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General characteristics

General characteristics

Candida albicans is a fungus or yeast that forms part of the normal intestinal bacteria in humans where it performs a number of important functions such as defending us against harmful pathogens and is kept in balance by the whole spectrum of other bacteria and micro-organisms that reside in the bowel.
It only becomes a problem when its environment changes to encourage an overgrowth, such as when whole body immunity/vitality is weakened, when the bowel micro-organisms fail to keep it in check and when the bacterial population of the bowel is altered by poor diet, repeated antibiotics or other illnesses. When the candida yeast grows unchecked it turns into a more aggressive harmful fungus that can move into other areas of the body such as the vagina, lungs, skin, anus, mouth, penis where it  proliferates and can cause many unpleasant symptoms.
Symptoms and consequences of candida overgrowth are many and include tiredness and lethargy, food intolerances, leaky gut syndrome, itching in the vagina or anus sometimes with discharges, bloating, wind and digestive distress, diarrhoea, constipation or both, red blotches on the skin, fungal infections on the skin or nails, regular cystitis, allergies, low blood sugar, migraines and even cancer as postulated by Italian Dr Simonchin.
Candida overgrowth can be 'superficial' as in thrush, nail or mild skin infections, 'chronic' when symptoms become more long lived and present with other symptoms or 'systemic' which usually accompanies other serious diseases like cancer, diabetes and Aids for example.
A simple test for candida overgrowth can be done this way. Fill a glass of water and put it next to your bed overnight. In the morning spit into the glass and leave it for 15 minutes. You don't need a huge amount of spit, just a drop. If after 15 minutes the water is clear and the spit has dissolved, disappeared or stayed on the surface of the water then you are unlikely to be suffering from candida overgrowth. If the spit goes cloudy and stringy then you do have a degree of candida overgrowth and should consider taking action.
Natural treatments and herbs can be used to encourage a more balanced and healthy bacterial population in the gut, raise vitality and natural immunity, ease symptoms such as itching and keep candida growth in check.

Diet and lifestyle

Diet and lifestyle

When candida is over-running the system it is vital to keep the diet low in sugars and other foods which feed the yeast.

Avoid any foods that are high in natural or added sugars such as processed and 'junk' foods, wine, beer and spirits, carton juices and limit white flour products such as white bread, cakes, pies and pastries.

Avoid non-organic meats and dairy as these often contain traces of antibiotics. Avoid also processed meats such as salamis and hams.

Avoid marmite and other yeast based foods. Check ingredients for yeast extract.

Avoid processed distilled vinegars and all foods containing them such as  bottled sauces and dressings. Use only raw and un-pasteurised vinegar, especially cider vinegar.

Avoid pasteurised dairy foods like milk, yoghurts and cheeses. Use raw unpasteurised ones instead as these still have their bacteria present and will go on to help re-balance the bowel bacterial population.

Make sure you are eating plenty of plant fibre which is vital for keeping the bowel moving and regularly cleansed. A lazy, slow moving bowel is an ideal situation for candida to thrive in. See 'fibre' in the 'natural healing' section of this site for ideas on fibre rich foods.

Eat plenty of organic salads, soups, whole grains, sauerkraut, nuts and seeds. For snacks eat apples and other fruits.

Eat plenty of raw garlic and other members of the onion family as they are good anti-fungals. Take at least 2 raw gloves of garlic a day or fill empty vegetarian capsules with it.

Use turmeric and cinnamon in powder form in your cooking or add half a teaspoon to herbal teas.

Useful herbs

Useful herbs

Drink Pau d'arco tea  daily. Put 5 heaped teaspoons of the bark in a pan, add 2 pints of water, bring to the boil, cover and simmer very gently for 10 minutes. Drink the whole amount over the day. Pau d'arco is a very effective immune booster and anti-fungal. You can also use the tea as a wash for parts of the body that are most affected by candida such as the mouth and vagina.
Olive leaf is a good antifungal and immune balancer, use a sa tincture or dried herb in tea form.
Boost your immune system  by mixing a formula using equal parts of the tinctures of echinacea root, siberian ginseng, astragalus, neem leaves and walnut leaves or husks with half a part each of barberry and liqourice root. Take 1 teaspoon 3 times a day in a little water until symptoms ease and vitality returns.
Add a pinch of chilli/cayenne powder and.or prickly ash bark to herbal doses for their antifungal and circulation boosting properties.
Drink a tea of a teaspoon each of dried chamomile and marigold flowers up to 3 times a day for their anti-fungal properties and effect of boosting beneficial bowel bacteria.
Instead of tea or coffee have a couple of cups of nutrient rich raspberry leaf, lady's mantle and nettle tea each day. They are also useful for raising vitality and controlling candida growth.
Reishi mushroom is a very potent immune enhancer and has a myriad of health benefits including lowering levels of high density cholesterol and restoring overall vitality. Use the powder as a sprinkle over foods, in herb teas or take in capsule form. You can make your own capsules by purchasing reishi powder and empty vegetarian capsules from our shop. Take 1 of the filled capsules daily with meals (3 times daily).
Adaptogens such as schisandra can also be a help in raising all round health and immunity.
For general digestive help make a tea of fennel seeds, peppermint, dill seeds, rosemary leaves and artichoke leaves. Mix equal parts and use a teaspoon per cup. Drink a cup before meals. You can also chew a pinch of dill and fennel seeds before or just after meals to help relieve bloating and wind.
Add gentian root to the above or any other formula for digestive actions and general antifungal action.
Use a tablespoon of pure unprocessed coconut oil in your food or straight from the spoon every day. Coconut oil contains many health promoting components and is not harmful to cholesterol worriers or dieters, in fact it can remedy both situations if taken regularly. It must be pure and unprocessed though. You can increase to 2 tablespoons a day in the second week and 3 tablespoons a day in the third week.
If you suspect a hormonal imbalance may be causing or exacerbating the candida (from being on the pill, HRT etc) try taking 1ml agnus castus tincture in a little water 3 times daily.
Marshmallow root tea can also be of benefit.

Natural healing

Natural healing

Take a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda (sodium bicarbonate) in a small glass of water each morning with breakfast. Half dose for children. Look at this site   by Dr. T. Simoncini, a cancer specialist, about the amazing role of sodium bicarbonate in healing candida.
Use cotton, silk or natural fabrics for your underwear, clothes and bedding as they breathe and allow heat to escape from your body.  Man-made fabrics tend to trap heat and moisture which are needed for yeasts and fungus to grow, candida does not like oxygen!
Take a tablespoon of cider vinegar in a little water before meals. Cider vinegar encourages the healthy growth of beneficial gut bacteria which in turn keep candida in its place.
Avoid using harsh cleaning products for your clothes and body.
Take some regular, gentle exercise and get good amounts of sleep at night.
Add a few drops each of lavender, oregano and tea tree essential oils to your baths and washing water. Keep the water you wash with lukewarm and not too hot as the heat can encourage candida growth.
Take a good quality acidophillus product to rebalance the bowel bacteria and help control the candida.
Molkosan is a product (made by Bioforce) that is made from fermented whey. It is good for promoting a healthier environment in the intestines and stomach and effectively helps keep candida in balance.

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