Yeast infections are becoming more common, especially in women who use the contraceptive pill or who are pregnant – possibly due to increased oestrogen levels.
The tiny yeast that causes such a problem is called Candida albicans. This yeast is human-friendly and is naturally found in the mouth, vagina, skin and intestinal tract. Problems arise when there is an overgrowth of this particular yeast which begins to dominate other friendly flora. A major disrupting factor is antibiotic use (which can effectively wipe the colon clean of much of its beneficial flora). Candida appears to have the ability to “take over” from other beneficial flora such as acidophilus, possibly when these levels are lower than they could be.
Candida can manifest locally such as in between the toes with athlete’s foot or as vaginal candida (thrush). Or it can really overwhelm the subtle and natural immune defences of the body and move from the gut into the bloodstream. This form of systemic candida causes a bewildering number of symptoms. Resolving this level of candida overgrowth is complex and requires skilled intervention. We recommend that you work with trained practitioners and nutritionists. You can seek a practitioner in your area through the websites of The Association of Master Herbalists and The College of Naturopathic Medicine.
Foods & herbs for the home
- Avoid eating and drinking foods that contain antibiotics. Many meats, eggs, dairy products and farmed fish may have antibiotic residue in them. By choosing organic meat and wild fish you can reliably avoid these. Also try to eat organic vegetables and fruit if at all possible.
- Sugar is attractive to candida – this is its favourite food source. Avoid all forms of sugar for a period of 2 weeks to 'starve' the yeast and then have occasional fruit.
- Consume no fruit juice or alcohol initially because the concentration of sugar is too high. Instead drink fresh lemon juice in water.
- Eat food with plenty of uncooked, cool spices and herbs. Do not eat cooked chillies or other 'hot' foods. The 'heat' will be attractive to the yeast.
- Include lots of garlic as it will decrease yeast levels. Include 3-4 whole cloves of garlic daily if possible, which are either added to cooked food or taken raw in salads or drinks. You can download Jill Davies' book on "Garlic" for free and learn more about the benefits.
- Cut out all yeasty or fermented foods, i.e. Marmite and other yeast-based spreads and sauces. Superfood Plus contains a form of non-active yeast that has been heat treated to destroy any candida-promoting elements but the heat has no effect on the exceptionally high nutrient content of the other foods in it.
- Avoid all refined carbohydrates – that is, any white flour products and other processed junk food. White flour in particular acts just like sugar and this will promote candida.
- Highly diluted Tea Tree essential oil is anti-fungal and can be used to treat external fungus. Dilute it well because if you use this neat on delicate tissue the tea tree will cause deep and angry flesh burns. Dilute 5ml of tea tree oil to 250ml of safflower or olive oil or add it to 250ml of aloe vera gel. You may prefer to add 5ml of Lavender essential oil to aloe vera gel for its soothing properties. A few drops of lavender essential oil added to the bath will also help. Afterwards cover the area in organic rosehip oil to heal, de-flame and soothe.
- Oral contraceptives can upset the micro-organism balance in the body. Ensure that you use alternative contraception should you decide this may be a cause.
- Probiotics can help to repopulate the bowel with beneficial bacteria capable of overpowering the fungus. Choose a reputable brand and complete the course.
- Take hot and cold showers – always finish with cold water. Never go to bed straight after a hot bath – only after a cold shower.
- Avoid washing your hair in the bath (use the shower instead) so that shampoos etc. do not sit in the bath water and upset the delicate environment of the vagina.
- Get plenty of sleep and use cotton sheets and night clothes to keep you cool. Under-bedding and quilts should also be of natural fibres as these let air through and are better able to allow the escape of moisture.
- Always use cotton-based tampons and sanitary towels to encourage better oxygen flow.
- Sometimes the bowel needs a little extra support if its micro flora is out of balance. The food herbs in IntestAble Capsules and ColoClear Capsules are a useful adjunct and you can ask for a sample.
- A longer period of colon work is possible using Bowel Detox Kits.
- Or you can learn more about the colon by downloading a free book by Dr Richard Schulze called "5-Day Bowel Detox”.
Additional help is available by phoning the free product advice line at Herbs Hands Healing between the hours of 9.00am to 1.00pm. Tel: 01379 608201.
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