Several herbs and foods possess active ingredients with natural antifungal properties that prevent or treat excessive yeast growth in the human body. However, science still has not demonstrated the safety of most natural remedies, so choosing which preventive or treatment option is always best with caution.
It is always recommended to consult a medical professional or yeast infection advisor to discuss which options are most suitable for your unique case.
Top 10 Natural Remedies for Yeast Infections
Yeast infections can be prevented by consuming plain yogurt without adding any sweetener or those which contain live probiotic cultures. Probiotics are viable microorganisms that are utilized for health benefits, especially for a healthy digestive system. (1) Probiotic-rich foods assist in restoring the gut flora back to normal balance, promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria and killing the harmful ones. (2)
A recent study has proven that the ingestion of yogurt consisting of probiotics and Lactobacillus acidophilus helps suppress yeast overgrowth. (3) Another review of research has found that certain kinds of probiotics combat some yeasts that cause vaginal infection. (4) Other research has suggested that the probiotic Lactobacillus enhances the activity of antifungal medications consumed by women suffering from vaginal yeast infection. (5) Probiotic suppositories are also effective in treating vaginal yeast infections. (6)
Boric acid is a natural compound that has been found to have antifungal effects. It contains both antioxidants and probiotics to assist the body in restoring its reservoir of good bacteria. It has been proven in a clinical review that boric acid is a harmless alternative treatment for getting rid of yeast infections, particularly when conventional antifungal medication is ineffective. It is beneficial for women experiencing chronic yeast infections who have consumed prescribed antifungals many times. (7)
An effective remedy for vaginal yeast infections is boric acid vaginal suppositories, as boric acid has antiseptic properties. Although the use of these suppositories has been supported by research, (8) it has been concluded that they should only be utilized for hard to treat and recurrent yeast infections.
One of the essential oils known to have excellent health benefits is oregano oil. A study found that oregano oil can inhibit the activity and the growth of Candida albicans, one of the most common causative fungi causing vaginal yeast infections. (9) This study proved that oregano oil was more effective in fighting yeast overgrowth than the prescription antifungal drug clotrimazole. Similar findings were confirmed by another study which showed growth inhibition of Candida albicans . Another research study provides the same evidence of the effectiveness of oregano oil against Candida albicans.
Coconut oil is another excellent natural remedy that can inhibit the growth of yeasts in our bodies. A study has found that this oil can effectively retard the overgrowth of Candida albicans. (12) To benefit from coconut oil, it is applied to the affected area. Another study has shown that dissolving coconut oil in water was an efficacious antimicrobial agent. (13) This may be beneficial to prevent yeast infection as infections happen due to an imbalance of yeast and bacteria in the vagina.
Coconut oil can also be utilized as a carrier oil after warming. In addition, it can be used with other essential oils, which are more powerful in their antifungal properties, such as oil of oregano and tea tree oil.
Nowadays, coconut oil can be easily purchased online. However, certain products are used explicitly in cooking rather than on the skin, so comparing brands and various products is better before choosing an appropriate product.
Cranberry juice is beneficial in urinary tract infections as it prevents the formation of Candida albicans. (14) Although studies have not exhibited its benefit in curing Candida albicans in the vagina, some women have claimed to have excellent results. In addition, cranberry juice contains high amounts of vitamin C, which supports the prevention of yeast infections.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea Tree oil is another proven natural antifungal treatment effective against Candida albicans. A recent study has found that tea tree oil was efficacious in fighting fungal infections that exhibited resistance to antifungal medications. (15) Another review of research supports the fungicidal property of tea tree oil. (16) Suppositories that contain tea tree oil work effectively against vaginal yeast infections as it has been proven to be a superb fungicidal agent. (17)
Extreme caution needs to be exercised when using tea tree oil as it can irritate the skin, especially the walls of the vagina, which are very sensitive.
Tea tree oil is found in the essential oil category, and it needs to be mixed in a carrier oil. For best results, drop 3-5 drops of tea tree oil in an ounce of warm coconut oil. A tampon can be soaked and inserted inside the vagina as well. However, the tampon must be changed regularly.
Tea tree oil can also cause allergic reactions. Hence, it’s essential to test diluted oil on a small area on the forearm before use. If there is no allergic reaction in 12 to 24 hours, then it can be considered safe to use on the genital area, which is more sensitive.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar prevents and treats the excessive growth of bacteria and yeast in our body as it has both antimicrobial and antifungal properties. A study has found that apple cider vinegar delays the growth of Candida albicans. In fact, many yeast infections which are unresponsive to conventional treatment options can be treated effectively with apple cider vinegar.
There are many medicinal uses of vinegar, as proven by research. When a half cup of apple cider vinegar is added to a lukewarm bathtub, and you soak for about 20 minutes, the acidic component present in vinegar aids in eliminating any harmful microorganisms along with yeast.
Garlic possesses antifungal properties and has shown effectiveness in reducing the number of yeast cells in the course of yeast infection. Garlic and garlic oil possess well-known antifungal properties. Studies have even proven their antifungal activity against Candida albicans. Another study has proven the effectiveness of garlic as a Candida killer.
Although research has examined the results of utilizing a solution of garlic on sores inside the mouth was found to delay the number of Candida albicans, it was not as effective as using nystatin, an antifungal medication.
If one wants to try garlic to treat yeast infection, this product must be added to the diet. Certain websites recommend the insertion of garlic in the vagina for treating yeast infections, but burning and remarkable pain sensations have been reported. However, some women do use garlic internally. They claimed to experience yeast infection relief when they placed the garlic clove overnight with a string threaded to it inside the vagina. Unfortunately, there is no scientific evidence to say that it is effective. However, it can be considered a low-risk home remedy for the treatment of yeast infection. In addition, a vaginal cream consisting of thyme and garlic was found to be as effective as vaginal cream containing clotrimazole in treating infections.
Vitamin C is an excellent booster of the immune system and plays a significant role in healthy skin. One of the superb ways to bring the body back to its natural balance is to build a strong immune system.
Vitamin C is also called ascorbic acid and consists of antimicrobial components, so the addition of vitamin C in the diet helps treat excessive growth of Candida.
Vitamin C has outstanding antifungal and antimicrobial effects and can be consumed orally as a remedy for fighting yeast infections. Vitamin C can be taken by eating citrus fruits and leafy greens or by consuming vitamin C supplements. Increasing the intake of vitamin C boosts the ability of the body to beat yeast infections. However, the application of acidic vitamin C should be avoided on the sensitive tissues of the vagina.
Another essential oil for treating Candida albicans is Lemongrass essential oil. Its vapors can also be inhaled easily for amazing results. A study has proven the effectiveness of the vapor method in treating the excessive growth of yeast. This oil should be avoided internally as it is toxic and can only be used internally under the supervision of qualified healthcare professionals. This oil has a strong anti-inflammatory property, so reducing inflammation helps reduce itching and burning associated with yeast infections.
Some doctors recommend vitamin E to treat certain kinds of vaginitis. According to studies, it has been found that vitamin E helps reduce inflammation in infections with Candida albicans in the lab. When the body is dealing with a yeast infection, keeping it healthy with a sufficient intake of important vitamins is vital.
When treating a vaginal yeast infection with vitamin E, a vitamin E or vitamin E oil suppository is an effective remedy. They can be utilized once or twice a day for 3 to 14 days to soothe the mucous membranes of the vulva and vagina.