Nourish - Candida Overgrowth – Herbs, Medicinal Mushrooms and Supplements – Part IV
Welcome back to part four of the candida overgrowth series.
Here we’re discussing a very crucial element for any successful candida treatment plan – antifungal herbs, medicinal mushrooms and supportive supplements.
We’ve covered the symptoms and causes in part one, then we covered dietary changes in part two, followed by the importance of fermented foods in part three.
Now we’re onto the antifungals and mushrooms. But first, let’s start with why we need to take them in the first place.
Why do we need Anti-Fungals?
When candida overgrowth has started wreaking havoc with our health, it’s important to get it back under control as soon as possible. Alongside a good diet and healthy lifestyle, anti-fungal herbs are crucial.
This is because candida is a pathogen that is particularly difficult to remove from our intestinal walls. We need antifungals to help break down the biofilms (metaphorically described as “cities for microbes”) that the candida creates. Not only this, but antifungals give our immune systems the best chance to help eliminate it.
If we go to the doctor, we will likely receive a prescription for antifungals to help against candida. This, however, can, unfortunately, come with a bunch of unpleasant side effects. Often the fungi adapt to the drug and become resistant to it. This means the effect is significantly reduced, or worse, there is no effect.
For this reason, natural antifungals are often the best option for candida sufferers, and luckily there are many to choose from!
Since there are a lot of different options you could incorporate, don’t feel you need to take them all.
In fact, I advise you not to take them all at once as this can overload your system causing a very unpleasant detox reaction. It also helps prevent the candida from adapting.
Over the course of your treatment, you can rotate these, or use two or three at the same time.
6 Anti-Fungal Herbs to Fight Candida Overgrowth
No. 1 – Caprylic Acid
Caprylic acid is one of the three fatty acids found in coconut oil. It’s a medium-chain fatty acid with potent antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties. These properties are a great help when it comes to candida and fungal infections.
Many studies have found that caprylic acid is effective in treating candida infections. This is down not only to its antifungal properties that kill the yeast, but because it can break down the membranes of candida cells.
For anyone struggling with oral thrush, oil pulling with coconut oil can be a fantastic remedy to help combat the yeast infection. See my previous blog here to learn more.
How do I take it?
We stock Nutiva Organic MCT Oil which is concentrated with the medium-chain triglycerides, capric acid and caprylic acid.
Since there’s roughly 45 – 60% of these triglycerides in virgin coconut oil, taking MCT oil in its concentrated form means you’re getting 100% absorbable MCT.
No. 2 – Oregano Oil
My personal superstar – I love this herb. Oregano oil is extracted from the leaves of the oregano plant and it’s within this oil that the real health benefits come from.
Oregano oil is particularly useful for treating a candida overgrowth because it contains two naturally-occurring antimicrobial agents; carvacrol and thymol. These work to fight Candida overgrowth by reacting with the water in the bloodstream which dehydrates and eliminates candida yeast cells.
Oregano’s anti-fungal properties are also a major player in the game.
One big advantage to oregano oil is that, unlike many other natural antifungals, the candida yeast does not develop a resistance to it. This makes it a highly effective treatment.
Candida yeast infections are becoming more resistant to anti-fungal antibiotics, therefore people are looking for more natural alternatives. Oregano is definitely your new go-to in my opinion.
Oregano oil is used as both a preventative and a treatment for candida overgrowth.
How do I take it?
I would recommend starting out by taking 3 drops of NAHS Oregano oil under the tongue twice daily (followed by a glass of water to prevent burning your mouth). Gradually up your dose to about 6 drops twice a day over a couple of weeks.
No. 3 – Garlic and Ginger
Two more delicious and wonderfully potent antifungals you can turn to include garlic and ginger. These can easily be found in both your kitchen and in supplement form.
Research studies have shown that both are effective against pathogens like candida, plus they’re both a great support to the immune system.
Garlic is high in allicin which has been shown to inhibit the growth of fungi and bacteria and protect against candida overgrowth.
When garlic cloves are crushed or chopped then Allicin is formed. However, since allicin is damaged by heat, it’s best to eat garlic raw for maximum effectiveness.
How do I take it?
Garlic: crush it over your meals, add it to hummus, dips or salad dressings, or take as a supplement.
Ginger: drink ginger tea, add it to your water kefir and kimchi; fry it off with garlic and onions in coconut oil when making the base for soups, curries, stir-fries etc. or add some to your porridge.
No. 4 – Grapefruit Seed Extract
Grapefruit seed extract is highly effective against a variety of yeasts and moulds and is particularly effective against candida overgrowth.
Grapefruit seed extract has strong antifungal effects against candida overgrowth and is able to fight Candida by attacking yeast cells directly, effectively destroying those that have already taken hold in the body.
This herb is a useful antimicrobial that helps boosts the immune system and helps to repair liver cells that may be damaged by the release of toxins in a Die-Off reaction.
How do I take it?
Viridian stock a great grapefruit seed extract.
No. 5 – Olive Leaf Extract
Pretty much everyone is familiar with the health benefits of olive oil, but another part of the olive tree that is less known about is the olive leaf.
Olive leaves provide incredible health benefits, including amazing immune system support.
These humble leaves offer anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-parasitic and anti-bacterial activities, making olive leaf extract incredibly effective for battling microorganisms like fungi, bacteria, and viruses.
How do I take it?
Simply take 5mL (a teaspoonful) 2 to 3 times a day with food of Comvita Olive leaf complex. Take up to 15mL daily.
No. 6 – Pau d’Arco
Pau d’Arco has many medicinal properties including being antifungal, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and anti-parasitic. The easiest way to take this herb is in tea form.
Consume it alone, or combine it with other healing herbs that support liver function, cleansing and candida removal. This may include milk thistle, dandelion and burdock. Make a tea and drink it throughout the day.
This herb also combines well with medicinal mushrooms, which we’ll be talking about next.
Other great antifungals to look into including in your diet are green tea, cinnamon, turmeric, cloves and aloe vera. These are all fantastic at fighting overgrowth, plus they’re choc-full of many other amazing properties, like being anti-inflammatory, blood sugar balancing, cholesterol-lowering and having immune-boosting properties.
It is worth noting however that some of these antifungals need to be taken at least an hour apart from your probiotics, as they have some mild antibacterial properties too.
Medicinal mushrooms are an entirely different classification of fungi to culinary mushrooms. During times of fungal infections, culinary types of mushrooms (aka ground-dwelling mushrooms) like portobello, button or brown are not recommended whilst on an anti-candida diet. This is because they can be contaminated with mould.
Medicinal mushrooms, however, (aka tree-growing mushrooms) will provide the much-needed support for your gut health (where the immune system resides), thereby supporting the immune system and your overall health.
Medicinal mushrooms can also help to provide support to your nervous system. This can take quite a hit when faced with not only the candida overgrowth symptoms themselves but also the lifestyle and diet changes that need to take place. When one’s system is overrun with candida, the mind can become more stressed and quite honestly, it can be a really rubbish time.
How do I take it?
Reishi mushroom is particularly popular for working its magic on candida.
It’s anti-fungal, plus it’s excellent for supporting the immune system, reducing the effects of stress and supporting liver health.
Other medicinal mushrooms to consider incorporating into your candida overgrowth protocol include:
Or a combination of all of them!
They’re really easy to incorporate into your diet, as you’ll see if you click on the above links to the related blog posts.
They can be added to hot beverages, soups, stews, lasagnas, broth etc.
Continue reading the candida overgrowth blog series here:
- The Symptoms, The Causes and the Treatments (Part One)
- Dietary Changes (Part Two)
- The Importance of Fermented Foods on an Anti Candida Diet (Part Three)
- Lifestyle Changes (Part Five)
Any questions? Drop into your local Nourish store to chat with our expert team and explore our full range of foods, supplements and skincare. You can also find our full product range in our online store.
*Please note that while we are knowledgeable about our products and nutrition, this blog should never be a substitute for medical advice and attention.
Please remember that you should always obtain the all-clear from your doctor before starting any new supplement plan or diet if you’re on any medication.