Candida albicans is a prolific fungus commonly referred to as yeast. It lives in mucous membranes, intestines, the vaginal cavity and the rectum. Although it is not always harmful, an overgrowth of candida can cause yeast infections, sinus infections, skin rashes, thrush and digestive problems. As with any type of infection, it takes time to rid the body of yeast overgrowth. By following a few basic steps, including taking certain herbs and supplements, you can eliminate Candida albicans and combat future infections.
Eliminate sugary foods, especially processed flour and refined sugar, from your diet. The first step in eliminating candida and fighting a yeast infection is removing the fungus's main food source. This includes all candy, desserts, processed and packaged foods high in sugar or carbohydates, as well as colas and fruit juices with added sugar, corn syrup or other sweeteners. Although as a temporary measure it fights immediate infection, it is a good idea to decrease overall sugar consumption to prevent future outbreaks.
Take a daily probiotic supplement such as Lactobacillus acidophilus or Bifidobacterium bifidus to kill candida in the body. This simple step must be followed consistently to overcome the infection. Probiotics come in liquid and capsule form and can be found in the refrigerated section of your local natural health food store. As these supplements contain live bacteria, known as friendly flora, they should be kept refrigerated at all times and should be taken as directed. Yogurt and other dairy products also contain natural healthy bacteria, such as acidophilus, and can be part of the yeast-free diet.
Cleanse the infected area daily with either diluted goldenseal extract or tea tree oil. A few drops of either herb may be added to the bath, sitz bath or a douche. According to the Clayton College of Natural Health Herb Reference Guide, both goldenseal and tea tree oil naturally fight a number of fungi and bacteria, including Candida albicans. Herbalists use these plants as natural antibiotics and in the treatment of sinus infections, infections of mucous membranes, vaginal yeast infections and parasitic infections. Do not to take tea tree oil internally, as it may be toxic. Use it only on external infections such as thrush.
Take a daily supplement of vitamin C, B complex and a multivitamin containing a broad spectrum of trace minerals to nourish the immune system. In addition to feeding candida, a diet high in sugar and carbohydrates also depletes zinc, manganese, selenium, B vitamins and other nutrients that support immune function. This decreases the body's natural defenses against bacteria and fungi such as candida. Follow product directions or check with a health care professional for appropriate dosage.
Drink plenty of water each day, at least 6 to 8 8-oz. glasses. Water not only helps cleanse the body naturally, but is important for proper function of several body systems.
Always check with a health care professional before taking herbs or other supplements, especially if you are currently taking prescription medication. Natural supplements should be used in conjunction with and not in place of conventional medical care.