Fungal infections are a common affliction and there are many over the counter drugs that can treat them. However, essential oils have been found to be useful in combating fungal infections too – sometimes, they are even more effective than conventional medications. Here are some things you need to know about fungal infections and treating them with essential oils.
Fungal Infections Overview. Fungal infections are easily spread from person to person. Some common fungal infections are candida, also known as ringworm, athlete’s foot, jock itch and tinea, a blanket term for fungal skin infections. While most infections are mild, essential oils can help to alleviate symptoms. In AIDS patients, fungal infections tend to be more severe because of their lower resistance in the immune systems. Seek medical advice before using essential oils if you are an AIDS patient.
Antifungal Essential Oils.
- Myrrh is often used in oil blends to treat jock strap itch. It’s also effective with blended with Tea Tree oil and bentonite clay, and used as a body powder. Be sure to use bentonite clay and not corn starch, as the latter could end up feeding the fungus, worsening the infection instead.
- Melaleuca, or Tea Tree oil, is useful for treating athlete’s foot, candida and most forms of fungus, as it has been known to be effective as an antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal oil. It can be used undiluted, but if that’s too harsh on the skin, applying it in 2% dilution could work better instead. It also works well as an aromatherapy treatment for ringworm. A weak dilution of melaleuca in jojoba oil is recommended.
- Cedarwood works well for clearing out musty closets or basements, especially when blended with Lemongrass, or Lemon Eucalyptus.
- Geranium is a common essential oil used in aromatherapy and has a distinctive and pleasant aroma. It’s prized for its antibacterial, antioxidant and anti-fungal qualities. It’s an effective oil for treating many fungal infections, as it’s able to stop the growth of several fungal species. It can be used to treat athlete’s foot by adding 4 or 5 drops to a foot bath or it can be massaged into your feet twice daily but be sure to dilute it first with a carrier oil.
- Though more popularly known as an herb for use in cooking, Oregano is also an powerful anti-fungal essential oil. It is effective in the treatment of certain strains of candida, and can be used to treat yeast infections, skin infections like athlete’s foot and fungal nail infections.
- Cinnamon essential oil is antifungal as well as anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antimicrobial. Closely related to cassia oil, it’s commonly used to boost the immune system, but is also effective in treating a range of staphylococcus strains.
- Clove essential oil is one of the most effective essential oils for treating fungal infections. It has the ability to combat at least 15 different forms of fungi, including the common candida albicans. The main constituent of clove, eugenol, has an especially powerful effect in combating candida.
- Thyme is another kitchen staple for some, but also serves as a very popular essential oil that also has very powerful anti fungal properties. Thyme essential oil can inhibit the growth of fungus, and can effectively disinfect mold on surfaces on walls. It’s also effective against staphylococcus bacteria including the MRSA.
- Lavender essential oil, though more popularly known for its calming and sleep-inducing effects, has also been found to be highly effective against a range of fungal strains such as candida and dermatophytes, which cause common nail and skin infections. They are able to damage the cell membrane which destroys fungal cells.
- Lemongrass essential oil is used for many healing purposes and is also effective against fungal infections. It’s commonly used to treat ringworm as well as athlete’s foot and jock itch. It’s also been ranked as the best essential oil in one research in the treatment of MRSA, an infection caused the the staphylococcus bacteria strain.
How to Use. Essential oils have to be diluted in a carrier oil, such as jojoba or sweet almond oil before direct application to the skin. Seek medical advice from a qualified aroma therapist and never take essential oils orally.
With a range of essential oil to combat all kinds of common fungal infections, relief is at hand. Do remember to seek professional advice whenever you’re in doubt.