Fungus and yeast are typically present in our bodies within certain limits, but they don’t usually cause health problems.
However, when our immune system becomes weakened, or when the fungi-bacteria balance in our bodies becomes upset, fungal infections can arise. Common fungal infections include: Athlete’s foot, Onychomycosis (affecting the nail and nail bed), Candida Albicans (affecting the vagina, mouth, stomach or urinary tract), Ringworm (causing the skin to become inflamed, scaly, and dry), and Fungal keratitis (affecting the cornea).
About essential oils
People interested in natural healing always look for an alternative to prescribed or over the counter antifungal medication, and essential oils can be the solution. These oils also have antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, in addition to their antifungal effect.
You will need a high quality oil that is 100% natural and pure, with plants harvested at the right time in order to maintain their peek properties, and no chemical herbicides and pesticides used on the plants; this is particularly important since fungal infections are contagious and must therefore be treated as soon as possible.
The body can develop resistance over time to both over the counter and prescribed medicine; nevertheless, some essential oils may cause allergic reactions in some people. Always test the oil first on a patch of skin, typically on the inside of the forearm, and never use the oil in sunlight. Moreover, pregnant and breastfeeding women, babies and children, people with high blood pressure, or with epilepsy, as well as AIDS patients should not use essential oils, unless a doctor recommends them to.
All essential oils require a carrier oil, most often olive or Jojoba oils; however, make sure not to dilute your essential oils to more than 5%. Essential oils should never be taken internally; don’t use them directly on the skin without diluting them first because they are very potent and can cause irritation. Ask your doctor or a qualified aromatherapist about safe usage if you are unsure.
Clove, lemongrass, lavender, thyme and geranium are some of the most powerful antifungal essential oils; the list is far from complete, given that researchers always find new qualities and uses for these oils. Below is a list of the 9 most effective antifungal essential oils.
Clove Essential Oil
One of the best essential oils is clove oil, as it can successfully treat a wide array of fungal infections, including candida. To fight against candida topically, dilute clove essential oil in equal amounts with a carrier oil, then apply it over the affected area.
Lemongrass Essential Oil
Combat both internal and external fungal infections, such as ringworm, athlete’s foot, candida (Candida albicans and tropicalis) and jock itch, with lemongrass essential oil; it is also effective in the treatment of bacterial infections.
For example, to fight off ringworm, simply dilute three drops of lemongrass oil into almond oil, mix and apply three times daily until the infection is gone. The almond oil acts not only as a carrier, but it also is a good emollient. For people with sensitive skin, dilute one drop lemongrass essential oil to 1-3 teaspoons of coconut oil.
Lavender Essential Oil
People suffering from nail and skin infections can find relief with lavender essential oil. Before you apply it topically, make sure to dilute it first with coconut, jojoba, or another suitable carrier oil.
You can also use it externally in your bath water; soothe inflammation caused by ringworm with a couple of drops of lavender oil added to your bath water; spend at least 30 minutes soaking in the lavender oil.
Tea Tree Essential Oil
Obtained from the leaves of the Maleleuca plant in Australia, this oil inhibits the replication of fungal cells and thus destroys them. It is successful at treating vaginal candidiasis and other candida infections, as well as ringworm due to the antifungal action of Terpenoid, the primary constituent of many essential oils.
Mix a little tea tree oil with some olive oil (known to inhibit the growth of yeast), and apply the mixture three times daily for about ten days over the ringworm-affected patches; you should keep applying this combination even after the affected areas have cleared.
You can make your own homemade cream, and use a mix of oils to maximize its antifungal properties. One such recipe to help with skin fungal infections includes tea tree essential oil (10 drops), olive oil (1 tablespoon), avocado oil (1 tablespoon), as well as shea butter (1/4 cup; the smooth variety).
Place a small glass jar in a saucepan filled with water, melt the shea butter (with potent anti-inflammatory properties), avocado oil (rich in vitamin E) and olive oil in the jar. Once the mix melts, take the jar away from the pan, add the 10 drops of tea tree oil, and let it cool in the refrigerator. Shake the jar every 15 minutes, allow the contents to solidify, then apply the cream to the area affected by fungi.
Cassia Essential Oil
Cassia smells like cinnamon because the two essential oils are closely related. For topical applications, every drop of cassia oil should be diluted to at least 3 drops of carrier oil. You can also use it to boost your immunity; simply diffuse cassia essential oil throughout the room, and/ or massage your feet with one drop diluted into coconut oil or a similar carrier oil.
Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil
The antifungal, antiseptic, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties of the cinnamon essential oil turn it into invaluable support of the immune system, much like cassia oil. It can treat fungal infections, including those caused by many staphylococcus strains. Since this is a very potent oil, never inhale it directly from the bottle, and diffuse only a little throughout the room; otherwise, you risk irritating your nasal passage. Make sure to dilute cinnamon bark essential oil before applying it topically.
Geranium Essential Oil
Geranium essential oil has a great smell and inhibits both fungal and bacterial strains. It can be inhaled directly, as well as applied directly on the skin. Due to its antifungal, antibacterial, and antioxidant qualities, it can be used to treat a host of fungal conditions, including athlete’s foot. It is effective when you add 4 or 5 drops to your foot bath; you can also dilute one drop with 1 to 3 teaspoons carrier oil, and massage it into your feet twice daily, especially if you are young or have sensitive skin; if it burns, wash with tap water and/ or soap.
Thyme Essential Oil
This is a powerful oil, so perform a patch test before applying it topically to make sure you don’t have an allergic reaction to it. Thyme essential oil should be properly diluted with a carrier oil before it touches your skin.
For ringworm and athlete’s foot, you will need red thyme essential oil (20 drops), tea tree essential oil (1/2 tsp.), lavender essential oil (1/2 tsp.), vitamin E (1/2 tsp.), unrefined shea butter (1/4 cup), chaparral (1/2 cup) infused with extra virgin olive oil, and beeswax (1/4 cup).
Melt the beeswax, shea butter, and herbal infused oil in a double boiler, then let the ingredients sit over the heat to make the shea butter smooth. 20 minutes later, remove the boiler from the heat, add the essential oils and vitamin E, mix well and pour into jars. Let the contents cool, and store in a dark cool place. Apply to the affected area twice daily until the infection cleares completely.
Oregano Essential Oil
Oregano oil is effective against certain strains of candida, athlete’s foot, nail infections and other fungal skin infections. Thus, if you suffer from athlete’s foot, dilute oregano essential oil with a suitable carrier oil and massage your feet. Alternatively, you can add 4 or 5 drops of oregano essential oil to a foot bath.
For ringworm: apply a couple of drops of oregano oil along a carrier oil over the affected skin patches and massage the area gently. Do this at least three times daily, for about one week.
Mix them up
Any of these oils works wonders on their own, but you can also combine them to make sure you get maximum results.
For example, to treat ringworm, you can try any of the individual essential oil recipes above, or the following mix: Use almond oil as the base and mix in it 2% wild thyme oil, 5% rosemary oil and 5% oregano oil. Apply this twice daily to the affected areas.