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Candida albicans is a fungus normally found in the intestinal tract, colon, and genitourinary tract. When functioning as it is meant to, candida assists the body with the absorption of nutrients. However, under certain conditions candida albicans goes from being an assistant to being an unwanted invader.
This can happen when the body becomes too acidic or is under an abundance of stress. It can also happen when the diet is too high in carbs and sugars or when taking antibiotic drugs, and when the immune system weakens.
There are many things that can be done to stop this fungal invader and this article will briefly discuss some of the best methods. However, the main focus of this article is to spotlight the use of essential oils as part of a powerful anti-candida program.
According to a 2015 Polish study, “During the last three decades the number of fungal infections caused by yeasts of Candida spp. has increased dramatically, mainly due to the rise in the number of immunocompromised patients.”1 The problem with a compromised immune system is that there is a reduced ability to keep candida in check.
Frequently, cancer patients have chronic candida overgrowth, sometimes in the lead-up to their cancer diagnosis, and sometimes as a result of the treatments they receive (or both). Chemotherapy and radiation kill off the healthy bacteria that would normally help to keep candida levels in check.
Candida overgrowth is uncomfortable (to say the least!). But when it becomes widespread through the body, from the mouth right through to the other end, it can lead to other problems. Issues associated with candida albicans can include leaky gut syndrome, a weakened immune system, brain fog, digestive upsets, food allergies, hormonal imbalances and many other health concerns.
Symptoms of Candida Overgrowth
There are over 150 known species of candida, but only about 20 of them have been found to cause problems for the health of humans. There are two places in the body where candida albicans most often manifests. One is in the mouth, known as oral thrush. It commonly feels like tiny inflamed bumps on the soft palate or inner cheeks or tongue. The tongue might also have a whitish coating with loss of taste and/or an unpleasant taste in the mouth.
Tiny red patches of dry skin might appear around the corners of the mouth, or at the corners of ears, eyes, or nose. It may look like a scaly, dry, rash. It can feel like tiny painful cuts or cracks in the skin in these areas. It can itch or burn and looks inflamed.
The second most common place is in the vagina, called vaginitis or yeast infection, where it burns and itches enough to drive most women crazy. Candida overgrowth can also cause acne and other skin disorders, athlete’s foot, chemical sensitivities, chronic fatigue syndrome, and constipation.
It can also cause diaper rash, diarrhea, dizziness, eczema, headaches, blood sugar problems and sugar cravings, tiredness, indigestion (like a burning in the gut), and menstrual irregularities.
Then there is the mental/emotional aspect. Candida sufferers often experience anxiety and depression, mood swings, brain fog, and irritability.
Natural Therapies for Treating Candida Albicans
#1. Altering the Diet
The anti-candida diet can feel like a harsh one. The thing to remember is that any food that feeds the fungus is to be avoided.
Foods definitely to be avoided are:
- Processed meats and pork
- Starchy vegetables including potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, beets, and beans
- Condiments and sauces such as ketchup, soy sauce, barbecue sauce, and vinegar (apple cider vinegar is the exception)
- Sugar and sugar alternatives including white and brown sugar, honey, molasses, corn syrup, and agave
- Fruit and fruit juice
- All alcohol
- Nuts including peanuts, pistachios, and cashews
- Dairy including cheese, milk, cream, and whey products
- Grains like barley, spelt, rye, and wheat
- Refined and processed vegetable oils and margarine
- Black coffee and black tea
The foods to include which will help your body to heal itself are:
- Non-starchy fresh vegetables (as many as you want)
- Lemons and limes
- Unpickled olives
- Non-wheat grains including buckwheat, millet, quinoa, oat bran, and teff
- Organic or free-range, pastured chicken
- Wild caught salmon and sardines
- Organic butter and yogurt (only natural yogurt that is probiotic)
- Fermented foods including sauerkraut and kefir
- Nuts and seeds including almonds, ground flaxseed, hazelnuts, and sunflower seeds
- Herbs including basil, black pepper, cinnamon, clove, dill, garlic, ginger, oregano, paprika, rosemary, salt, thyme, and turmeric
- Cold pressed oils like coconut, flaxseed, hemp, olive, and sesame oil
- Alternative sweeteners including stevia, erythritol, and xylitol
- Herbal teas
- And of course, lots of filtered water
#2. Helpful Supplements
Good quality probiotics are extremely beneficial to help repopulate the gut with good bacteria. Digestive enzymes are useful because the candida patient is usually enzyme deficient. Supplementing with digestive enzymes can also help to rid the body of candida because the enzymes help to break down candida cell walls.
#3. Boost Immunity with Herbs
Candida albicans is becoming increasingly resistant to pharmaceutical drugs such as fluconazole, a much-prescribed anti-candida drug. Herbs, however, pose no such problem.
Herbs useful for candida include: olive leaf extract, raw garlic, goldenseal, pau d’arco, oregano, echinacea, peppermint, ginger, turmeric, and black walnut. Be sure to work with a qualified health practitioner to assist you with the correct dosage for you.
#4. Anti-Candida Essential Oils
Essential oils have long been utilized to help eradicate candida from the body − tea tree is especially favored. But there are many more! Some wonderful research studies are coming through from many parts of the world which indicate quite a few essential oils effectively stop candida albicans in its tracks. They work by controlling yeast overgrowth and inhibiting candida formation.
First, here are some great anti-candida essential oil recipes, then we’ll share the research.
Anti-Candida Sitz Bath
- 5 drops tea tree oil
- 6 drops lavender oil
- 4 drops lemon oil
- 2 drops lemongrass oil
Especially helpful for vaginitis. Once per day add the above oils to about 5 inches of warm water in a bathtub. Soak for 15-20 minutes.
Oil Pulling for Oral Thrush
- 1-2 teaspoons organic coconut oil
- 1-2 drops of cinnamon, clove, thyme, or oregano oil
First thing in the morning before food, grab a spoon and put the coconut oil and 1-2 drops of your chosen essential oil in the spoon. Place the mixture in your mouth and swish around in the mouth for 20 minutes. That may seem like a really long time but the timing is important. You are breaking down the candida biofilm and detoxing the entire mouth, gums, teeth, and tongue.
This process helps you to eradicate oral thrush much more quickly. You’ll find that the quantity of liquid in your mouth increases as you swish − this is your saliva mixing with the oils. It’s important not to swallow any of the mixture. Once the 20 minutes is up, spit it out into a paper towel or tissue into the trash.
To finish, rinse well with warm filtered water and brush your teeth with a good natural toothpaste. If sensitive to coconut oil, substitute with sesame oil.
Immune-Boosting Candida-Fighting Body Oil
- 2 oz (60 ml) organic coconut oil
- 2 oz (60 ml) organic hemp oil
- 9 drops rosemary oil
- 7 drops lemon oil
- 10 drops tea tree oil
- 6 drops geranium oil
- 3 drops frankincense oil
- 6 drops lavender oil
- 3 drops cinnamon oil
- 4 drops patchouli oil
- 4 drops oregano oil
- 3 drops marjoram oil
Essential oils are easily absorbed into the bloodstream where they will be working in about 20 minutes. So you can affect every cell in the body just by rubbing essential oils into the skin. They are then metabolized by the body’s cells just like other nutrients.
Besides fighting candida, this is a beautifully aromatic and dry skin quenching body oil. Place all ingredients into a dark glass container (never plastic because essential oils eat plastic) and keep out of the sunlight.
Anti-Candida Essential Oils: The Research
The following list of essential oils all have research indicating they have potent activity against Candida albicans. (Note: You can find the corresponding study by clicking on the Sources and References link underneath the article)
Basil 1, 2, 24
Bay laurel (Laurus nobilis) 3, 4
Cinnamon 3, 5, 6, 7
Clove 5, 8, 9, 10
Eucalyptus 2, 3, 12, 13
Fennel 2, 8, 14
Frankincense 2, 11, 15
Lavender 2, 8, 24
Lemon 2, 3, 17
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) 8, 18
Lemongrass 2, 19
Marjoram 2, 22
Myrrh 2, 3, 11
Oregano 2, 20, 21, 24
Patchouli 2, 7
Peppermint 2, 3, 9, 19, 24
Pine 2, 8
Roman chamomile 19
Rosemary 2, 3, 10
Spearmint 2, 23
Tea tree 2, 9, 24
Thyme 2, 5, 8, 23
Winter savory 24
Possible Candida Die-Off Symptoms
One thing to be aware of is that when large numbers of candida cells die, they can cause varying degrees of discomfort. This will depend on the severity of the infection. This die-off, called a healing crisis or a Herxheimer reaction, releases toxic substances into the body and can make you feel somewhat unwell.
Some of the symptoms might include (but are not limited to) headache, brain fog, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, bloating, gas, constipation or diarrhea, joint and/or muscle pain, swollen glands, chills or fever, allergies, hives, rashes, and skin breakouts.
Should you begin to feel unwell as the metabolic toxins from dying candida cells are released into the body, there are a few things you can do to help support yourself. Try these tips:
- Support the Liver – Take a liver supportive supplement like milk thistle to help the liver expel the toxins.
- Support the Lymphatic System – Do some dry skin brushing using a loofah or soft skin brush. Gently skim along the surface of the skin, always moving in the direction of the heart. This helps stimulate your lymphatic system to move the toxins out quicker.
- Vitamin C – Take 2,000 mg of vitamin C per day.
- Ease Off Therapies – Cut back or temporarily stop using the essential oils and/or recipes above until symptoms ease or disappear.
- Water is Crucial – Increase water intake to help flush toxins out of the body
- Get Some Rest – This might seem obvious but the more good quality rest you get, the better you will feel.
- Destress – Stress impacts your adrenals and makes it harder for you to fight off the fungal infection. Try 20 minutes of meditation per day.
One last thing. Be sure to choose high quality, organic essential oils to ensure that no chemicals or toxic pesticides are in the oils you are using to improve your health. Never buy cheap essential oils. They are generally not distilled properly to ensure that the phytochemical content in the oil is at therapeutic levels, and they may contain potentially toxic chemicals used to extract the oils. Do some research and find out which companies make the best grade essential oils.
If you intend to use essential oils internally, please ensure you work with a qualified aromatherapist or healthcare practitioner.
Candida albicans is a fungus normally found in the intestinal tract, colon, and genitourinary tract.
Under certain conditions candida albicans goes from assisting with nutrient absorption to being an unwanted invader. These conditions include when the body becomes too acidic or stressed, when the diet is too high in carbs and sugars, or when taking antibiotic drugs.
Candida overgrowth can be very uncomfortable. Issues associated with a candida overgrowth can include leaky gut syndrome, a weakened immune system, brain fog, digestive upsets, food allergies, hormonal imbalances and many other health concerns.
There are two places in the body where candida albicans most often manifests. One is in the mouth, known as oral thrush. The second most common place is in the vagina, called vaginitis or yeast infection.
Natural ways for treating candida albicans include:
- Changing the diet
- Supplementing with a quality probiotic
- Boosting immunity with certain herbs
- Using anti-candida essential oils
When large numbers of candida cells die, they can cause varying degrees of discomfort. This die-off is called a Herxheimer reaction. Ways to reduce the discomfort include:
- Take a liver supportive supplement like milk thistle to help the liver expel the toxins
- Do some dry skin brushing using a loofah or soft skin brush
- Take 2,000 mg of vitamin C per day
- Cut back or temporarily stop using the essential oils and/or recipes in the article until symptoms ease or disappear
- Increase water intake to help flush toxins out of the body
- Get lots of good quality sleep
- Destress with meditation or other relaxation techniques