Candidemia, or the presence of candida in the bloodstream, has become more prevalent over the past 20 years, according to the CDC.
Candidiasis, caused by candida, is a fungal or yeast infection. Candida infections can occur in the mouth and intestines and can negatively affect the body from the belly to brain.
Candida overgrowths in the intestines can damage the gut lining, enter the bloodstream and cause toxic by-products to enter the body which then leads to many health problems such as digestive issues and depression.
Getting candida under control is important to avoid chronic health issues, and antifungals can be helpful in this process. Antifungal plants and antifungal medication are two ways to get candida under control.
Let’s take a look at research to determine which might be the better option if you struggle with a candida overgrowth.
Oregano (Origanum vulgare) essential oil has analgesic, carminative, disinfecting and detoxifying properties along with its ability to act as an antifungal agent in the body. A quick search of PubMed will lead you to hundreds of published studies on the benefits of oil of oregano.
A 2012 study published in Acta Mycologica investigated oregano’s antifungal activity against 20 strains of Candida fungi and found essential oil of oregano effectively inhibited the growth of Candida.
Oregano is a perennial plant of the mint family that is rich in phenols, such as carvacrol and thymol which enable oregano to inhibit the growth of fungi and also kills the fungus once it has overgrown.
Black Walnut Hull (Juglans nigra), from the black walnut tree that grows in the northern U.S. and Canada, is an effective antiviral (fights warts) and antifungal plant (fights Candida and cold sores).
A 2018 rat study compared the antifungal effects of black walnut with the drug clotrimazole against Candida albicans and found that black walnut was just as effective as the drug in reducing the fungal infection.
Cinnamon is a spice that comes from the bark of the Cinnamomum verum tree. When we consume cinnamon, we not only obtain nutrients like manganese, vitamin K, and zinc but also phenols, flavonoids, and antioxidants.
A 2017 study showed that cinnamon essential oil was an effective treatment against various strains of Candida (C. orthopsilosis and C. parapsilosis) and more effective than even rosemary and tea tree essential oils.
Pau D’Arco (Tabebuia avellanedae) is a tree with extremely hard wood that is used to treat diseases such as arthritis and cancer, as well as pain, inflammation, fever, boils, and ulcers.
Pau D’Arco contains an active chemical called lapachol which kills a variety of bacteria, parasites, viruses, and fungi.
A 2013 study published in Universitas Scientiarum researched Pau D’Arco’s activity against ten Candida species and found that it effectively inhibited the activity of these ten candida strains; Candida albicans, Candida dubliniensis, Candida parapsilosis, Candida tropicalis, Candida guilliermondii, Candida utilis, Candida krusei, Candida lusitaniae, Candida glabrata, and Candida rugosa.
Studies, such as a 2017 study published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine have found plant extracts to be safe and non-toxic, within a wide range of concentrations.
Amphotericin B is an antifungal drug used to treat Candida overgrowths of the mouth (oral thrush), intestines, and other fungal infections. However, it is advised that this drug be restricted to life-threatening fungal infections, as it comes with severe side effects such as cardiac and cardiopulmonary arrest, and is toxic to red blood cells.
A 2016 study published in the Brazilian Journal of Biology found that when amphotericin B was combined with quercetin and rutin side effects of the drug were lessened and antifungal efficacy improved.
Fluconazole (Diflucan) is an antifungal drug used to treat infections that occur in the mouth, throat, esophagus, lungs, bladder and the blood.
Common side effects of this drug include stomach pain, diarrhea, headache, dizziness, and alterations to the sense of taste as well as less common but more severe effects such as seizures, skin rash, and liver problems.
A 2015 study published in BioMed Research International states that Candida albicans strains can become resistant to fluconazole, but when paired with tee tree oil or its main bioactive component (terpinen-4-ol) is then able to enhance the drug’s effectiveness against candida.
Nystatin is a liquid antifungal drug taken by mouth to treat yeast infections of the digestive tract such as in the mouth and stomach and is available by prescription.
A 2018 rat study published in the Iranian Journal of Medical Sciences compared the efficacy of nystatin against pomegranate peel extract in oral candidiasis and found no significant differences. At day 15 in the study, pomegranate peel extract was 100% successful while nystatin was 80% successful at reducing oral candidiasis.
We see from this brief review of the literature that many antifungal plants have been proven safe and effective against yeast infections such as Candida.
Further, we see that antifungal medications can be effective against fungal or yeast infections, but can lead to various side effects and also become ineffective as certain Candida strains become resistant to the drug.
Exodus 30:23-25 "Take the finest spices: of liquid myrrh 500 shekels, and of sweet-smelling cinnamon half as much, that is, 250, and 250 of aromatic cane, and 500 of cassia, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, and a hin of olive oil. And you shall make of these a sacred anointing oil blended as by the perfumer; it shall be a holy anointing oil.”
Głowacka, A., Bednarek-Gejo, A., Trojanowska, D., Mianowany, M., & Budak, A. (2012). Assessment of in vitro antifungal activity of preparation ''fin candimis'' against candida strains. Acta Mycologica, 47(1), 27-34. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.5586/am.2012.004
Cleff, M. B., Meinerz, A. R., Xavier, M., Schuch, L. F., Meireles, M. C. A., Rodrigues, M. R. A., & Demello, J. R. B. (2010). In vitro activity of origanum vulgare essential oil against candida species. Brazilian Journal of Microbiology, 41(1), 116. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1517-83822010000100018
Marcos-Arias, C., Eraso, E., Madariaga, L., & Quindós, G. (2011). In vitro activities of natural products against oral candida isolates from denture wearers. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 11, 119. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1472-6882-11-119
Shu, C., Sun, L., & Zhang, W. (2016). Thymol has antifungal activity against candida albicans during infection and maintains the innate immune response required for function of the p38 MAPK signaling pathway in caenorhabditis elegans. Immunologic Research, 64(4), 1013-1024. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12026-016-8785-y
Abedi, P., Yaralizadeh, M., Fatahinia, M., Namjoyan, F., Nezamivand-Chegini, S., & Yaralizadeh, M. (2018). Comparison of the effects of juglans nigra green husk and clotrimazole on candida albicans in rats. Jundishapur Journal of Microbiology, 11(2), 1-5. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.5812/jjm.58151
Patturaja, K., & Geetha, R. V. (2017). Evaluation of antimycotic activity of three essential oils on candida albicans -an invitro study. Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research, 9(4), 480-482. Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/1918307746?accountid=158302
Krumina, G., Ratkevicha, L., Nikolajeva, V., Babarikina, A., & Babarykin, D. (2015). Influence of plant extracts on the growth of oral pathogens streptococcus mutans and candida albicans in vitro. Proceedings of the Estonian Academy of Sciences, 64(1), 62-67. Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/1663357657?accountid=158302
Jiménez-González, F. J., Luz, A. V., & Sepúlveda-Arias, J. C. (2013). Anti-infectious activity in plants of the genus tabebuia. Universitas Scientiarum, 18(3), 257-267. Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/1771629092?accountid=158302
Soliman, S., Semreen, M. H., El-Keblawy, A. A., Abdullah, A., Uppuluri, P., & Ibrahim, A. S. (2017). Assessment of herbal drugs for promising anti-Candida activity. BMC complementary and alternative medicine, 17(1), 257. doi:10.1186/s12906-017-1760-x
Oliveira, V. M., Carraro, E., Auler, M. E., & Khalil, N. M. (2016). Quercetin and rutin as potential agents antifungal against cryptococcus spp/Quercetina e rutina: Potenciais agentes para terapia antifúngica. Brazilian Journal of Biology, 76(4), 1029-1034. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/1519-6984.07415
Mertas, A., Garbusinska, A., Szliszka, E., Jureczko, A., Kowalska, M., & Krol, W. (2015). The influence of tea tree oil (melaleuca alternifolia) on fluconazole activity against fluconazole-resistant candida albicans strains. BioMed Research International, 2015 doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/590470
Bassiri-Jahromi, S., Pourshafie, M. R., Ardakani, E. M., Amir, H. E., Doostkam, A., Katirae, F., & Mostafavi, E. (2018). In vivo comparative evaluation of the pomegranate (punica granatum) peel extract as an alternative agent to nystatin against oral candidiasis. Iranian Journal of Medical Sciences, 43(3), 296-304. Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/2085887086?accountid=158302