Fungal infections are very common skin conditions experienced by many worldwide. Uncomfortable and embarrassing – these are some of the words used to describe this medical condition, although they are quite easy to treat with many skin creams available in the market nowadays.
Diflucan is a medication with antifungal properties, prescribed to treat fungal infections. However, as with other drugs, Diflucan is not without any risks of side effects including abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting.
For those who do not wish to use Diflucan or any kind of medication for fungal infection, there are natural alternatives that are safe to use and are also effective in getting the job done. These alternatives also bring other medical benefits that can give you a healthier body.
Prior to using an alternative, make sure to consult with a medical expert first to avoid unwanted complications:
Do not substitute this for actual advice from an expert as many cases require treatment that CAN NOT be remedied with natural options. These natural options may only be helpful in addition to treatments, again consult with a medical professional before self treating or self diagnosing.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is considered as a powerful health tonic due to its wide list of uses, ranging from curing simple colds to protecting the body against more serious medical conditions, and it can be used either topically or ingested. For fungal infections, apple cider vinegar is an effective treatment by itself with direct application using a cotton ball on a daily basis. Aside from that, here are a few recipes you can follow to enhance apple cider vinegar’s effects against fungal infections:
a. Pour apple cider vinegar in an equal amount of clean water. Soak affected areas in it for up to 30 minutes then dry afterwards. Do this every day. It will leave a burning sensation on your skin, hence the importance of diluting apple cider vinegar with water prior to application especially for people who have sensitive skin.
b. Add three teaspoons of apple cider vinegar to rice flour until it becomes pasty. Apply the mix to areas infested with fungus and gently scrub it to get rid of dead skin cells. Let it sit for a couple of minutes before washing off.
c. Mix two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with a teaspoon of manuka honey. Pour the mix into a glass of warm water, stir, then drink it.
2. Baking Soda
Also known as sodium bicarbonate, it is another culinary ingredient that has medicinal benefits. Baking soda has been proven to have antifungal properties in a study posted at the journal Mycopathologia last February 2013 wherein it was tested on clinical specimens with promising results. Using it for this purpose is as simple as mixing baking soda with water then applying it to the infected areas every day. Another use is by mixing baking soda with apple cider vinegar for a more potent antifungal combination. You can also sprinkle baking soda in your socks and footwear to protect your feet from fungal infections by keeping it dry.
3. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is packed with healthy fatty acids that work wonders on your body, not to mention being a potent antibacterial and antioxidant. Caprylic acid, a powerful antifungal, is among those that is found in the oil. This said acid destroys fungal infections upon contact, and also stops their replication and growth. The more powerful virgin coconut oil strengthens the immune system to protect against future infections thanks to its high amounts of lauric acid. When shopping for coconut oil, always choose the organic variants as it is free from chemicals that weaken its benefits. Do not pick the hydrogenated types as they are inferior and are full of unhealthy trans-fatty acids. Here are some of the ways on how to make use of this immensely healthy oil:
a. Use coconut oil instead of your ordinary cooking oil. Substitute it to butter for your breakfast. Sprinkle it on some dishes.
b. Ingest directly through teaspoons prior to a meal, or mix it with water or other beverages.
c. Dry the infected area then apply the oil directly in a thin layer. Do this regularly as the infection persists.
d. Stir four tablespoons of the oil in two quarts of warm water. Spray it on the affected areas on a daily basis until the infection is completely gone.
e. Pop a softgel capsule of garlic oil and vitamin E and drop the extracts into a cup with coconut oil. Gently rub the mix on the infected area and repeat until it is free from fungus.
4. Epsom Salt
Epsom salt has a lot of uses for the household, from cleaning tiles to improving growth of garden plants and protecting them from slugs. For the body, it can clean your skin from head to toe, washing away pent-up toxins, and a myriad of other benefits internally. Its powers are attributed to the rich content of magnesium, a mineral that is required in almost 300 chemical reactions in the body and provides many protective health benefits as well. Epsom salt is so effective that it landed a spot in the list of essential medicines by the World Health Organization. For fungal infections, epsom salt has a good amount of sulfur that is known to have antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. Simply add a few cups of epsom salt in a warm bath and rest in it for at least 30 minutes to completely nourish your entire skin, fight off fungus, and increase the levels of magnesium in your body. Afterwards, dry the infected areas and apply a few drops of virgin coconut oil and baking soda to further improve epsom salt’s antifungal effects.
Undoubtedly beneficial for the body especially to cardiovascular health, garlic is also an antifungal thanks to its ajoene content. Ajoene is a compound formed when allicin and alliinase meet, and this happens when garlic is crushed or chopped. Research has proven ajoene’s potency in fighting off fungal infections, but the exact mechanism as to how it does it remains unclear. Garlic is widely available as an ingredient in thousands of dishes, as supplements, and every market sells generous amounts of the herb. Health food stores sell different forms of garlic ranging from powdered, flakes, paste, and oil forms. Directly consuming garlic is a good option as well, provided that you are not sensitive to its unique flavor. For external use in fighting fungal infections, here is a step by step procedure on how to use garlic:
a. Apply a warm compress to the affected area to draw out the fungus and open the skin’s pores. This makes the procedure a lot more effective.
b. Put mashed garlic in a cotton gauze, wrap it in another gauze, and then tape it to the affected area. The size of the gauze and the mashed garlic depends on the infected area.
c. Replace the gauze every five hours, do not reuse the mashed garlic. Prepare another fresh mashed garlic clove for the new dressing.
d. For best results, consume garlic while doing this method so the fungus can be destroyed from both inside and outside your body.
6. Essential Oils
There are some essential oils that can help fight off fungal infections and prevent them from coming back, all without the nasty side effects as experienced in over the counter medication:
a. Lavender: For centuries, lavender oil has been used as medicine and perfume. The herb is a known antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral, making it quite effective in remedying many skin problems especially fungal infections. Simply apply a few drops of the oil on the affected areas and let it be absorbed. The oil has a fragrant scent, so there’s no worry of leaving a bad smell whenever you use it in a public place.
b. Oregano: Hailing from the Mediterranean’s higher altitude regions, the wild oregano plant is quite popular for its use as an antibiotic. The extract derived from the plant also bestows the same benefits. Carvacrol and thymol are two compounds found in oregano, both of which are powerful antimicrobials. Drinking oregano oil or directly applying to affected areas are the ways on how to utilize it against fungal infections.
c. Tea Tree Oil: Regarded as among the best antifungals nature has to offer, tea tree oil does its work slowly than the other essential oils, but it assures that future fungal outbreaks on your skin will no longer occur. Prior to use, it must be diluted first with other oils as tea tree oil is very acidic and may harm your skin when directly applied. Simply dab the diluted oil on affected areas at least three times every day until you are cured. Regular use will inevitably rid you of fungal infections, and it is potent enough to be effective against even the most notoriously resistant infections.
7. Olive Leaf Extract
Olives are used since the ancient times as a food source, and later on as medicine. Oleuropein, one of its ingredients, is noted for being an effective antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral. Extracts derived from olive leaves were subjected to trials, with results showing vast improvements in symptoms of various medical problems especially infections. Extracts can be bought in health stores, with the 250 and 500 mg doses being the recommended ones against fungal infections. Take the extract three times a day until the infection is gone.
The golden spice is noted for its incredible antioxidant properties due to its curcumin content. Studies performed recently have shown curcumin’s effectiveness in dealing with different fungi strains, and its efficacy was further improved when mixed with ascorbic acid. Aside from that, curcumin works in protecting your body from the dangers of free radicals, along with a number of other health benefits attributed to regular consumption. One way of deriving the benefits of curcumin is to include turmeric in your dishes. Learn Middle Eastern cuisine as it has the most recipes that use the spice. Aside from that, turmeric capsules and extracts are available in health stores, best taken after eating a curcumin-rich dish. Don’t forget the boost ascorbic acid adds to curcumin’s antifungal capabilities, so keep stock of vitamin C as well. Turmeric oil can be applied topically to affected areas, best done at night so it can sit as you sleep, and continue the practice until the fungus is gone. An added bonus to topical application is that turmeric improves while healing, leaving you with a fresher and smoother skin.
1. Aside from taking alternatives, there are some things you can do to avoid fungal infections in the first place:
a. Eat healthily. Foods rich in omega-3 and probiotics boost your immune system. Having a strong immune system protects you from fungi. Fish and fish oils, seafood, and certain seeds and nuts are rich in omega-3. Probiotics, or good bacteria, are found in yogurt, milk, and soft cheese. Avoid grains and sugary food as these are actually nourishing to fungi. Drink a lot of water, as dehydration compromises the immune system.
b. Make sure that your skin stays clean by constantly washing with soap and water. Thoroughly dry afterwards. If you are perspirant, try to change socks in the middle of the day to prevent your feet from getting moist. Areas such as your underarm, toes, and groin should always be kept dry as well.
c. Take extra precautions if you are always in a place with a lot of people. If you’re working as a nurse or teacher, or working out in a gym, never share clothes or any personal items to minimize the risk of being infected.
d. If you already have one, always resist the urge to scratch the affected area as it will just exacerbate the problem. Do not use the same towel after a shower or bath, do not share clothes or socks with anyone, and thoroughly clean the bathroom after using it.