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Essential oils smell beautiful. But did you also know that many essential oils can support health and fight infection?

Bacteria and yeast do not develop a resistance to herbs and their oils.

In 2012, the Journal of Ethnopharmacology published a study highlighting the strength of certain essential oils in controlling overgrowth of the yeast Candida albicans.

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8 Candida Red Flags to Watch Out For

Candida is a yeast that naturally lives in the body. A strong immune system and a healthy inner ecology keep the yeast Candida in check and prevent it from taking over its surrounding environment.

Unfortunately, overuse of antibiotics and a diet full of processed foods, sugar, and gluten limit the body’s ability to keep Candida in check. Because Candida is an opportunistic microorganism, it will multiply when it has the chance and cause issues like thrush, vaginal yeast infections, and systemic candidiasis.

Common symptoms of systemic Candida overgrowth include:

  1. Abdominal cramps and bloating
  2. Bad breath
  3. Chronic fatigue
  4. Constipation
  5. Depression and foggy thinking
  6. Insomnia
  7. Mood swings
  8. Swollen joints

Why Candida Is So Stealthy

Candida is especially good at constructing a strong, slimy substance around itself called biofilm.

Like green sludge stuck to the surface of a rock or plaque clinging to teeth, biofilm is a tough slime that can house Candida, parasites, and other disease-causing microbes. As colonies of Candida form and lay down more biofilm, this sticky goo protects the yeast and supports its growth.

The 2012 study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology demonstrated that the essential oils of lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) and clove (Syzygium aromaticum) are especially effective at busting through the tough biofilm that Candida hides behind.1 In addition to lemongrass and clove, previous studies have found that the essential oils of thyme, patchouli, and cedarwood can also inhibit the growth of Candida.2

Inside the human body, Candida biofilms can limit the reach of powerful prescription antifungal drugs, making candidiasis difficult to treat.

In a hospital setting, Candida biofilms are a serious health hazard. Patients that receive implants—such as catheters or prosthetic heart valves—end up with hospital-acquired Candida.3 As it turns out, Candida biofilms are incredibly resistant to common antifungal drugs, like amphotericin B and fluconazole.1,3

2 Essential Oils with Big Benefits

The “problem” with essential oils is that they are made by nature.

In other words, you cannot standardize them, and you cannot patent them. However, like other antifungal and antibacterial herbs, essential oils do not harm the beneficial inner ecology of the body. And, just as important, bacteria and yeast do not develop a resistance to herbs and their oils.

Lemongrass and clove have been used as spices in traditional cooking for centuries.

The medicinal value of these herbs (and their oils) is still strong in traditional cultures:

  1. Lemongrass:

In Brazilian folk medicine, lemongrass has a hypnotic and anticonvulsant effect. Besides helping to break up Candida biofilm, studies also show that lemongrass can lower blood pressure. This may have something to do with the fact that lemongrass is a powerful antioxidant and can help to stop inflammation.

The Journal of Advanced Pharmaceutical Technology & Research confirms the antioxidant, antidiarrheal, antifungal, and antibacterial properties of lemongrass, along with its benefits in folk medicine as an "antispasmodic, hypotensive, anticonvulsant, analgesic, antiemetic, antitussive, antirheumatic, antiseptic and treatment for nervous and gastrointestinal disorders and fevers."4 When the essential oil is vaporized, it can be even more effective in altering the cellular structures and surfaces of Candida.5 Lemongrass oil has direct aromatic applications for Candida and oral thrush to improve digestive health.6

  1. Clove:

Clove, most notable for its mouth-numbing effect, is popular in Asian, African, and Mexican cuisine. In Indian Ayurvedic medicine, clove is used to dull pain (especially toothaches), to enhance digestion, and to kill parasites. And likewise, in Chinese herbal medicine, clove warms the digestive fire. It is also used to soothe morning sickness in pregnant women. Western studies have found that clove is an antioxidant and that it can help to reduce blood sugar levels, as well as ease dental pain.

Clove essential oil has notable use as an antiseptic because of its ability to inhibit bacteria and yeast.7 In a study published in the Journal of Medical Microbiology, clove essential oil was able to obstruct Candida formation with its antifungal activity. Researchers recommended further investigation into the use of clove essential oil for the clinical treatment of fungal infection.8

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What To Remember Most About This Article:

While essential oils may smell wonderful, you might be completely unaware that they can also fight infection in the body. Certain essential oils have been proven to control Candida yeast overgrowth, alleviating symptoms like chronic fatigue, insomnia, and depression.

Candida is difficult to attack. It protects itself with a slimy biofilm that further supports its growth. Fortunately, essential oils like lemongrass, clove, thyme, patchouli, and cedarwood have been proven to inhibit the growth of systemic Candida.

While natural essential oils have been used in cooking and as medicinal herbs for centuries, two oils stand out above the rest to fight Candida:

  1. Lemongrass essential oil can lower blood pressure as it works as a powerful antioxidant in the body. The antiseptic, antidiarrheal, antifungal, and antibacterial essential oil can break up Candida biofilm and alter its cellular structures.
  2. Clove essential oil can be used as a natural pain reliever to dull toothaches and to improve digestion, kill parasites, and even ease morning sickness in pregnant women. Clove's antifungal properties can help to inhibit Candida formation—with the potential for clinical treatment against fungal infection.
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REFERENCES:

  1. Mohd Sajjad Ahmad Khan, Iqbal Ahmad. Biofilm inhibition by Cymbopogon citratus and Syzygium aromaticum essential oils in the strains of Candida albicans. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 27 Mar 2012; 140 (2): 416-423. DOI: 10.1016/j.jep.2012.01.045.
  1. Abe S, et al. [Anti-Candida albicans activity of essential oils including Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) oil and its component, citral]. Japanese Journal of Medical Mycology. 2003; 44 (4): 285-291.PMID:14615795
  1. Julia Douglas. Candida biofilms and their role in infection. Trends in Microbiology. Jan 2003; 11 (1): 30-36. DOI: 10.1016/S0966-842X(02)00002-1.
  1. J Adv Pharm Technol Res. 2011 Jan-Mar; 2(1): 3–8. doi: 4103/2231-4040.79796
  1. Tyagi AK and Malik A. Liquid and vapour-phase antifungal activities of selected essential oils against Candida albicans: Microscopic observations and chemical characterization of Cymbopogon citratus. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2010, 10:65doi:10.1186/1472-6882-10-65
  1. "Lemongrass essential oil monograph." Academia.edu.
  1. J. Microbiol. vol.43 no.4 São Paulo Oct./Dec. 2012
  1. J Med Microbiol. 2009 Nov;58(Pt 11):1454-62. doi: 10.1099/jmm.0.010538-0. Epub 2009 Jul 9.

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