Fungi spores are so tiny that you don’t notice when you inhale them or they land on your skin. But once they begin to reproduce and show themselves as athlete’s foot, yeast infections or skin rash, you’re painfully aware that your body is hosting a fungal infiltration. Topical creams containing powerful, natural ingredients like tea tree oil can help, while severe fungal infections may need to be combated with prescription medication. Herbal teas may also provide complementary therapy when used in conjunction with topical creams and oral medicine.
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Green tea is popular for its antioxidant properties. But the tea is also recommended for anti-fungal characteristics. It also helps ease swelling, a useful trait for skin rashes that come with inflammation. The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends either taking between 250 to 500 milligrams of green tea a day in capsule form, or drinking it as a tea. Each cup of tea delivers about 50 to 150 milligrams of antioxidants.
Black and oolong teas are harvested from the same plant as the green tea, Camellia sinesis. These teas also contain the group of antioxidant plant compounds known as catechins that are associated with anti-fungal use. A 2007 study in the journal “Molecular Nutrition and Food Research” showed that these catechins helped protect the body against several kinds of bacteria and viruses, as well as the fungus that causes vaginal yeast infections and fungal skin infections. The process of fermentation that sets green, black and oolong teas apart has different effects on the leaves’ plant compounds. The journal called for more research to determine if some kinds of tea were more effective than others at combating fungal, bacterial and viral predators.
Pau D'arco Bark
Pau d'arco bark’s anti-fungal properties may be useful for fungal problems such as a yeast infection, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Buy the tea from a reputable supplier, because the bark does not always yield medicinal properties when brewed. UMMC recommends three to six cups of pau d'arco tea each day to protect your body against fungus. Use 2 tablespoons of the bark for each quart of boiled water. For vaginal yeast infections, the cooled tea can double as douche, notes UMMC.
Home remedies for yeast infections include eating yogurt, douching with vinegar, applying a cream with tea tree oil or using a boric acid or garlic vaginal suppository. These treatments remain anecdotal, rather than scientifically proven. Vinegar soaks are also traditional cures for nail fungus.
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: Fungal Infections
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Candidiasis
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Nail Disorders
- American Association for Clinical Chemistry: Fungal Infection Types
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Green Tea
- Molecular Nutrition and Food Research: Overview of Antibacterial, Antitoxin, Antiviral, and Antifungal Activities of Tea Flavonoids and Teas