-thinning effect.
If you have a medical condition or take medication, it is critical that you consult a qualified health care provider before using herbs to treat candida ablicans infections. Tell your doctor about any complementary and alternative therapies that you use.
University of Maryland Medical Center- Candidiasis
National Institutes of Health- Garlic
National Institutes of Health- Tea Tree Oil
University of Maryland Medical Center- Pau D’arco