11 Top Herbs to Combat Candida

Candida has a nasty habit of building up in our intestines skin, vagina, or mouth and debilitating our health in a variety of ways. This pesky invasive yeast is the most common cause of fungal infections worldwide and can cause trouble with a lot of people’s digestive systems if it grows too much.

Candida is naturally found in the human body in tiny amounts, but when a person’s immune system is weak or gastrointestinal tract is not healthy, candida can spread unchecked.

Candida infection can range from nearly benign to life-threatening. If a candida infection becomes systemic (affects your whole body), rather than isolated in one area, it can be life-threatening.

Low-grade Candida Infection

Many health practitioners believe that often people suffer from low-grade candida infections in the intestines.

And health practitioners believe that low-level candida infections can cause a variety of general symptoms like:

  • fibromyalgia
  • chronic fatigue
  • depression
  • Anxiety
  • cravings for sweets
  • bad breath
  • white coating on tongue
  • chronic allergies
  • brain fog

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Herbs to Combat Candida

Pharmaceutical drugs used to treat fungal infections are highly toxic and can cause a huge array of side effects, but luckily, evidence shows that many herbs can stop candida in its tracks. So here is a list of herbs and plant compounds that can help make your digestive system squeaky clean and inhospitable to parasitic drains like candida.

1. Wormwood

Wormwood has long been used to kill parasites, and many practitioners believe that wormwood’s killing abilities extend to nearly all pests that could be living in your intestines. It’s also thought to keep bad bacteria out of the intestines.

To illustrate wormwood’s killing potential, let’s look at an active class of ingredients in wormwood – artemisinins – that has been compared to one of the most powerful anti-malarial drugs14,. It also has been shown to kill yeast by disrupting the function of their mitochondria, taking away their energy source1.

Artemisinins also have shown powerful activity against candida biofilms, layers of slime that candida uses to protect itself2.

2. Oregano oil

This herb is one of the most popular anti-candida remedies, and the research leaves little doubt as to its impressive value in the fight against candida. You probably are familiar with oregano because it is used in pizza and Mexican food.

The active ingredient in oregano oil is carvacrol. In one study conducted in Morocco, carvacrol was as effective as nystatin for Candida treatment because the carvacrol damages the cellular envelope that surrounds the Candida yeast3,. Once the envelope is damaged, Candida is left to die.

One study found that oregano oil actually killed candida more effectively than a pharmaceutical antifungal drug, clotrimazole4. Another study found oregano to be the most effective against candida when compared with numerous other spices and oils5.

3. Black walnut

Although there may not be a mountain of research on this herb, one thing is clear from the research that exists: black walnut is confirmed to have “potent” antifungal activity against all forms of candida6.

4. Caprylic acid

You may have heard that coconuts fight bad bugs. It appears that’s correct!

Coconut oil contains caprylic acid and has been shown to be so effective at killing Candida that researchers recommend it be used in the treatment of Candida infections7. They recommend its usage because it could even kill antibiotic-resistant Candida7.

Other researchers found caprylic acid to be effective at killing candida and said it was superior and less expensive than the antifungal drug Diflucan8.

5. Aloe Vera

This versatile tropical herb can be used to soothe sunburnt skin or deliciously incorporated into drinks and food. It can also wage war on candida.

Research shows that aloe vera can inhibit the growth of candida and stop the germ tubes of the yeast from forming9. Germ tubes are the outgrowths that extend from candida, and these can be thought of as “arms” of the yeast that solidify its growth and presence. Additionally, aloe vera shows anti-biofilm action, destroying the protective layer around candida10.

6. Cumin

Add some spice to your food to kick candida’s butt.

Cumin has been traditionally used in the Middle East and in Mediterranean cuisines. Researchers have found that black cumin oil attacks the membranes of candida cells, resulting in “irreversible damage”11.

Researchers have also found cumin to be one of several “natural inhibitors to control the growth of the most important pathogenic Candida”12. In fact, cumin “actively” inhibits yeast growth13.

7. Turmeric

You’ve certainly heard of turmeric. It’s medicinal properties – and those of its component curcumin – are known worldwide.

This herb has benefits beyond its powerful anti-inflammatory effects. Not many people know that turmeric can help with candida as well*. Turmeric’s component, curcumin, has “antifungal activity” and although it has not been quite as effective as pharmaceutical antifungals in tests, it is still useful to have in your anti-fungal arsenal14. And researchers say that turmeric might “enhance [the] inhibitory effect of existing antimicrobial agents through synergism”15.

A test against 14 strains of candida concluded that turmeric is a “potent fungicide compound”15.

8. Garlic

Garlic tastes great, smells bad, and has tons of medical benefits.

Garlic has been shown effective against candida biofilms, and it inhibits candida growth16,17.

Fresh garlic has been found to be more effective against candida than garlic powder, so integrate it into your foods!

9. Reishi

Reishi stimulates the number and activity of a variety of your immune cells and antimicrobial chemicals, making it easier for your body to fight pathogens like candida16. Reishi has also shown direct antifungal activity against candida and in destroying candida’s biofilms17.

So reishi mushroom works directly and indirectly in fighting candida and boosting your immune system’s ability to kill overgrowths.

10. Anise Seed

Anise is a plant native to the Mediterranean and Middle East.

Anise seed is known to be anti-fungal 18. Essential oil of anise seed has shown stellar anti-candida activity 18. Anise has also shown broad anti-pathogen effects 19. In other words, it has the capacity to combat harmful bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens that harm your body.

11. Protease

Since biofilms play a crucial role in protecting candida from being killed, researchers have looked for ways to destroy biofilms.  In order for herbs to effectively kill candida, they have to make it past the biofilms, which are like protective slimes made of sugars and proteins.

In proteases, researchers have found a worthy adversary. Proteases are enzymes that break down proteins. Think of them as nibbling at the protective protein cocoons that biofilms generate.

The good news is that proteases have been proven to break down biofilms in tests 20,21. Researchers have shown that protease eats away at the sugars and proteins in biofilms, resulting in “significant eradication” of biofilms 21.

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Evan Burns

MSC in Nutrition

Evan Burns

MSC in Nutrition

Evan has years of experience researching and writing about the health effects of food and nutritional supplements.

He is especially passionate about nutritional pharmacology and the bioavailability, efficacy, and actions of supplements. He wants to spread knowledge about how effective diet and supplements can be at treating ailments and promoting well-being.

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