Excess Candida albicans, commonly known as thrush, is being considered by many health professionals as a modern silent epidemic that is afflicting the western world. This unpleasant condition is not a subject that is discussed openly, as the common symptoms include itching in the genital area, skin rashes, abdominal bloating and whitish creamy plaques within the mouth. But if that weren’t enough, there are a host of other associated conditions such as chronic fatigue, loss of energy and general malaise, poor memory, depression, muscle weakness and/or pain, athlete’s foot, chronic nasal drip and much more. Often we think that this a ‘women’s condition’, but Candida affects men also and can be sexually transmitted.
We all have Candida albicans in our system, which is a benign yeast or fungus which lives in our intestines, on our skin and any mucosal surface. It’s kept in check by the good gut bacterial flora such as lactobacilli and bifido bacteria. These help regulate the digestion and absorption of food. It’s when the environment in the digestive tract is changed that the Candida multiplies.
The prime culprits include eating an array of fast foods, food additives, sugar and complex carbohydrates, everyday stress or certain medications. Candida feeds on undigested sugars and starch and changes from yeast into a fungus. The mycelial fungal form has long filaments and these filaments produce the gas and bloating that is experienced by some suffers of candida. However, the more alarming aspect of this condition is that the filaments can penetrate through the mucosal barrier of the gut wall, making tiny holes which allow food waste to pass into the blood stream, causing havoc. As you can imagine our wonderful defence army, namely the immune system leaps into action ready to do battle to protect the body from these foreign particles. But this action of defence creates inflammation. Further-more, if the immune system is constantly being asked to protect the body without a moment’s respite, it eventually becomes weaker or becomes dis-regulated and damaged.
I think we can all begin to see why it’s called a silent epidemic, as our diet and our lifestyle in Ireland is so welcoming to the proliferation of Candida. The amount of sugar that is consumed either directly or indirectly is of alarming proportions. The stress that some families are enduring are also at levels not seen for many decades.
So what is the answer?
It comes down to the five R’s :
Restrict the foods that feeds the Candida such as sugar, yeast, beer, marmite type spreads ( any spread with yeast in it), unpeeled mushrooms, and bread with yeast and high gluten content.
Reduce the toxin levels such as smoking, alcohol and applying toxic skin care products.
Restore the good gut bacteria with the appropriate probiotics.
Revitalise your immune system with vitamins and minerals and address your lifestyle stressors. Are you enjoying your life? If not – why not? We all have to do tasks everyday that might not be much fun. I can think of many household chores that I really don’t like doing. But the important things is to get them done and then make sure your weekends and free time is what you want to do. Are you always putting everyone else first? You are important – so make sure your time is for you and that you are having fun.
Remove the infection with anti-fungal herbal medicine or homeopathy. You will need to contact a qualified practitioner.
Research shows that there are a group of anti-fungal herbs that have some very encouraging results in eliminating candida. These herbs include Thyme, Yarrow, Sage, Mahonia, Olive leaf, Barberry and garlic.
However, if you are pregnant, or on medication do not start any programme or take herbal medicine, without consulting your health care practitioner, as some of these herbs are contra-indicated.
The summer is a good time to start your cleansing programme as the fungus thrives in cold and damp environments, so not surprising that it’s prolific in Ireland. In the summer salads and raw food seem more attractive, leaving the starchy processed foods to one side. Also warm weather gets us out of the house and enjoying exercise which helps keep the body systems moving and avoids stagnation: something else Candida enjoys.
If you have tried to eradicate excess levels of Candida and failed, perhaps you can appreciate that there are many facets that need to be addressed together, to restore balance to your digestive tract.
Sabina Jennings is a registered medical herbalist and Iridologist:
Note: Information on this web site is for informational purposes only and in no way a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a medical or health condition. If you are pregnant and/or on medical prescription drugs or under the supervision of a health care practitioner, always seek professional medical advice before taking natural medicine ,supplements and exercise programmes.