Candida albicans, the most common type of yeast that causes infection in humans, is actually a type of fungus. Although it normally exists in small quantities in the mouth and intestines, an uncontrolled candida overgrowth can cause a wide range of symptoms, including mood swings, “leaky gut,” brain fog and depression. (keep reading for some great antifungal remedies)
In many cases, candida overgrowth can be addressed with lifestyle changes, such as avoiding certain foods – including processed sugar, refined flour and alcohol – embarking on a cleansing diet, and taking probiotics to re-establish a healthy balance of bacteria in the intestinal tract.
Antifungal remedies designed to protect your life
The nine natural antifungals (below) can help reinforce the effects of proper diet and probiotics, reduce candida cells, and help restore your health. For maximum benefit, you can try two or three of them together. However, in order to avoid uncomfortable “die-off” reactions that occur as the antifungals take effect, it is best to proceed slowly at first.
One word of caution: If you suspect you have a serious fungal condition, you should consult a knowledgeable naturopathic practitioner – and always get the “go-ahead” before trying these natural antifungals.
Caprylic acid: Coconut oil to the rescue
Caprylic acid is probably the “gold standard” of natural candida treatment. This beneficial fatty acid has been clinically proven to kill candida albicans – while helping to restore natural stomach acidity. For maximum benefit, you can obtain your caprylic acid in the form of coconut oil, which also contains the natural antifungals lauric acid and capric acid.
Many natural healers recommend working your way up to 5 tablespoons a day, starting with a smaller amount to avoid die-off reactions. If coconut oil is not practical for you, caprylic acid is commercially available in gel capsules, to be taken twice a day with meals.
Grapefruit seed extract: Beat candida with bioflavonoids
Grapefruit seed is a potent antifungal agent that is also packed with bioflavonoids and antioxidants. It not only attacks candida by breaking down yeast cell walls, but also enhances the immune system and helps to repair damaged liver cells.
In one study, grapefruit seed extract outperformed 30 different antibiotics and 18 fungicides – quite an impressive feat. However, as candida albicans has shown an ability to adapt to this extract, it should be combined with other natural antifungals.
GSE is sold in tablet and liquid form. Hint: if taking the liquid concentrate, dilute it well, using about 10 drops of GSE to at least 8 ounces of water. This powerful antifungal can interact with prescription medicines, so check with your doctor before using it.
Oil of cloves: Enlist the power of eugenol
Oil of cloves is another effective antiseptic and antifungal that quickly kills candida cells while simultaneously boosting the immune system. Its active ingredient, a compound called eugenol, gives cloves their spicy flavor – and their antifungal powers.
Make a tea from clove oil by adding 15 to 30 drops of the oil to warm water; you can drink the tea up to three times daily. If you find the taste objectionable, you can flavor it with a few drops of cinnamon essential oil.