Fungi are microorganisms that are present everywhere, both indoors and outdoors. In fact, there are more than 50,000 different species of fungi in the environment.
There are many fungi that can live on your skin for years without causing any problem. However, at times certain factors can cause fungi to overgrow or change, and this can lead to a fungal infection.
Fungal infections are usually categorized by the type of fungi causing the problem, the affected body part and the severity of the infection. These infections can occur on the surface of your skin, within a skin fold or on any other area that is warm and humid and cause intense itching.
Some common types of fungal infections are athlete’s foot, jock itch, ringworm that can affect any part of the skin as well as scalp, onychomycosis that affects the nails and nail beds, and candidiasis that can infect the mouth, vagina, and urinary tract. The severity of a fungal infection may vary from person to person.
Several factors can contribute to acquiring a fungal infection including a side effect of antibiotics, a weakened immune system, diabetes, poor hygiene, living in a warm environment, poor blood circulation, a skin injury and coming in contact with someone who is infected.
Anybody can get a fungal infection, and in today’s active lifestyle, they are fairly common. Some simple herbal remedies can destroy the fungi causing the infection as well as reduce the intensity of the symptoms.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for a fungal infection.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a common treatment for any kind of fungal infection. Due to the presence of antimicrobial properties, apple cider vinegar helps kill the fungus causing the infection. Plus, its mild acidic nature helps prevent the infection from spreading and promotes speedy recovery.
- Mix two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in one cup of warm water and drink it twice daily.
- Another option is to dilute apple cider vinegar with an equal amount of water, and then apply it externally on the affected skin. Leave it on for 30 minutes. You can even soak the infected skin area in this solution for 30 minutes. When done, pat dry the area thoroughly with a towel or dryer.
You can use any of these remedies until you get rid of the infection.
2. Plain Yogurt
For treating a fungal infection, you can use plain, unsweetened yogurt with live, active cultures. The probiotics present in plain yogurt can keep the growth of fungi in check by producing lactic acid.
- Soak cotton in plain yogurt and apply it on the infected area. Leave it on for 30 minutes, and then rinse it off with warm water and pat dry. Follow this remedy two times a day until the infection clears.
- In case of vaginal infection, dip a tampon in yogurt and insert it in the vagina for two hours. Do this twice a day.
- Also, make plain yogurt a part of your daily diet. Eat two to three cups of plain yogurt daily until the infection is gone completely.
Garlic is a useful antifungal agent and hence very effective for any type of fungal infection. It also has antibacterial and antibiotic properties that play a key role in the recovery process.
- Crush two garlic cloves and add a few drops of olive oil to make a paste. Apply the paste on the affected areas and leave it on for 30 minutes. Then wash the area with lukewarm water and pat dry the skin thoroughly. Follow this treatment twice daily until you get rid of the infection.
- To treat a fungal infection in the vagina, wrap one garlic clove in gauze and put it in the vagina for not more than 30 minutes. Use this treatment once daily for several days.
- You can also add a few garlic cloves to your food to speed up the healing process of any fungal infection. You can even take garlic supplements, but only after consulting your doctor.
4. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil has natural antifungal compounds that help kill the fungi that cause fungal infections. Plus, its antiseptic qualities inhibit the spread of the infection to other body parts.
- Mix together equal amounts of pure tea tree oil and olive oil or sweet almond oil. Apply this solution on the affected skin area several times a day.
- You can also prepare a mixture with three parts of tea tree oil and one part of aloe vera gel. Rub the mixture on the infected area twice daily.
- For a vaginal infection, place a few drops of tea tree oil on a tampon and insert it into your vagina for two to three hours. Repeat twice daily.
All these remedies must be followed for several weeks.
Note: Pregnant women should not use tea tree oil remedies.
5. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil works as an effective remedy for any type of fungal infection due to the presence of medium-chain fatty acids. These fatty acids work as natural fungicides to kill the fungi responsible for the infection.
- Gently rub extra-virgin coconut oil on the affected area and allow it to dry on its own. Repeat two or three times daily until the infection clears up.
- Mix equal amounts of coconut oil and cinnamon oil and apply it on the affected area. Follow this remedy twice daily to control the growth of the infection.
- For a vaginal infection, soak a tampon in organic coconut oil and insert it in the vagina. Leave it in for two hours. After removing the tampon, rinse the area thoroughly with lukewarm water. Repeat the process once daily until the infection is gone.
The tannins in tea can help kill the fungi responsible for fungal infections. Plus, tea has antibiotic and astringent properties that help get rid of the symptoms of a fungal infection like the burning sensation, swelling and skin irritation.
- Soak a few tea bags in warm water for 10 minutes. Remove them from the water, and put them in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Apply the cold tea bags on the affected area. Repeat this remedy three times daily until the infection clears up completely.
- For toenail fungus or athlete’s foot, steep five black tea bags in four cups of boiling water for five minutes. Allow the water to cool and then soak the affected foot in it for 30 minutes. Repeat twice daily for five to six weeks.
7. Oregano Oil
Oregano oil contains antifungal properties that fight the fungi responsible for fungal infections. Also, its antimicrobial property can be effective in preventing fungal infections.
- Mix equal amounts of oregano oil and extra-virgin olive oil. Apply this mixture on the affected area and leave it on for a few hours.
- Alternatively, you can add three drops of oregano oil to a glass of water and drink it twice daily.
- You can also take one or two capsules of oregano oil twice a day after eating your meals.
Follow any of these treatments regularly until you get the desired result.
Note: Always use the type of oregano oil that does not contain alcohol.
8. Olive Leaf
Olive leaf contains antifungal as well as antimicrobial properties that help kill fungi. Plus, it makes the immune system strong, which helps in faster recovery.
- Grind a few olive leaves to make a paste. Apply it directly on the affected area. Leave it on for 30 minutes, rinse it off with warm water and pat dry the skin thoroughly. Follow this remedy once or twice daily until the infection is gone.
- You can also drink two to three cups of olive leaf tea daily for faster recovery. To make the tea, steep one or two teaspoons of crushed and dried olive leaves in a cup of boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes. Strain and enjoy your tea.
Turmeric is a well-known natural antiseptic, antibiotic and antifungal agent. Plus, its healing properties facilitate quick recovery and prevent the infection from reoccurring.
- Apply the juice of raw turmeric root on the affected skin area. Leave it on for two to three hours, and then rinse off with lukewarm water. Follow this remedy twice daily until the infection clears.
- Boil one cup of milk along with one teaspoon of turmeric. Add a little honey and drink it while it is still warm. Do this daily to boost your immune system and prevent any kind of infection.
10. Cranberry Juice
Cranberries contain antifungal properties that effectively combat fungi.
- Drink a glass of unsweetened fresh cranberry juice several times a day for a month. This will ensure speedy recovery.
- You can also take cranberry tablets two or three times a day. These tablets are readily available at natural health stores.
Along with these remedies, practice good hygiene to treat as well as to avoid fungal infections. If your infection is severe, consult a doctor.