What Is A Fungal Infection?
From Modern Western Medicine
Fungal infections range widely in their severity and significance. Fungus is a form of plant life, often a single cell, which lacks chlorophyll. It includes yeast, molds, and mushrooms. Fungi are so ubiquitous that they are constantly in contact with the skin, mucus membranes, and tissues of the body. Most of these are harmless; some are mildly irritating; others are quite severe; and still others are lethal. Called mycoses, fungal infections are dealt with through the body’s immune system. They are most severe in people who have been taking antibiotics over a long period because antibiotics weaken immune response and kill off bacteria that destroy fungi in the body. Corticosteroid drugs and other immunosuppressive drugs also predispose people to fungal infections.
Common fungal infections include candidiasis, tinea (including ringworm and athlete’s foot), sporotrichosi, aspergillosis, histoplasmosis, cryptococcosis, and blastomycosis.
From Traditional Medicine
Fungal infections arise because of an impaired immune system. The immune response has been weakened by accumulated toxins that already exist within the lymph, liver, intestines, and spleen, which require ongoing protection by the immune cells. All natural remedies are designed to cleanse the system and boost immune response.
See Part IV for foods and lifestyle recommendations that promote immune response.
Foods to Eat
- Raw, saltless sauerkraut
- Chlorophyll-rich foods stop the spread of bacteria, fungi, and other micro-organism. Good sources are: barley grass and wheat grass (probably the most effective of all in treating yeast), parsley, kale, collards, dandelion greens, chard, watercress, romaine, lettuce, cabbage, and microalgae, such as spirulina, chlorella, and wild blue-green algae. Avoid taking these with juice.
- Seaweed contains selenium and many other minerals that rebuild immunity. Seaweed is rich in iodine, which was the preferred treatment for yeasts before antifungal drugs. Seaweeds are contraindicated when there is emaciation and loose stools because they are extremely cooling and cleansing.
- Raw garlic
Foods to Avoid
- Excess salt (it is good to eat seaweed and to put a little salt in with grains and beans)
Herbs to Treat Fungal Infections
- Citrus seed extract, a natural antibiotic, has been found to inhibit members of several classes of microbes and parasites, among them protozoa, amoebas, bacteria, viruses, and at least 30 different types of fungi, including the candida yeast-like fungi. It is available as a major ingredient in liquid extracts, capsules, sprays, ointments, and other forms.
- Pau d’arco excels in controlling candida. Use it with caution when there is weakness.
- Yerba mansa: for external use as tincture or ointment on fungal infections
- Bloodroot: external tincture for fungus
- Chaparral is especially good when candida has arisen because of overuse of antibiotics. Use for three weeks to draw out the residues resulting from antibiotic suppression of disease processes. Tincture, 10 – 20 drops, three times daily; infusion, steep 5 – 15 minutes, take 6 oz., three times daily; powder, 2 – 10 #0 capsules, three times daily.
- Burdock root
A healing remedy is to combine echinacea, burdock root, and dandelion as a decoction. Boil 3 cups of water, then lower the flame; add 1 tsp. of each herb and simmer for 10 minutes, turn off flame and steep for another 10 minutes. Drink 1 cup of tea.
- Ozone-generating machines have been shown to be effective in the treatment of systemic candidiasis. They have not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for medical use in the United States and as a result are being sold by individuals who cannot make claims for their medical benefits.
- Hydrogen peroxide is a remedy that occurs in nature as moisture interacts with ozone in the atmosphere. It is also found in the cells of the body and in foods that are raw and unprocessed, such as vegetables, grasses, and wild plants and herbs. This is taken internally. The peak dosage is usually 25 drops, three times daily, for up to three weeks; then the dosage is tapered at the same rate it was increased, to 15 drops, three times a say, until symptoms clear. Expert advice is recommended to tailor the dosage to individual needs. Food-grade 35% hydrogen peroxide must be used (obtain it in health food stores or order through Vital Health Products, P.O. Box 164, Muskego, WI 53150, or Lighthouse, P.O. Box 4315, Brownsville, TX 78520). The common drugstore variety has 3% hydrogen peroxide and may be used externally.