Nystatin is an antifungal medication that’s used to treat infections caused by fungus or yeast. For example, it can be used to treat oral thrush, a type of yeast infection that develops on the mucous membranes of the mouth.
How does it work? By making interfering with the cell wall. More specifically, it’ll create holes in the membrane; this will cause the contents to leak out, which will kill the fungus.
And the drug comes in several forms. For example, you can get it as a cream or ointment (it’s sometimes mixed with antibiotics and other ingredients). There’s also a liquid that you can take by mouth. At the end of the day, it all depends on where the fungal infection is. Keep in mind, however, that they all require a prescription.
As far as side effects go, it depends on the form you’re taking. For example, the oral suspension can cause mouth irritation, nausea, vomiting, stomach upset, or diarrhea. The cream, on the other hand, can cause skin irritation or redness.
Are there any natural alternatives to Nystatin? The answer is yes. In fact, that’s what we’ll be going over below. Keep reading to find out what they are!
1. Baking Soda
Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) may act as a disinfectant against Candida, the fungus that’s responsible for oral thrush. Not only will it kill the yeast, but it’ll help maintain healthy pH levels in the mouth as well.
While it’s not the most effective way to treat fungal infections, researchers have determined that it’s a “viable alternative.”
The best part? It’s easy to use and most of us already have some in the kitchen. Simply mix 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda in a cup of warm water. Stir until the powder is dissolved and swish it around in your mouth for 30 seconds. Rinse with water afterward.
Alternatively, you can create a paste. For this method, you want to mix 1-2 tablespoons of baking soda with water; you should end up with a thick paste. Apply it onto a cotton ball and place it on your tongue or inner cheeks. Allow it to sit for a couple of minutes before rinsing your mouth with water. Do not swallow.
Yogurt contains probiotics aka “good bacteria”, which may help treat oral thrush. While they won’t kill the yeast per se, they will stop its growth; this will allow the body to restore the proper balance of good and bad bacteria in the mouth.
Another great thing about yogurt is that it’s soft and easy to eat. This makes it a great choice for those with painful mouth or throat lesions.
For the best results, eat it at the first sign of oral thrush (twice a day). And try to choose an unsweetened variety (Candida thrives on sugar so it can actually make things even worse)
If you want, you can even make your own yogurt. All you need is some milk and a yogurt starter. Start by heating the milk to 180F; that’ll kill any microbes that are lurking in the liquid. Let it cool down to 115F and add your yogurt starter aka the “good” bacteria. Once you’ve done that, stir it all together. Pour it into jars and let it incubate for at least 7 hours and you’re good to go (the longer you incubate the yogurt, the thicker it’ll be).
For those who don’t like yogurt, you can always take a probiotic supplement instead. If anything, you’ll get the same benefits. Just make sure to pick one that contains at least 1 billion colony forming units (CFUs). It should also contain multiple strains such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Saccharomyces boulardii.
Turmeric is a spice that’s native to Southeast Asia. It contains curcumin, a powerful compound that’s known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Not just that, but studies have shown that it may also be used to treat oral thrush (it’s effective against both albicans and non-albicans species of Candida). You can also combine it with black pepper for a stronger effect (black pepper contains piperine, a compound that helps the body absorb turmeric).
For example, you can create “golden milk” by mixing 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric paste (homemade* or store-bought) with a cup of milk or filtered water. If you want, you can also add a dash of black pepper. Heat the liquid over medium heat in a saucepan until it’s warm and swish the mixture throughout your mouth while you drink it.
*How to make turmeric paste: In a small saucepan, combine 1/2 cup of ground turmeric with 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of black pepper, and 1 teaspoon of fresh ginger (grated), 1/4 cup of coconut oil, and 1 cup of water. Cook over medium heat until the oil has melted and transfer the paste into an airtight jar. For maximum freshness, store the paste in the fridge.
4. Clove Oil
Clove oil contains eugenol, an anti fungal agent that may be used to treat oral thrush. In fact, animal studies have shown that it’s just as effective as antifungal medications. However, research on humans is limited. With that said, it’s likely safe if used as an adjunct to conventional therapy.
For example, you can take it as a dietary supplement. You can also make a clove mouth rinse. To do that, steep one teaspoon of whole ground cloves in one cup of boiling water for 5-10 minutes. Strain the liquid and swish it around your mouth for 30 to 60 seconds and spit it out.
Another option is to make a clove oil salve. All you need is a carrier oil such as coconut oil. Mix a few drops of clove oil with the carrier and apply it to the white patches in your mouth. Keep in mind, however, that it can cause numbing, burning, or tingling in some people.
Clove oil tea is beneficial as well. Simply add 1 to 2 drops of clove oil to warm water (it’s important that you dilute the oil as it’s quite strong). For the best results, drink it 2 to 3 times a day. You can also mix it with other essential oils such as rosemary oil or grapefruit oil. If anything, that’ll make your tea taste even better.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has anti fungal properties against Candida, according to in vitro studies. At the very least, it’s been found to lower the number of fungi in a lab setting. Not only that, but it may also kill harmful bacteria. For example, it can be used as an alternative treatment for those with denture stomatitis.
And there are several ways that you can use it. For example, you can mix it with water. More specifically, you want to mix one teaspoon of raw apple cider vinegar with one cup of water. Swish the solution through your mouth for 15 to 30 seconds and spit it out.
Avoid rinsing your mouth with undiluted apple cider vinegar as it can cause burning and stinging.
If you want, you can also add it to foods. For example, you can add the apple cider vinegar to homemade salad dressings. You can also add it to bathwater (approx. 1-2 cups); that may help prevent fungal infections.
Supplements are also available in the form of capsules, liquids, and dummies.
Note: Apple cider vinegar is generally considered safe, however, its acidic properties may wear down tooth enamel, which can lead to tooth sensitivity and pain.
6. Oregano Oil
Oregano oil is typically used to flavor foods. It contains two active ingredients: carvacrol and thymol—volatile oils that have anti fungal and antimicrobial abilities. According to one study conducted on mice, they are effective against Candida albicans. However, more research is needed to understand its full effects on humans.
To use, it combine 2-3 drops of oregano oil with one cup of warm water. Mix the liquid and swish it throughout your mouth for 30 to 60 seconds before spitting it out. Never use undiluted oregano oil as it can burn the mucous membranes of the mouth. And make sure that the oregano you purchase is organic and chemical-free.
It’s also available as a capsule for those who are not a fan of its taste. For the best results, take it twice a day with meals. Keep in mind, however, that it can cause stomach upset. To prevent that, it’s recommended that you take the capsule with plenty of water.
Never use oregano oil on the genitals or in the eyes; it can cause intense burning.
7. Lemon Juice
Lemon juice is believed to have antifungal and antiseptic abilities. It’s also safe, which makes it a suitable option for those who are looking for an alternative treatment.
According to a small study, it’s more effective for oral thrush than other home remedies such as gentian violet. More research is needed, however, due to the size of the study.
For example, you can apply lemon juice directly to the lesions in your mouth. Due to its acidic properties, however, it can cause burning and irritation. To prevent that, you can use it as a mouth rinse. Simply add the lemon juice to one cup of cool or warm water. Swish it around in your mouth for 30 seconds before spitting it out. You can also drink the liquid (we recommend adding a bit of honey for taste).
8. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti fungal properties. It’s also gentle and safe, which makes it a suitable treatment.
As it is, the best way to use coconut oil is to swish it in your mouth. Simply place one tablespoon of the oil in your mouth and swish for 10 to 15 minutes (the oil will melt as soon as you put it in your mouth). For the best results, avoid eating or drinking for 30 minutes afterward.
You can also apply it topically for skin yeast infections. Just rub a small amount onto the affected area.
In some cases, it can also be used to treat vaginal yeast infections. Keep in mind, however, that it can be challenging to apply (it does not come with an applicator like conventional methods). A possible workaround is to lightly coat a tampon with the oil. Once it’s inserted, the coconut oil will be applied to the affected area. Before using it vaginally, however, it’s best to check with your doctor.
Garlic contains a compound called allicin, which has antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. And all you have to do is chew on a raw garlic clove, ideally once or twice a day. You can also use it to spice up your food. That can help prevent yeast overgrowth.
Garlic paste (blended garlic puree) is another option. One study has shown that it’s just as effective as anti fungal medications in suppressing oral thrush when used topically.
Keep in mind, however, that it can cause burning. Given that, it’s best to start with a small piece before using more.