Fungi are a specific class of microorganisms just like bacteria. Mushrooms are a type of fungi. Yeast is type of fungi that are used in fermentation of food products and even in preparation of antibiotics.
However there are some fungi that can even grow on animals and cause serious diseases. These include aspergilloses, candidoses, coccidioidomycosis, cryptococcosis, histoplasmosis, mycetomas, and paracoccidioidomycosis.
Candida infection is perhaps the most common infection which goes undetected and still affects human health. Dermatophytic and keratinophytic fungi grow on nails, skin and hair. Athelete’s foot and ringworm are common infections.
Usually those with weakened immune systems are more susceptible to fungal infections. Fungal infections of the skin and nail are treated with topical applications. Oral fungal medications are available for more serious internal infections.
There are different fungal infections of the skin caused by different fungi. Athlete’s foot causes burning, redness, blisters or sores of the feet.
This fungus thrives in moist, warm environment in socks, shoes etc. Jock itch affects the inner thigh, buttocks or genitals and occurs usually in warm, wet weather when we sweat a lot.
Ringworm can appear anywhere in the body and resembles a flat, red sore. Yeast infections grow actively and affect folds of the skin.
3 Benefits Of Turmeric In Fungal Infections
Turmeric’s identity is beyond that of a spice. It is now accepted as a household as well as a clinically proven pharmacological agent for treating a number of conditions.
Curcumin is one of its bioactive ingredient. Turmeric rhizome consists of curcuminoids and turmeric oil. Turmeric and especially curcumin are proven anti-microbial agents.
1.Turmeric is an anti-fungal agent
A study demonstrated that curcumin is a potent antifungal agent and its inhibitory activity was tested against 23 fungi.
Fluconazole is the common anti-fungal medication recommended to patients. This study demonstrated that curcumin was stronger than fluconazole in inhibiting the growth of some fungi.
Rhodotorula infections are common in individuals whose immunity is compromised.
A mixture of honey and starch from turmeric is proven to act against such infection.
A clinical trial demonstrated that inclusion of turmeric extract in liquid soap reduced itching and fungal infection in AIDS patients.
Curcumin acts in combination with other anti-fungal medications that are commonly prescribed to treat such conditions.
What does this mean?
Laboratory tests have shown that turmeric acts against over 23 different species of fungi. For some species it works better than anti-fungal medications. Turmeric works well as oral or topical formulation.
2.It acts against Candida species
Candida is perhaps the worst fungal infection which affects many individuals. It causes vaginal infections and when it occurs in the mouth it is called thrush.
It affects those having weak immune systems such as those suffering from AIDS or taking medications like steroids and antibiotics.
Researchers suggest that curcumin is a potent anti-candida agent. It demonstrates anti-fungal activity against all Candida species.
Oral candidiasis is a common side effect of chronic asthma. In an animal model of oral candidiasis it was shown that curcumin is as effective as steroid, dexamethasone in treating this condition.
What does this mean?
Candida infection can cause vaginal, gastric or even skin infections. Curcumin inhibits the growth of all Candida species and especially Candida albicans.
3.Turmeric oil inhibits growth of fungi
The anti-fungal property of turmeric is not limited to curcumin alone. Turmeric oil also acts against fungi especially dermatophytic fungi or fungi that cause skin infection.
This study showed that fungal lesions disappeared within 6-7 days of turmeric oil application.
What does this mean?
Apart from curcumin, turmeric oil shows excellent anti-fungal property and can be used as a topical anti-fungal agent
How to use turmeric for fungal infections?
For fungal infections, turmeric can be taken internally or applied topically depending on the area of infection. Here are a few tips you can try at home:
- Pound fresh raw turmeric and mix the powder with water or preferably olive/coconut oil to form a paste. Apply it regularly 2-3 times a day. (you can use organic good quality turmeric powder also)
- Grind a small piece of fresh turmeric with basil leaves or neem leaves and apply it locally on infected area.
- For fungal infections of the nail, mix turmeric tincture with a base oil and apply regularly.
- A mixture of ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder and 1 teaspoon of aloe vera gel is a great remedy for wounds as well as skin infections.
- To get rid of internal yeast infections, make a mix of ¼ teaspoon of turmeric, ½ teaspoon of licorice and ¼ teaspoon of shardunika (Gymnema sylvestre) and take this complete mixture (1 teaspoon) twice a day with warm water.
Dosage of Turmeric For Fungal Infections
There is no prescribed dosage of turmeric for treatment of Fungal infections. A good start would be including turmeric in diet.
Turmeric is poorly absorbed in the body hence it is advised to take turmeric with black pepper and/or healthy fats. (Read How to Improve Bioavailability of Turmeric) A great way to take is Golden Paste.
Start with a small dose say ¼-1/2 tsp a day for a week and if no side effects are observed increase the dose gradually. The ideal dose is around 1-2 tsp 2-3 times a day (precisely 1 tsp 3 times a day); however it depends on you as to what suits you.
Avoid taking it on an empty stomach and close to the time of taking medicines. (Read Does turmeric cause Acid Reflux? Black Pepper in Golden Paste: Does it cause drug interactions?)
If you need help identifying good quality turmeric, check our recommendations for great organic turmeric brands.
If opting for turmeric supplements consult a health practitioner prior.
Turmeric as a part of the diet is absolutely safe. Caution should be exercised if taking turmeric supplements. (Read Side effects of Turmeric)
Certain conditions in which it is advisable to avoid turmeric supplements are:
- Pregnancy and lactation
- Prior to surgery (at least 15 days)
- If taking anti-diabetic or stomach acid reducing medications
- If suffering from gall bladder obstruction (Read Is it safe to take turmeric in gallstones?)
- If on blood thinning medications or suffering from bleeding risks
Curcumin as well as piperine (black pepper active ingredient) interfere in drug metabolism therefore avoid taking it concomitantly when taking medicines.
If suffering from bleeding risks please consult a health practitioner before taking turmeric supplements.
Always consult a doctor prior to taking turmeric supplements to avoid risk of allergies or problems due to inappropriate dose.
Fungal infections are common conditions affecting a number of people. Generally it affects those with a weak immune system but it can also occur as a result of humid weather.
Turmeric when taken internally can not only terminate the growth of yeast and fungus infection but also boost your immunity so as to avoid such conditions in future. Additionally it can also be applied topically for quick relief.