Many types of infections and other skin conditions caused by fungi are quite common and persistent; they are collectively called fungal infections. The infective fungi particle tend to prefer moist environments with little circulating air, even on the human body, even though they are quite capable of infecting any part of the mucous membranes or the skin. Some very common and typical kinds of fungal infections along with the areas they infect on the human body are athlete's foot which affects the callused areas of the feet, jock itch affecting the region of the groin, yeast infections are typical in the vagina and thrush affects the mouth. Some of the very typical symptoms and signs of an infection on the human body are the presence of a persistent itching sensation, an irritation and flaking of the skin, and on the skin itself eruptions from with raised borders. Very tiny, moist and red blisters result when flare-ups occur. The skin becomes very easy to peel off as it tends to become softened and this is commonly observed during infection by the fungi that causes athlete's foot. In cases where the fungus spreads underneath the nail, it may cause the appearance of softened white areas which may raise the nail bed, and in such circumstances fungal infection in the nails become extremely hard to eradicate.
Another common fungal infection is the ringworm, called by this name because of its circular appearance on the skin, it tends to appear as a red, scaly area that heals slowly from the inside of the ring outwardly, ringworm commonly infects on the region of the groin where it is moist, though it can and does infect all other areas of the body, including sometimes on the bearded facial areas and the scalp, this can bring on a condition of hair loss. These fungi can cause a vaginal yeast infection, if allowed to settle down on the regions of the mucous membranes, some of the characteristic symptoms in this condition are a lot of itching and irritation in the affected area. A white discharge which is quite creamy in constitution often comes with the infection. The candida fungus is responsible for thrush, in which the typical physical signs are with patches on mouth and the tongue.
Generally an underlying and sufficient susceptibility is often seen in persons infected by fungi, even though fungal infections by their very nature are highly contagious conditions and get passed on very easily. By their action of changing the normal acid balance on the skin's surface and thereby reducing its ability to resist, medications like antibiotics, cortisone and other oral contraceptives taken to treat something else are often followed by the arrival of a fungal infection after the course of treatment is done. The susceptibility to fungal infections can also rise from changes in hormonal levels in the body during pregnancy.
Cosmetics and many creams and perfumed products may change and disturb the acid-alkali balance in the skin and hence increase the likelihood of fungal infections developing on the skin. The action of a frequent bath may result in the lowering and complete removal of the natural and protective oils exuded by the skin; this can increase the chances of a fungal infection. The entire defenses of the skin can come crashing down if the health of the skin is neglected over a long period of time. The growth of fungi on the skin is also promoted and increased by the utilization of synthetic clothing that traps the dampness and hinders the circulation of air within. Recurring fungal infections seem to strike the elderly and people with all impaired immune system, in these cases the fungal infections becoming quite stubborn and are recurring; a systemic infection from candida can also easily begin.
Supplements and herbs
Supplements of the bacterium called Lactobacillus acidophilus restore and return the populations of friendly intestinal bacteria which are a normal complement of healthy bowels and intestines. The chances of fungal infection in the bowels and in the entire body are in general decreased by these bacteria which actively fight against fungal growth. This natural balance or the normal internal flora can be disturbed and disrupted by many drugs, including many antibiotics, the contraceptive pill and intestinal disturbances that arise due to other reasons. Resistance to infections in the body is reduced because this disruption often affects the absorption of B vitamins, an important component in the body's immune system function. Supplementation with the mineral zinc increases the resistance to fungal infection.
Natural fungicidal action is provided by the commonly available garlic and other natural products like the extracts of citrus seeds, these herbs contain compounds that can destroy the invading fungi. Consumption of these two natural supplements increases resistance to infection and reduces the overall susceptibility to fungal attack. For external and topical use, citrus seed extract is also available in spray or diluted form. Vitamins A, C and E should be added to the diet to bolster the immune system. Skin health and complexion is also aided by the vitamins A and E.
Skin infections caused by bacteria and fungi can be eradicated using many herbs and herbal remedies.
Some of the herbal and natural fungicides are herbs such as myrrh, the black walnut and the oil of the castor bean. There is very little to no side effects and these can eliminate most harmful bacteria and fungi infecting the body when they are used as consumable supplements. The aloe vera gel has anti parasitic properties, besides being good for cooling irritated skin when used topically. Topical treatments can also include the tying of an absorbent cotton cloth soaked in concentrated liquid whey, onto the affected area, and leaving this on, while sleeping. Such topical treatments should be continued and used while infection fades. The resistance of the skin itself is increased by the use of millet and silica which can supply an acid coating to the skin. Tea tree oil is both fungicidal as well as bactericidal. By adding about 5 drops of tea tree oil in water, a good topical ointment can be created. The affected area of the skin must not be moist and should be dried carefully, before applying a lotion or oil made from the tea tree, mixed with olive oil, a moist area in the skin is not conducive to absorbing the topical applications properly. Tea tree oil can be used for cleansing the body, by adding about 5-10 drops of tea tree oil to your regular shampoo and using soap made from the tea tree.
Additional things you may do
Make sure that at least two times a day you use calendula cream in a flax seed oil base a topical application on the affected area. Not sharing personal toilet items decreases the chances of infections being passed on from person to person, also make sure to change hair and toothbrushes regularly. Be wary around dogs and cats and other pets in general, as transmission of fungi from pets is very easy and common. Supplements used in cases of low hydrochloric acid secretions in the stomach may also be beneficial in the case of weakened nails due to fungal infections.
- Garlic, 3 capsules 3 times a day.
- Citrus seed extract, three capsules 3 times a day.
- Vitamin A, 25,000 IU, decrease after 6 months to 10,000 IU, (avoid during pregnancy).
- Vitamin B complex, 50 mg 3 times a day.
- Vitamin C, with bioflavonoids, 1,000 mg.
- Vitamin E, with mixed tocopherols, 400 IU.
- Zinc, 50 mg, with three mg copper.
- Lactobacillus acidophilus complex, three capsules or one tsp.
Other beneficial herbs
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- From Destain - Feb-19-2013
- Taking a clove of garlic everyday helps to fight against fungal infection.
- From Melissa - 2010
- Raw pumpkin seeds are effective as well as oregano oil. Diet is a major factor in healing. Avoid acidic foods such as tomatoes, citric and sugary fruits like bananas. One should eliminate all sugars and caffeine because fungi thrive on sugars and caffeine. Think of fungal infection in relation to baking bread. Yeast in the bread needs heat, moisture and sugar in order to make the bread rise just as in and on the body fungi (yeast) thrives when it has heat, moisture and sugar.
- From Rene Hinds - 2010
- It's interesting to me that lavender does not appear in this article as a remedy. I read that lavender is an antibiotic against Candida. I tried using lavender essential oil directly on a fungal infection, and after about 3 days, the infection went away.
- From Rachael - 2010
- My cat is on prednisolone for IBD. She has a black scab on the forehead, which the vets can't identify. I tried a home remedy for fungus, diluted apple cider vinegar. This seemed to almost immediately lessen the scab. Now I am using an 'over the counter' antifungal cream and it's only the second day and the scabs are falling off.