Yeast infection, also known as thrush or candidiasis, is a common ailment that will affect most women and some men at some point in their lives.
Medicinal herbs for yeast infection should look to alleviating many of the symptoms but also the root causes of candidiasis.
Often, the outbreak of a yeast infection will coincide with periods of stress, antibiotic use, pregnancy and suppressed immunity due to other illness such as diabetes and HIV.
The principal step in treating yeast infections is through modifying the overall diet.
By removing all sugar and yeast, other natural and herbal remedies for yeast infection get the chance to work.
Medicinal Herbs Used to Treat Yeast Infection
Garlic (Allium sativum)
Garlic is a herb that for thousands of years has been used to prevent disease and treat infection and it is considered a very good herbal remedy for yeast infection.
Research in more recent times has proved that garlic has a multifaceted role in disease prevention. This herb has been shown to be active against the majority of Candida strains and a large variety of fungi.
Allicin, a sulfur compound, builds immunity, prevents infections and reduces the risk of heart disease. Recently research is progressively indicating there are other compounds other than the well-known allicin as having a therapeutic action in garlic.
When using garlic as an herbal remedy for yeast infection, a standardized extract in capsule or liquid form if usually best but, just about any form is beneficial.
For garlic lovers, fresh garlic can be used as an addition and spice to food but for those the pungent aroma and strong taste is too overpowering, odorless garlic capsules can be used.
Garlic has also been indicated as a preventative factor in colon, oesophageal and stomach cancers.
Remember, care should be taken when consuming greater than 5 grams of fresh garlic per day.
It has been theorized that the herb decreases the effectiveness of some medication such as HIV protease inhibitors. In contrast, it is thought that garlic increases the effect of aspirin or warfarin.
Tea Tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia)
While tea tree oil may not be the most potent antimicrobial around, it is an ideal skin disinfectant, as its role is to work on a broad variety of micro-organisms (both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria as well as fungi), and it has a low incidence of irritation.
Tea tree oil can be applied to all conditions of the skin and orifices. The extensive antimicrobial activity makes it valuable for genital irritations resulting from pathogenic organisms including yeasts and bacteria.
However, in addition to its reputation as an anti-fungal and antiseptic, aromatherapists use tea tree oil as an overall harmonizing and immune stimulant herb.
Tea tree oil should be used strictly in accordance with the guidelines on the label.
These herbs contain an alkaloid called berberine which is considered an active herbal remedy for yeast infection.
Berberine fights yeast overgrowth and helps to balance gut flora, has anti-inflammatory properties and alleviates a broad spectrum of digestive problems.
These herbs are generally safe to use however pregnant and breast-feeding mothers should avoid these herbs unless under the supervision of a health care practitioner.
Pau d’arco (Tabebuia avellanedae, T.impetiginosa)
The bark of pau d’arco is used in traditional South American medicine for dysentery, intestinal inflammation and this herb is also regarded as a tonic.
The key constituents of this herb are naphthoquinones.
Pau d’arco bark extracts inhibit the growth of the human gut pathogenic bacteria and are extremely effective in killing Candida albicans and the more resistant, Candida glabrata.
Several compounds in pau d’arco in the fluid extract form appear to act synergistically to achieve their action
This herb often recommended and used in combination with other medicinal herbs or conventional medication obtained from a professional health care practitioner as part of an overall treatment for yeast infection.
Pau d’arco is contraindicated in pregnant and breastfeeding women.
Other natural herbs used as herbal remedies for yeast infection
- Oregano – (Origanum vulgare)
- Black Walnut – (Juglans Nigra)
- Neem Leaf – (Azadiracta indica)
- Thyme – (Thymus vulgaris)
- Astragalus – (Astragalus membranaceus)
- Calendula – (Calendula officinalis)
- Styrax Benzoin – (Styrax benzoin)
- Nasturtium – (Tropaeolum majus)
- Cranesbill – (Geranium maculatum)
- Chinese Rhubarb – (Rheum officinale)
- Cnidium – (Cnidium monnieri)
Diet and Other Supplements for Yeast Infection
When using herbal remedies for yeast infection, dietary measures should also be incorporated to inhibit the growth of yeast in the bowel and reduce the likelihood of thrush.
Foods high in simple carbohydrates are foods that feed yeast infections; and include fruit juices, sugar, biscuits, cakes, honey, white bread, and pastries etc.
Food that could be helpful to include in the diet is plain yogurt (high in live cultures) and high fiber foods such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
High carbohydrate content foods, including citrus and stone fruits, and starchy vegetables can be re-introduced after about 1 month of treatment.
Natural remedies for yeast infection can also include a vitamin C supplement that is high in citrus bioflavonoids. This is of benefit in reducing inflammation and in boosting the immune system and helps in eliminating toxins.
An acidophilus supplement is also useful in promoting ‘good’ bacteria in the bowel which inhibits other pathogens.