Fungus is an organism that thrives in many different types of environments. You’ll find them in the air, soil, and water. Fungi also live in plants and even in the human body. When it comes to the human body, it’s handy to know what kind of antifungal herbs are available to you.
Even though only about half of them are harmful, the ones that are can lead to major problems. When a harmful fungus spore lands on your skin — or you inhale one — it could cause a fungal infection.
Now, a fungal infection can be stubborn, and extremely difficult to eliminate. In fact, millions of people suffer from fungal infections of some sort.
Whether it’s ringworm, athlete’s foot, or something else, these infections can be maddeningly frustrating and incredibly embarrassing.
Signs of a Fungal Infection
There are several types of fungal infections. Athlete’s foot and yeast infections are two of the more common ones.
Athlete’s foot symptoms include cracking or peeling skin, as well as blisters and/or redness in the area of the skin that has been affected. Your skin may also sting, itch, burn, or even peel away.
Yeast infection symptoms include pain or burning during intercourse of urination as well as swelling and itching in the area near the vagina.1 Yeast infections can also affect the skin and mucus membranes.2
But you might want to explore natural remedies for these kinds of problems rather than rely on powerful drugs.
For instance, you can check out the fungal fighting abilities of these naturally antifungal herbs –
Turmeric is one of strongest antifungal herbs you’ll find. It’s known more as a staple in Indian cuisine, but it has medicinal properties as well. The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin. Research shows that curcumin may be more effective than prescription drugs in fighting athlete’s foot and other types of fungal infections.3
Olive Leaf Extract
Olive leaf extract is another of the powerful antifungal herbs. It’s particularly effective in fighting a dangerous type of yeast known as candida. The candida yeast causes candidiasis, which occurs when a candida overgrowth occurs in the intestinal tract. A specific strain of candida, known as Candida albicans, causes vaginal yeast infections. When candida enters the bloodstream, it can lead to yeast infections in other parts of the body.4
Olive leaf extract has been shown to prevent a type of candida infection known as oral thrush.5 This condition, also known as oral candidiasis, results in white lesions inside the inner cheeks or on the tongue. It can also spread to the tonsils, back of the throat, gums, and roof of the mouth. While oral thrush is usually relatively minor, it can be severe in people who have a compromised immune system.
You might think that garlic is just a delicious addition to food. But this incredible herb is also great for fighting some fungus problems, thanks to a compound called ajoene. In addition, garlic has also been shown to fight parasites, as well as harmful bacteria.7
Tea Tree Oil
The tea tree, which is native to Australia, contains oil that can help be effective in fighting fungus. Tea tree oil has been shown to inhibit the growth of many variations of the candida yeast, as well as protect against fungal skin infections. It may even help to clear up dandruff.8
If you’ve ever bitten into a clove, you know how strong its taste can be. But cloves are also considered antifungal herbs. They’ve been shown to fight not only candida but also other dangerous microbes, such as staphylococcus, streptococcus, and salmonella.9
Clove oil also shows promise in helping to fight athlete’s foot infections.10
If you have a problem caused by a fungus, you might also want to consider trying a popular herb known as goldenseal. This herb contains a compound known as berberine, which, according to research, has potent antifungal properties, making this another one of the antifungal herbs.11
Oregano Leaf Oil
Oregano is another herb more closely associated with cooking than potential health benefits. But oregano leaf oil has been shown to be effective in fighting certain candida strains that have proven resistant to prescription medications.12
Calendula is a antifungal herb that has been used around the world for its special properties. It’s also known as pot marigold, as well as Scottish marigold.
Calendula has been studied extensively, and researchers have found that the herb not only helps to fight fungi, it also has antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties.13
In fact, calendula has been proven to be effective in helping to eliminate oral problems, such as gingivitis and plaque.14
And you thought spearmint was only an ingredient in your favorite chewing gum. This is yet another herb that is renowned for its antifungal properties. Spearmint oil, for example, is used to help preserve food by inhibiting the development of mold.15
Never heard of this herb? You’re definitely not alone. But if you or a loved one has an issue caused by a fungus, you might want to familiarize yourself with it.
Neem is known to stimulate the immune system, providing it with an extra boost to help fight overgrowth of fungi. This herb is also used in topical products to help kill skin fungus.16
How to Avoid Fungal Infections
There are some things you can do to prevent fungal infections. For example, you can reduce your chances of developing athlete’s foot by making sure your feet stay cool, dry, and, most importantly, clean.
Try to avoid wearing plastic shoes. Opt instead for shoes that can breathe, such as those made from leather. Also, change your socks at least once a day.
If you do develop an infection, however, make sure you address it as soon as you can. This will reduce the chances of it spreading to someone else in your home.17
One Last Word
Most of the time, fungal infections are no more than an annoyance. As long as you take the steps necessary to address the issue, an infection will typically not amount to anything serious.
But if it starts to become severe, you need to see your doctor as soon as possible. Get medical attention before the infection grows out of control and causes major problems.
You should also speak to your doctor before using any of the herbs mentioned above. While they are typically safe, you still need to make sure you’re not allergic.
You’ll also need to make sure they won’t interact negatively with any medications you might be taking. Check with your doctor first to stay on the safe side.
Learn More About Herbs:
Tastiest ‘Weight Loss’ Herbs (+ how to use them in food & drinks)
The 8 Incredible Health Benefits of Indian Cuisine
Gynostemma Pentaphyllum: Why it’s Such a Powerful Herb for Your Health
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