Categories: Diseases and Conditions

How to Get Rid of Fungal Infection (KILL the Fungus Naturally)

You can blame it all on a fungus if you’ve ever had oral thrush, a nail fungus, a yeast infection, ringworm or athlete’s foot. These types of skin infections are caused by fungi and are most likely to develop in moist and damp areas of the body like the inner thighs or armpits. These fungal infections are generally not contagious or life-threatening.

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Causes of Fungal Infection

Fungi often thrive in warm and moist environments. Your lifestyle and body chemistry can elevate your risk of fungal infections. For example, if you are a runner, you may experience frequent spells of athlete’s foot. (1)

Pool areas, locker rooms, public showers, and other damp areas are breeding grounds for fungi. You may pick up a fungal infection from being in these areas.

You may be at risk of getting a fungal infection if you keep sweaty or wet clothes on.

A cut or break in your skin may expose you to an infection, which can go deeper into the skin.

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Symptoms of Fungal Infection

  • Common symptoms of a fungal infection include a rash and redness of the skin. You may also experience itchiness, pain, and tenderness.
  • Signs of severe infections include pus-filled blisters, blisters in general, sloughing of skin, dark and necrotic-appearing skin, painful and discolored skin.

How to Prevent Fungal Infection

  • Wash and dry your hands frequently and thoroughly.
  • Dry yourself well after a bath, especially the armpits, genital areas and between the toes.
  • Change your clothes if they’re sweaty or wet for some reason.
  • Wear shoes when you’re in locker rooms, gyms or public pool areas.
  • Never share clothing, towels, hairbrushes, combs, headgear or other personal hygiene items.
  • Clean your hygiene items like brushes frequently and dry them thoroughly.
  • Avoid touching pets with classic symptoms of ringworms or pets with bald spots.

Natural Relief from Fungal Infection

Here are 10 home remedies to help you get rid of a fungal infection and kill the fungus naturally.

Method 1: Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has antibacterial and antifungal properties, which make it the right ingredient to fight fungal infection. Coconut oil has lauric acid, capric acid that has antimicrobial properties that destroy the cell membranes of both fungal and bacterial organisms. (2)

Note: If you have never used coconut oil topically, do a patch test first to check your skin’s response to the oil. Apply it on a healthy area of your skin and wait 24 hours. If everything seems to be okay, proceed with the application on the infected area.

Single-Step Treatment: Apply coconut oil on the affected area

Use coconut oil to get rid of fungal infection with home remedies
  • Wash the affected area clean and pat it dry.
  • Apply a thin layer of coconut oil directly on the affected area.
  • Start with a smaller area, wait 24 hours and then proceed with the larger areas of infected skin.

Do this twice a day for 1 week to curb the growth of the fungus causing the infection.

Method 2: Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is made of crushed and aged apples. It contains probiotics and acetic acid, which fights the infection-causing fungus. If you have athlete’s foot, then soaking your feet in an apple cider vinegar solution will kill the fungus and relieve you from any pain associated with it. This remedy might burn a little but will help clear up the worst cases of fungal infections. (3) (4)

Single-Step Treatment: Apply diluted apple cider vinegar on the infected skin

Gently dab the infected skin with diluted apple cider vinegar
  • Dilute 1 cup of apple cider vinegar with 1 cup of water, and apply to the affected area once a day with the help of a clean cotton ball.
  • If you have a hand or foot fungus, fill a basin with equal quantities of apple cider vinegar and water. Soak your hands or feet in it for 10 to 15 minutes. Do this daily until the condition improves.

Also, you can mix 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar into 8 ounces of water and drink it once a day until you see the infection dialing down.

Caution: Never drink undiluted apple cider vinegar, as it can cause a throat burn.

Method 3: Vinegar

Most fungi thrive in an alkaline environment. Just like apple cider vinegar, regular white vinegar can help create an acidic environment that slows down the fungi growth and proliferation. It also draws out excess moisture from the skin and promotes quick healing. (5)

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Step 1. Dilute white vinegar in a tub of lukewarm water

Add white vinegar to warm water
  • Fill a tub with lukewarm water.
  • Pour 1 cup of white vinegar into the water and stir it well.

Step 2. Soak your feet or hands in the solution

To fight fungal infection soak your hands and feet in diluted white vinegar
  • Soak your feet or hands in the solution for 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes, pat your skin dry.
  • You can take a vinegar water bath if you have a fungal infection in places other than your hands or feet.

Do this once a day until you notice the infection clearing up.

Method 4: Borax

Borax has antifungal and antibacterial properties that work amazingly to cure any fungal infection. Baking soda acts as an exfoliant. The lavender and patchouli essential oils in this remedy soothe the skin from any inflammation and promote quick healing. (6)

Things you’ll need:

Items needed for the soak
  • Borax (antifungal agent) – 1 tablespoon
  • Baking soda (exfoliant) – 2 tablespoons
  • Lavender essential oil (promotes quick healing and adds fragrance) – 4 or 5 drops
  • Patchouli essential oil (anti-inflammatory and adds fragrance) – 2 or 3 drops

Step 1. Add borax and baking soda to a tub of lukewarm water

To a tub of lukewarm water, add borax and baking soda
  • Fill a basin or your bathtub with lukewarm water.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of borax and 2 tablespoons of baking soda to the water.

Step 2. Add the essential oils & soak the infected area in the solution

Soak the affected area in the prepared mix
  • Add 4 or 5 drops of lavender essential oil and 2 or 3 drops of patchouli essential oil to the water.
  • Mix well.
  • Soak the affected area or take a bath in this water.

Do this once a day to get rid of the fungal infection.

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Method 5: Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil has natural antifungal properties that help kill the infection-causing fungus. Plus, it has antiseptic properties that curb the spread of the infection to other parts of the body.

Caution: It is advisable to do a patch test on your skin before going further with this remedy, as tea tree oil may be too harsh if you have sensitive skin. Also, pregnant women should refrain from using tea tree oil. (7)(8)

Things you’ll need:

Things needed to use tea tree oil for fungal infection
  • Tea tree oil (an antifungal agent) – 1 or2 drops
  • Olive oil (carrier oil) – 1 tablespoon

Single-Step Treatment: Apply a blend of tea tree and olive oils on the affected area

Apply the tea tree-olive oil mix to get relief from fungal infection
  • Add 1 or 2 drops of tea tree oil to1 tablespoon of olive oil and mix well.
  • Wash the infected area and pat it dry.
  • Apply the mixture on the affected area.
  • Let it sit for 6 to 8 hours, after which you can reapply the mixture.

For a vaginal yeast infection, soak a tampon in the solution and insert it into the vagina for 1 hour. Do this twice a day for 1 week to get rid of the infection.

Method 6: Garlic

Garlic has long been used as a natural medicine in many South Asian countries. It has a compound called allicin, which accounts for the many medicinal benefits of garlic. It is called the wonder herb that can cure infections, inflammation, and hypertension. (9)

Things you’ll need:

Things required to use garlic for fungal infection
  • Garlic cloves, minced (an antifungal agent) – 2 - 3 cloves
  • Olive oil (carrier oil, promotes healing) – 1 teaspoon

Single-Step Treatment: Apply a paste made of garlic and olive oil on the affected area

Add minced garlic to olive oil and apply on the affected area
  • Mix 2 - 3 minced garlic cloves and 1 teaspoon of olive oil into a paste.
  • Apply the paste evenly on the affected area and let it sit for 30 to 45 minutes. This may cause a slight burning sensation. If it is intolerable, wash it off immediately.
  • Rinse the paste off with warm water and pat your skin dry.

Use this remedy twice a day for 1 week to completely cure the infection. You may feel relief from the symptoms after just 2 days. Keep treating until the rash is completely gone.

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Method 7: Yogurt

Yogurt contains probiotics that help curb the growth of fungal infection by producing lactic acid. Be sure to use plain, unsweetened yogurt with active cultures. (10)

Single-Step Treatment: Use yogurt topically and internally to cure the infection

Yogurt is another effective way to treat fungal infection
  • Scoop up some plain yogurt with your clean fingers and apply it on the affected area. Allow it to sit for 2 to 3 hours, then wash it off with lukewarm water.
  • If you have a vaginal infection, dip a tampon in some plain yogurt and put it inside your vagina for 1 hour.
  • Consume yogurt daily to boost the good bacteria in your body.

Use these remedies once a day for 1 week. You should be able to see an improvement in 2 to 3 days.

Note: Please see a doctor if no improvement within 3 days, if condition worsens or if you develop a fever.

Method 8: Baking Soda

Baking soda has a soothing effect on the itchiness, burning sensation and swelling caused by a fungal infection. It also has antifungal properties, which inhibit the growth of the fungi. (11)

Single-Step Treatment: Apply a baking soda solution on the affected area

Prepare a baking soda paste to cure the fungal infection
  • Mix 2 to 3 teaspoons of baking soda into1 cup of lukewarm water.
  • Use a cotton ball to apply the solution on the affected area.

Repeat 2 or 3 times a day for 1 week to get rid of the fungal infection.

Method 9: Probiotics

Infections occur when a fungus overgrows on your body, and the bacterial balance gets thrown off. Probiotics boost the essential bacteria in your body to maintain the balance of good and bad bacteria. Consuming probiotics will help reduce the fungal infection in your body. (12)

Caution: Consult your doctor before consuming probiotic supplements.

Single-Step Method: Consume probiotic supplements to cure the infection

Consume probiotics to naturally prevent and cure fungal infection
  • For adults: Mix 1 scoop (0.8 gram) of the probiotic powder into a glass of dechlorinated water and drink it first thing in the morning, 30 minutes before eating. Do this once a day for 3 to 5 days. If you don’t see any reduction of the infection, do this twice a day, once in the morning and once at bedtime.
  • For children: Mix 1 baby scoop (0.1 gram) of probiotic powder into a glass of dechlorinated water. Give this first thing in the morning to your child, 30 minutes before eating. Give this dosage to your child for 3 to 5 days. If you don’t see satisfactory results, increase the dosage to twice a day, once in the morning and again at bedtime.

Method 10: Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide has a number of health and beauty benefits. It even helps to get rid of the fungal infection and kills the fungus naturally. It breaks down into hydrogen and oxygen upon application, and the oxygen eliminates the fungal infection. You may experience a burning sensation if the infected area is already inflamed and the infection is severe. (13)

Single-Step Treatment: Dilute hydrogen peroxide with distilled water & soak the affected area

Soak the affected area in diluted hydrogen peroxide to get rid of a fungal infection
  • Dilute 4 tablespoons of 3% hydrogen peroxide with 2 cups of distilled water and mix well.
  • Soak the affected area in the solution for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Allow the area to dry on its own, or rinse off the solution and pat dry your skin.

Do this twice a day for 1 week to get rid of a fungal infection.

Note: If the redness persists for more than a week, visit your healthcare professional.

Tips to remember

  • You can use essential oils of your choice in the remedies above.
  • Chamomile also possesses antifungal properties. You can prepare a chamomile skin wash with lavender and calendula essential oils in it.
  • Do not use undiluted vinegar or apple cider vinegar directly on the infected area.
  • Essential oils are to be used in small quantities or diluted form, due to their highly potent nature.
  • Consult your doctor if the remedies do not work for you.

Resources:

  1. Pauw BEde. What Are Fungal Infections? Mediterranean Journal of Hematology and Infectious Diseases. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3103258/. Published 2011.
  2. Shino B, Peedikayil FC, Jaiprakash SR, Bijapur GA, d, d. Comparison of Antimicrobial Activity of Chlorhexidine, Coconut Oil, Probiotics, and Ketoconazole on Candida albicans Isolated in Children with Early Childhood Caries: An In Vitro Study. Scientifica. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4808662/. Published 2016.
  3. Yagnik D, Serafin V, Shah AJ. Antimicrobial activity of apple cider vinegar against Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and Candida albicans; downregulating cytokine and microbial protein expression. Scientific Reports. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5788933/. Published 2018.
  4. Mota AC, de RD, de J, de E. Antifungal Activity of Apple Cider Vinegar on Candida Species Involved in Denture Stomatitis. Journal of Prosthodontics. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25219289. Published June 2015.
  5. Pinto TMS, Neves ACC, Leão MVP, Jorge AOC. VINEGAR AS AN ANTIMICROBIAL AGENT FOR CONTROL OF Candida spp. IN COMPLETE DENTURE WEARERS. Journal of Applied Oral Science. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4327708/. Published December 2008.
  6. De F, Schmidt M, Vu B, Essmann M, Larsen B. Antifungal mechanisms supporting boric acid therapy of Candida vaginitis. The Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19059942. Published February 2009.
  7. Bagg J, Jackson MS, Petrina M, Ramage G, Davies AN. Susceptibility to Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil of yeasts isolated from the mouths of patients with advanced cancer. Oral Oncology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16488180. Published May 2006.
  8. Mertas A, Garbusińska A, Szliszka E, et al. The Influence of Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) on Fluconazole Activity against Fluconazole-Resistant Candida albicans Strains. BioMed Research International. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4334616/. Published 2015.
  9. Li W-R, Shi Q-S, Dai H-Q, et al. Antifungal activity, kinetics and molecular mechanism of action of garlic oil against Candida albicans. Scientific Reports. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4779998/. Published 2016.
  10. Darvishi M, Jahdi F, Hamzegardeshi Z, et al. The Comparison of Vaginal Cream of Mixing Yogurt, Honey and Clotrimazole on Symptoms of Vaginal Candidiasis. Central Asian Journal of Global Health. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4803919/. Published November 2015.
  11. Letscher-Bru V, Obszynski CM, Samsoen M, Sabou M, Waller J, Candolfi E. Antifungal activity of sodium bicarbonate against fungal agents causing superficial infections. Mycopathologia. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22991095. Published February 2013.
  12. Matsubara VH, Bandara HM, Mayer MP, Samaranayake LP. Probiotics as Antifungals in Mucosal Candidiasis. Clinical Infectious Diseases. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26826375. Published May 1, 2016.
  13. Larsen B, White S. Antifungal effect of hydrogen peroxide on catalase-producing strains of Candida spp. Infectious Diseases in Obstetrics and Gynecology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18476024.
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