Fungal infections plague a good number of people, and they are not only uncomfortable; they can be stubborn to clear up, too. The subject of fungal infections in general and yeast infections in particular has gotten a lot of attention lately, and as fungal infections seem less and less responsive to conventional treatment, herbal remedies are being explored. Thankfully, there are some very effective herbs and natural treatments for fungal infections. Here are some of them.
- Apple Cider Vinegar
While a bit smelly, apple cider vinegar is a powerful antifungal. For athlete's foot, you can soak your feet in a diluted apple cider vinegar solution several times a day, and/or you can "paint" the affected area with a cotton ball or swab soaked in apple cider vinegar.
For internal infections, apple cider vinegar can be consumed several times a day. It's strong stuff - you will probably want to dilute it with water and sweeten it with raw honey or stevia, but avoid sugar sweetening. Sugar is said to worsen yeast infections, since yeast thrive on it.
Sources also point out that diluted apple cider vinegar can also be used as a douche to cure vaginal yeast infections.
Look for raw, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar, as it has the most active constituents.
Again with a smelly remedy! Garlic may be odorous, but it's reputed to be a great fungus fighter. Taken internally, garlic can help cure yeast and fungal infections in the body. For vaginal yeast infections, a peeled garlic clove can be inserted into the vagina and left overnight, and the process repeated (with a fresh garlic clove) every night for about a week, or until symptoms subside.
Rub a cut garlic clove over athlete's foot several times a day for topical treatment.
For more than just colds and flu, a German study has shown that Echinacea is a powerful antifungal. Taken internally, Echinacea helps clear up yeast infections and prevents their recurrence, the study showed.
The yellow root of this plant contains berberine, which is not only an antibiotic but an antifungal as well. A diluted tea made from the roots could be used as a douche or foot-soak for athlete's foot, or the diluted tincture could be used similarly. It can also be taken internally, but not for more than three weeks or so (after that, it might affect intestinal flora).
- Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE)
This somewhat controversial antifungal remedy is alleged to be quite potent. It's controversial because the active constituents have not been thoroughly identified, but it's been shown to be quite effective at treating fungal infections, both topically and internally.