Candida refers to a group of fungal species found in different parts of the body including the mouth and the vagina. When produced in excessive amounts, the fungi cause an infection known as as candidiasis. In normal amounts, the fungi ensure the normal functioning of the body. In certain conditions, the fungi multiply so fast that they lead to infections. The most susceptible areas for these infections include warm and moist parts of the body. A few examples of these infections include oral thrush and vaginal infections which are the most common. In some cases, the infections occur in the underarms, on the skin and in the bottom area (nappy rash in kids).
While this is not a potentially fatal condition, it is a source of persistent discomfort. For this reason, it becomes very important to treat the conditions as soon as you note the symptoms creeping in. The advantage of doing so is that it not only gets rid of the discomfort, it also decreases the likelihood that the infection will spread to other parts of the body. Some of the symptoms that you should be on the lookout for include severe itchiness and redness in the affected area.
When the infection occurs in the mouth, it causes a cream-like coat in the mouth with distinct patches. On the skin, it manifests in rashes especially in places on the body where the skin has folded. In women, the proliferation of the fungi is characterized by excessive vaginal discharge that manifests in curd-like secretions. There are many reasons why one can get a candida infection. These include continuous use of antibiotics, certain forms of contraception, pregnancy as well as a weak immune system. Use any of the home remedies below to treat the Candida infection.
NB: If the infection does not resolve after a week or so, seek the services of a medical doctor to rule out any underlying medical conditions.
1. Garlic Cloves:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: Raw garlic cloves, pestle and mortar to crush. Garlic supplements (optional)
Garlic is one of the most popular and effective home remedies for the natural treatment of a candida infection. The reason for its potency lies in the high concentration of sulfur compounds that effectively get rid of fungi, thus dealing with the infection. Additionally, there are different ways of using garlic, making it an all-round ideal way to home treat this fungal infection.
- Find ways to include raw garlic into your diet. During preparations, make sure you crush or mince the garlic as this extra pressure helps to release the garlic’s healing properties. If you can sum up the strength, suck on a garlic clove at least twice daily.
- Alternatively, use garlic supplements as indicated on the packaging.
NOTE: You can always chew on fresh mint leaves if you are concerned about the lingering pungent smell once you have consumed the garlic.
2. Tea Tree Oil:
Time Required: 15 Min
What You Need: Tea tree oil, a dropper, warm water, cotton wool and carrier oil such as olive oil. Tampon (optional, and used for the management of vaginal thrush in women).
Tea tree oil is loved for its diverse use in treating different conditions at home. Part of the reason for this is attributed to the oil’s rich antifungal properties, making it perfect for the treatment of Candida infections. You only need a small amount for the different types of candida infection as indicated below.
For Oral Thrush:
- Place five drops of the tea tree oil in a cup and add the warm water.
- Stir the mixture before gargling it for 2 minutes.
- Do NOT swallow the mixture as this will only lead to the swallowing of the toxins, which worsens the infection.
- Instead, spit the mixture and carry on with your normal tooth brushing routines.
- Repeat this remedy twice daily until you notice that the white patches in your mouth have cleared.
For Vaginal Thrush:
- Place three drops of the tea tree oil on a tampon so that it soaks up just enough.
- Insert the tampon and let it remain there for four hours.
- Change the tampon and repeat this procedure daily until the Candida infection clears and the discharge is back to normal.
For Skin Infections:
- Place three drops of the tea tree oil in a shallow bowl and pour in the olive oil or your preferred carrier oil.
- Soak the cotton wool in the oil mixture and apply on the affected skin, making sure that you focus on the skin folds and creases as these offer a perfect environment for the proliferation of Candida.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV):
Time Required: 15 Min
What You Need: 1 Tablespoon of organic ACV (preferably raw ACV) and a glass of warm water.
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) is touted to be one of the most effective natural treatments for the management of Candida infections. This is because when ingested, ACV helps restore the natural pH of the body. The solution also has a high concentration of enzymes that help control the multiplication of Candida. By disrupting the ideal environment for the fungi to thrive, it is able to effectively get rid of candida infections. In addition to this, ACV also helps balance the presence of friendly bacteria in the digestive system, an act that replenishes the gut’s friendly bacteria.
- Add a tablespoon of the ACV to a glass of warm water and stir.
- Drink this mixture slowly and repeat the procedure twice daily. At the onset, the symptoms may feel worse, but it does get better once the yeast start reducing.
- The other alternative is to soak some cotton wool in a mixture containing ACV and water and applying on the affected part of the body.
4. Probiotic Yogurt:
Time Required: 15 Min
What You Need: Probiotic yogurt. A tampon (optional for women with vaginal thrush)
Probiotic yogurt stands out from the usual type of yogurt because it contains live cultures. These live cultures aid in fighting off fungal infection, making this specific yogurt ideal for the home treatment of Candida infection. If you opt for this home remedy, look out for the live cultures used as the Lactobacillus acidophilus culture is one of the best options. L. acidophilus reacts with the excessive yeast present during the infection and produces lactic acid as a safe by-product. By incorporating probiotic yogurt into your daily diet, you should also be able to keep candida infections at bay.
- Make sure that you take probiotic yogurt at least twice daily.
- For women with oral thrush, one of the best ways to treat vaginal thrush is to dip a new tampon into the yogurt before insertion.
- Let the tampon remain inserted for a minimum of 4 hours.
- Repeat this twice daily until the candida infection is cleared.
5. Coconut Oil:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: A teaspoon of virgin coconut oil and cotton wool.
Coconut oil is an effective home remedy for you if you want are looking for a simple, effective and affordable way to treat Candida infections. This is because the coconut oil has antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties that help eliminate the fungi present. This is made possible by the presence of fatty acids that include Caprylic acid, Capric acid as well as Lauric acid. Research indicates that coconut oil is beneficial as it does not allow for the creation of resistant fungi (unlike conventional medication used in the treatment of candida infections).
- Soak a ball of cotton wool in the coconut oil and apply topically on the affected part.
- Do this thrice daily until the infection clears.
- You can also make a point of including the coconut oil in your diet so that you get to consume the oil at least twice daily. Since this may take some getting used to, you may want to start off with a low dosage before working your way up.
- A good example of how you can do this would be to start with half a teaspoon of the coconut oil and slowly increasing the dosage over a period of time until the infection clears completely.
6. Cranberry Juice:
Time Required: 10 Min
What You Need: Cranberry juice (unsweetened).
Cranberry juice is known to be a great home remedy for the natural treatment of Candida infections. This is because it is rich in arbutin, a potent anti-fungal that kills the fungi responsible for Candida infections. When using this remedy, it is advisable to take the juice unsweetened. Sweetening the juice increases the amount of sugars present, and this only serves to feed the fungi which in turn reduces the juice’s potency.
- Take a glass of the unsweetened cranberry juice thrice daily.
- Monitor your improvement for a number of days until the infection clears.
7. Starve the Yeast Responsible For the Candida Infection:
Time Required: Varies depending on the choice food
What You Need: Foods that are low in sugars
Starving the yeast responsible for the infection is one of the most important ways in which you can deal with Candida infection. Since sugars are known to cause the proliferation of fungi, this is the first place where you should cut off the supply of food for the fungi.At the onset, you want to stay away from sugar as much as possible. This means avoiding milk (which contains the disaccharide lactose) as well as any foods which are rich in yeast including, but not limited to peanuts, melons and even beer. Doing this speeds up the healing process, and makes you less susceptible to candida infections. In line with this, it also helps to eliminate any foods that you are sensitive to/intolerant of.
- Find ways to modify your diet by cutting out all foods rich in sugar and yeast until the infection clears.
Other simple ways in which you can manage Candida infections include taking a balanced diet, increasing the amount of probiotic foods as well as avoiding any allergens as this could easily trigger skin thrush. For the ladies, it is important to invest in high quality cotton underwear. The use of cotton is preferred because it is not only absorbent, it also prevents the creation of a warm moist environment that sets the infection into overdrive.
Additionally, it is important to avoid extremely tight pants and shorts as this create the perfect environment for the fungi. If you are really radical about getting rid of vaginal thrush, go commando once in a while to allow the vaginal area to ‘breathe’. While at it, steer clear of scented bath soaps and vaginal products as these upset the pH levels within the vagina. If you suspect that your Candida infection could be the result of your choice contraceptive, make sure to consult with your gynecologist to choose a contraception method that does not cause an increase in the amount of yeast within the body. Lastly, avoid stressful conditions as they easily trigger an increase in the amount of yeast, thus predisposing you to the development of Candida infections.