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Fungal infections

General characteristics

General characteristics

Many kinds of fungus live on the skin of the human organism quite normally. Problems arise when changes in the body or environment enable a certain fungus to proliferate and cause uncomfortable symptoms.

Fungal infections are classed as either 'superficial', meaning they are confined to areas on the skin or 'systemic' where the fungus enters the bloodstream where they can cause more serious problems.

The superficial class consists of infections such as ringworm, athletes foot, dandruff, jock itch and nail infections. Systemic infections include candida, aspergillosis, pnuemocystis pneumonia and cryptococcosis and internally the fungus can be present in the nose, mouth, vagina, anus, intestinal tract, lungs and bloodstream generally.

Fungal infections are often opportunistic and are associated with a weakened immune system or lowered vitality.

Herbs and natural treatments aim to raise the vitality of the person with correct diet and treatment of the infection with anti-fungal herbs and agents.

See also Candida, Athletes foot, Dandruff

Diet and lifestyle

Diet and lifestyle

The diet needs to be based around fresh, organic, fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds with complete avoidance of processed, junky convenience and sugary foods.

Limit processed carbohydrates and eat whole grains instead for their fibre and nutritional content.

Avoid sugar and alcohol as these lower vitality generally.

Eat plenty of raw garlic, crush a clove or two and add it to food before serving for its potent anti-fungal effects.

Useful herbs

Useful herbs

The following dried herbs have anti-fungal properties; black walnut, thuja, neem leaves, marigold, olive leaf, pau d'arco, lavender, dandelion, tea tree, goldenseal, barberry, thyme, turmeric, garlic, cloves, cinnamongentian root, liqourice, chapparal, artichoke leaves, eucalyptus leaves, myrhh and chamomile.

Make a paste to apply to the affected skin consisting of any or all of the above herbs. One recipe might contain the powders of black walnut, pau d'arco, marigold flowers and thyme (one teaspoonful) with a pinch of goldenseal and thuja. Mix the powders with a little olive oil or similar and add a few drops each of lavender and tea tree essential oils to make a medium thickness paste. Apply to the skin and secure loosely with a natural, breathable cloth. Re-apply fresh paste daily.

Chilli powder also has antifungal properties so add a pinch to herbal teas.

Take a echinacea and astragalus tinctures daily, a teaspoon of each in water twice a day to boost immunity.

Sprinkle slippery elm powder on the skin to add a protective and healing coating to the skin.

Natural healing

Natural healing

Take a teaspoon of cider vinegar in water up to 3 times a day in a little water for its positive action on bowel bacteria.
Probiotic tablets or powder would be a good alternative to cider vinegar.
Fungus loves warm moist conditions to thrive in so keep the affected areas clean and dry whenever possible. Dust with marigold powder to mop up any moisture and help heal the skin underneath it.
Wash the skin daily with warm water to which a few drops each of lavender and tea tree essential oils have been added. Both are mild enough to use in this way and clean the skin excellently.
Avoid antibiotic use as these can exacerbate the problem further and make it last longer.
Avoid using standard chemical formulations such as skin washes, soaps, shampoos, deodorants etc as these can disrupt the balance of microbial life on the skin and allow the more opportunistic fungi to mulitply.
Wear natural, breathable fibres that don't trap moisture and heat such as linen, cotton, wool, hemp, silk or mixtures of these fibres.

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