Natural Remedies for Candida

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The yeast Candida albicans is a yeast that normally lives harmlessly in small numbers in the body, controlled by beneficial bacteria in the body and the immune system.

According to some alternative medicine practitioners, an intestinal overgrowth of Candida albicans  may result in Candida overgrowth or "yeast syndrome" and associate the condition with symptoms such as fatigue, headache, mood swings, cravings for sweets and poor memory. This condition, popularized by William Crook, MD in his 1983 book, The Yeast Connection, is considered very controversial.

A candida cleanse diet is recommended by some alternative medicine practitioners based on the theory that certain foods such as sugar, flour (particularly white flour), yeast and cheese promote the growth of candida.

Natural Remedies For Candida:

Some alternative practitioners recommend individualized programs that usually combine diet and supplements. Supplements are typically introduced gradually to avoid a temporary worsening of symptoms called a "die-off" or Herxheimer reaction. This is because when candida is killed, some alternative medicine practitioners believe that they release protein fragments and toxins that can trigger an antibody response from the immune system.

So far, there is a lack of evidence supporting the diagnosis or the claim that any diet or remedy can treat this condition. As a result, conventional medical doctors often doubt the validity of this condition. If you are experiencing symptoms, it's important to talk with your primary care provider. It's important to note that self-treating with supplements, diet, and other forms of alternative medicine and avoiding or delaying standard care may be harmful to your health. 

1) Acidophilus

According to some alternative medicine practitioners, the bacteria acidophilus may help control candida by making the intestinal tract more acidic, discouraging the growth of candida, and by producing hydrogen peroxide, which directly kills candida.

Although there is some research suggesting that the hydrogen peroxide-producing strain of acidophilus, DDS-1 may help to reduce the incidence of yeast infections, more evidence is needed before probiotics can be recommended. 

2) Fiber

Some alternative medicine practitioners suggest taking soluble fiber such as guar gum, psyllium husks, flax seeds or pectin with plenty of water.

3) Enteric-coated essential oils

Enteric-coated capsules containing oregano oil, peppermint oil, and other volatile oils are thought by some alternative medicine practitioners to prevent the overgrowth of candida. Pure volatile oils can be quite toxic in this amount so the liquid form of these oils should never be ingested, and the capsules should not be broken open before ingesting.

4) Enteric-coated garlic

Some alternative medicine practitioners suggest garlic, either alone or in combination with enteric-coated peppermint or oregano oil.  

Other supplements typically recommended are caprylic acid from coconuts, oleic acid from olive oil, oregano oil, and pau d'arco. There are many combination products marketed for candida that contain these herbs and supplements.

5) Diet

Some alternative medicine practitioners consider diet to be an important part of a Candida cleanse. According to some practitioners, the length of time on the Candida cleanse depends on the nature of the symptoms and a person's health. They generally recommend giving the diet at least two weeks, but possibly months for some. When there is an improvement, foods from the restricted list are typically incorporated back into the diet. Some sample lists and guidelines that an alternative medicine practitioner might recommend to his/her client:

Limit daily carbohydrate intake - According to some alternative medicine practitioners, dietary sugar promotes intestinal Candida overgrowth, so they suggest to some that they reduce the carbohydrate content of one's diet. During the first 2 to 3 weeks of the program, carbohydrate intake may be restricted to 20 to 60 grams per day, depending on age, health, activity level, and extent of grain sensitivities. As symptoms disappear, the carbohydrate total is gradually increased. Foods that are low carb include protein foods such as meat, chicken, turkey, shellfish, some nuts, and non-starchy vegetables.

6) Environmental/Lifestyle

Practitioners usually suggest avoiding alcohol and smoking. 



According to some alternative medicine practitioners, symptoms of yeast syndrome may include:

  • Tired or lethargic
  • Poor memory
  • Feel drained, depleted or exhausted
  • Numbness, burning, tingling
  • Stomach pain
  • Joint pain or swelling
  • Muscle aching or weakness
  • Constipation, diarrhea, bloating, gas, or belching
  • Bothersome or persistent vaginal itching, burning, or discharge
  • Prostatitis
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Loss of sexual desire
  • Endometriosis or infertility
  • Menstrual irregularity or cramping
  • Anxiety attacks or crying
  • Cold hands and feet, feel chilly
  • Irritable or shaking when hungry

Using Natural Remedies

If you're experiencing symptoms, make sure to consult your primary care provider rather than self-treating or delaying standard care. Allowing symptoms to go untreated may lead to serious health consequences.

As with any supplements, the supplements mentioned in this article haven't been tested for safety in pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and those with medical conditions or who are taking medications. You can get tips on using supplements safely here, but should always speak with your primary care provider before using supplements or alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.

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Article Sources
  • Crook, WG. The Yeast Connection: A Medical Breakthrough. Jackson, Tenn., Professional Books, 1983, 1984, 1986.
  • Martin, Jeanne Marie and Rona, Zoltan P. The Complete Candida Yeast Guidebook. Rocklin, California:Prima Books, 1996.