Obnoxious fungi are everywhere. And so many varieties! Fungus loves to live in the layer of skin that is not-quite-inside and not-quite outside, where they are tough to kill with external treatments and a big challenge for the immune system from within. Look for fungus to infect every square inch of human skin, from ringworm to jock itch to toenail problems.
There are more than 150 types of yeast (a category of fungus) that live in the body, but one gets all the attention. Candida albicans creates a long list of problems, from minor discomforts, such as vaginitis and skin rashes, to serious digestive problems, allergies, and depression.
Many remedies that help control yeast and other types of fungus, including athlete’s foot, work best taken internally. One to consider is the Brazilian bark pau d’arco, which contains constituents that kill yeast in the test tube. This popular remedy has been little studied in the lab, but one recent study from Brazil found that the herb was very active against fungus. A 2010 study confirmed this strong anti-yeast activity. Pau d’arco is available in many forms, but a simple tea often does the trick. Start with one cup per day.
Oregano, a member of the mint family, contains a potent oil that kills bugs as well as it flavors a pizza. In 2011, researchers again confirmed that oregano oil was active against many types of nasty bugs. A recent study from Phytomedicine concluded that oregano essential oil was the most effective oil tested, inhibiting all the Candida species evaluated in this study. The dose of oregano oil is about 4 drops, 3 times per day.
Turmeric is another effective remedy for fungus, and Candida in particular. In a 2011 study, Brazilian researchers determined that curcumin, the flavonoid that makes this spice yellow, is a potent weapon against candida. Another 2011 scientific paper concluded that curcumin greatly reduced antifungal drug resistance in candida. Turmeric is a safe, simple kitchen spice, so be generous with the curry! Curcumin is available as a standardized extract. Use 500 mg per day.
You might think of aloe vera gel as a remedy to apply to a painful sunburn, but it is also a powerful immune promoter. It’s used as serious internal medicine around the world, especially in Ayurveda. Much like the case of turmeric, evidence has been slowly building for years that aloe fights fungus, which is not surprising, because it is well known to contain a plethora of immune boosting constituents. In 2011, scientists found that aloe activates macrophages, a type of immune cell, in their role as Candida killers. In 2011, Indian scientists announced the discovery of a potent antifungal and anti-inflammatory protein found in aloe gel that suppresses candida. Aloe vera gel is safe and can be consumed as a beverage. For an active infection, use 8 ounces per day. To keep the immune system sharp, one ounce per day will do.
Caprylic acid, a natural derivative of coconut, is an eight carbon short chain fatty acid with antifungal properties that many clinicians use to kill yeast. A three-to-four month course is typical. The usual recommended dosage is 1,000 to 2,000 mg three times a day. Slowly work up to this dose by adding one capsule every two to three days until you reach the full recommended dose.