Maybe you feel the die-off of a Candida cleanse. You have flu-like symptoms, including a headache. Your skin flares. Your energy drags. You think it’s working. Because when the body cleanses, things usually get worse before they get better.
But the feeling of die-off (otherwise known as a Herxheimer reaction) doesn’t always mean that you’ve won the battle against Candida. It simply means that you’re releasing accumulated waste and shuttling out a new wave of toxins.
If you really want to target Candida overgrowth and get rid of a deep and systemic infection, you must give your liver and your immune system extra support.
How Candida Takes Over
More than 70% of healthy folks harbor Candida albicans, a fungus that normally colonizes the mouth, gut, and birth canal.
In the right places, small communities of Candida support overall wellness, limiting the growth of harmful fungi and stimulating the immune system. But Candida albicans is responsible for approximately 50–90% of candidiasis (infection) in humans. Besides C. albicans, other strains of Candida can be just as virulent and dangerous.
What makes Candida go rogue?
- An opportunity. Candida is naturally opportunistic and will quickly take over its environment if given the chance.
- A few common health disorders leave the door wide open for Candida overgrowth. They include:
- An inflamed and leaky gut
- A toxic and overburdened liver
- Use of antibiotic drugs, steroid medications, and antacids
Once Candida gets the signal, it can quickly move beyond its native territory—infiltrating cells, encouraging inflammation, and moving into your blood and eventually your organs.
7 Powerful Herbs That Bust Candida Overgrowth
Once Candida becomes a systemic problem, starving the yeast with a sugar-free diet isn’t enough. And antifungal drugs only scrape the surface of an infection (if at all, with the rise of drug-resistant Candida). But specific herbs directly kill Candida—they also strip away the protective matrix that shelters it. And because herbs are naturally complex, Candida won’t build up a resistance.
In a nutshell—a good arsenal of antifungal herbs takes the fight out of Candida and gives you the edge you need to win:
- Turmeric Root: Turmeric root contains curcuminoids—which are naturally antifungal. Research shows that these compounds suppress the growth of Candida by disrupting the cell membrane and the cell wall. Turmeric scavenges free radicals, reducing inflammation. It also protects the liver and strengthens the immune system, making it easier to fight infection.
- Oregano Leaf: In laboratory research, oregano leaf targeted Candida and killed yeast cells. A recent study suggests that it may also be able to destroy biofilm—a protective, gummy matrix that shields Candida from antifungal drugs.
- Pau d’Arco Bark: The inner bark of pau d’arco, also called taheebo, is known to be anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal, and a laxative. But here’s the thing—it is selective. Research shows that pau d’arco only acts against harmful intestinal bacteria. And it leaves the good guys (like Bifidobacteria) alone. Pau d’arco also stops the growth of fungus and thins out existing communities of Candida.
- Garlic Bulb: Garlic is a versatile herb that has been used worldwide for centuries. It is known for its ability to get rid of parasites, eliminate gas, arouse love, and relieve painful joints. It kills insects—and it fights Candida overgrowth. Garlic also destroys Candida’s ability to make lipids—which are found in the cell membrane of Candida and its biofilm.
- Peppermint Leaf: Peppermint is antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal. Peppermint essential oil is naturally drawn into the cell membrane of Candida yeast, wiping it out and fighting infection. Depending on the dose, the essential oil in peppermint leaf can completely block the formation of biofilm.
- Fennel Seed: Extract of fennel seed contains antioxidants. The essential oil found in fennel seed protects the liver. It is also antibacterial and antifungal—being most effective against coli and Candida albicans.
- Echinacea Root: When the immune system is in a weakened state, extracts of Echinacea will give it the support it needs to fight off Candida infection. Echinacea upregulates the immune system and wards off fungal infection, in some cases even protecting against recurrent fungal infection.
Fermented Herbs Are Your Secret Weapon
Research shows that fermented herbs are far more powerful than unfermented extracts. For example, fermented Echinacea root is two times more effective at scavenging free radicals than unfermented Echinacea. This is because fermentation releases bioactive compounds—enhancing Echinacea’s antimicrobial, antioxidant, and immune-regulating prowess.
Research also shows that fermented fennel seed acts as a strong antifungal against Candida—whereas unfermented fennel seed is a mild antifungal.
Just like we see in food, fermentation boosts benefits.
Besides releasing antioxidants and compounds that fight infection, fermented herbs are easier to digest and absorb. Fermented herbs also contain the probiotics that are used during the fermentation process. These probiotics fight inflammation—getting to the root of leaky gut—while doing their part to curb Candida overgrowth.
This article was written by Donna Gates. She will be presenting at the upcoming Healthy Gut Summit. The presentations at the summit are free- simply register here. Can’t fit the summit into your schedule?