Vaginal yeast infections are a fairly common woman’s health complaint, causing itching and irritation, and general discomfort. However, female genitalia is not the only site that is susceptible to yeast infections. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that as many as 46,000 individuals in the U.S suffer from invasive candidiasis every year – or systemic yeast infections. As many as 20 percent of these individuals will die from the disease.
Most foundational component to treating candida is to limit sugar intake
The most foundational component to treating candida is to limit sugar intake to the greatest extent possible. This goes for all types of yeast infections, since yeast thrives on sugar. In addition to this, there was a recent published study in the journal, BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicinethat looked at several herbs that could be beneficial for treating candida-related infections.
Multiple reasons why herbal treatments are beneficial
Conventional treatment of these types of infections is usually with antibiotics. There are multiple reasons why looking to herbal treatments is beneficial. One, antibiotics are made of chemicals which may be harmful to the body. They may help kill off the “bad” bugs, but they may also be detrimental to healthy tissue and organ systems as well – this includes killing off the healthy bacteria of the gut, which often results in gastrointestinal complaints following antibiotic use. Secondly, be wary of using antibiotics for routine infections because there is growing antibiotic resilience, and in over using antibiotics the bugs we hope to kill off are morphing into superbugs that are worse than their predecessors. This latter point is important to take into consideration with candida infections.
Candida is incredibly resilient to antibiotics
Part of the reason for this is its ability to exist in 2 different forms during its life cycle – yeast and hyphae. It travels through the bloodstream as a yeast cell, and then enters into host cells using its hyphae form. It creates very resistant biofilms that support its growth in part by protecting it from many antibiotics. It even seems to work cooperatively with other bacterial strains to create co-infections.
Plant compounds gain traction in field of research
Plant compounds are increasingly gaining traction in the research arena and for therapeutic use because of their incredibly broad-spectrum effectivity as well as ability to account for microbial resistance.
7 plants used for this study
For this study, Avicennia marina (gray mangrove), Fagonia indica, Lawsonia inermis (henna), Portulaca oleracea (common purslane), Salvadora persica, Ziziphus spina-christi (Christ’s thorn jujube), and Asphodelus tenuifolius were looked at.
Plant extracts tested on various morphologies of Candida albicans
Extracts from the plants were tested on the various morphologies of Candida albicans. In addition, the plant extracts’ antibacterial properties were assessed on Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Escherichia coli, and the multi-drug resistant Acinetobacter baumannii and Klebsiella pneumoniae.
Henna and common purslane most effective in the inhibition of candidal activity
Of the 7 plants, henna and common purslane were the most effective in the inhibition of candidal activity, including the proliferation of biofilms. They both also were effective in disrupting C albican antibiotic resistance. The plants were also seen to kill all the bacterial strains tested, even ones resistant to various antibiotic drugs. The plants did not show any toxicity to human red blood cells.
- Soliman SSM, Semreen MH, El-keblawy AA, Abdullah A, Uppuluri P, Ibrahim AS. Assessment of herbal drugs for promising anti-Candida activity. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2017;17(1):257.
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Razi Berry is the founder and publisher of the journal Naturopathic Doctor News & Review that has been in print since 2005 and the premier consumer-faced website of naturopathic medicine, NaturalPath. She is the host of The Natural Cancer Prevention Summit and The Heart Revolution-Heal, Empower and Follow Your Heart, and the popular 10 week Sugar Free Summer program. From a near death experience as a young girl that healed her failing heart, to later overcoming infertility and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia through naturopathic medicine, Razi has lived the mind/body healing paradigm. Her projects uniquely capture the tradition and philosophy of naturopathy: The healing power of nature, the vital life force in every living thing and the undeniable role that science and mind/body medicine have in creating health and overcoming dis-ease. Follow Razi on Facebook at Razi Berry and join us at Love is Medicine to explore the convergence of love and health.