Essential Oils for Yeast Infection
There are numerous types of fungal infections that can affect humans, although some are more serious than others. There are approximately 1.5 million different fungal species on Earth, only 300 types of fungi are known to make people sick. Side effects can range in severity from easily treatable skin rashes to deadly lung diseases.1
Fungi grow as either yeasts (single round cells) or molds (many cells in long threads), and multiply by spreading spores throughout the air, soil, plants and water. Infections occur when spore contact skin or enter the lungs when inhaled. Those with weakened immune systems, or those taking antibiotics, are more prone to developing skin diseases such as yeast infections, athlete’s foot or thrush, though there may be other underlying causes as well (cancer patients, people living with HIV or diabetes). Fungal infections can affect anyone, and treatment generally includes antifungal drugs that can often be overused and dangerous.
Yeast infections are caused when the balance of yeast (Candida) and bacteria—both found naturally in the body—is disturbed, resulting in an increase of yeast in the vaginal area. This increase can be spread through sexual contact, but can also develop on its own. The symptoms are extremely unpleasant, and include burning or itching in or around the vagina, pain when urinating or during sex, and a thick white discharge. Yeast infections can also be transmitted to men through sexual intercourse.2
Thrush is a condition that occurs when the same fungus—Candida—is present in the mouth or throat. It can manifest in adults or infants and is considered a minor health problem for individuals with a normal immune system.3 While it can be transmitted through saliva, this is very rare—and like yeast infections, essential oils for thrush can also be used in conjunction with antifungal medication to reduce the symptoms of dry mouth, soreness and white patches.
In recent years, there’s been a growing interest in alternative treatments for yeast infections, such as using essential oils for fungus-based conditions. This article will outline the best essential oils for Candida to safely relieve these symptoms.
Antifungal Essential Oils
Used for centuries for their medicinal benefits, essential oils have been proven to be highly antibacterial. Antifungal essential oils, however, . Because they are a safe and natural way to treat symptoms, essential oils for fungal infections have proven to be a welcome alternative to over-the-counter medications that often come with unpleasant side effects. Additionally, some fungi are resistant to—or can become immune to—certain antibiotics.4 Essential oils with antifungal properties can be used for multiple skin infections, and include cinnamon essential oil and clove essential oil. Lemongrass oil is an effective essential oil for athlete’s foot that can also aid in combatting itchiness and irritation in yeast infections and thrush.
Clove essential oil is considered one of the best essential oils for oral thrush, and was used by Ayurvedic healers as an anti-microbial medicine to kill bacteria in food. As a highly effective essential oil for fungal infection treatment, clove essential oil can be used to reduce symptoms of oral thrush and help maintain a healthy balance of bacteria. For use, clove oil can be diluted in equal parts with a carrier oil such as jojoba, avocado, or almond oil and applied topically—not internally—to the affected area.
The properties of lemongrass essential oil make it one of the best antifungal essential oils due to its antibiotic-like affects. Additionally, the antifungal properties in lemongrass essential oil can also help relieve oral thrush and vaginal yeast infections. Studies have shown that when applied topically, lemongrass essential oil can be used as an effective antifungal oil when diluted with carrier oil and applied carefully to the infection.5
Cinnamon essential oil, in addition to its great antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, has been used as an antifungal essential oil alternative to fungicides as its been proven to treat fungi-infested crops. In a 2016 study, cinnamon essential oil was proven to be one of the most effective essential oils for candida overgrowth, and inhibited almost 50% of the Candida isolates collected from affected patients.6
What Essential Oil is Good for Yeast Infections?
For treatment of a yeast infection, essential oils can be used as a natural remedy to aid in the suppression of uncomfortable symptoms of itching, soreness and redness around the vaginal area. Candida essential oils are useful when diluted and applied topically (coconut oil is suggested for its own antifungal properties) or added to a shallow bath. Antifungal oils can even be combined for additional healing benefits.
The best essential oils for vaginal yeast infection treatment from the above list include clove essential oil and cinnamon essential oil, as both have proven effectiveness against increased candida growth in the vagina. Thanks to the advances in essential oil research, the following essential oils for vaginal itching and other symptoms of yeast infections can be also be used as an effective natural treatment.
Tea Tree Oil for Yeast Infection
Tea tree essential oil is of the most popular essential oils for vaginal health, thanks to its ability to inhibit several species of Candida. Using tea tree oil, yeast infection treatment has been shown to be effective in several clinical studies. One study in The Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy concluded that using tea tree oil for vaginal infections was effective and had potential as an active anti-candida topical treatment. In addition to treating a yeast infection, tea tree oil has also been shown to be effective against other common fungal conditions.7 Today, tea tree oil cream for yeast infection treatment can also be found as an over-the-counter product.
For users wondering how to use tea tree oil for yeast infections, it’s imperative to be careful when applying it topically to the skin. It must be heavily diluted whenever used (1-5%), and should never be consumed. One of the best—and safest—ways to naturally cure a yeast infection is by diluting 2-4 drops of tea tree oil in 2 Tsp. of carrier oil such as olive oil or sweet almond oil. Alternatively, users can add 5-8 drops of tea tree essential oil to warm, running water for a therapeutic tea tree oil bath for yeast infection symptoms.
For those wondering how long to use tea tree oil for yeast infections, the combination mentioned above should be gently applied to the infected area for 1-3 times a day. Consult your doctor prior to using any essential oils for fungal infections.
Lavender Oil for Yeast Infection
Much like tea tree oil, lavender essential oil is also well-known for its antifungal properties. In fact, when using lavender oil, candida and other fungal infections were found to be significantly improved, according to a 2015 study.8 Popular for its anti-anxiety and calming effects, lavender is one of the most powerful antifungal, natural oils to demonstrate positive effects on yeast infections.
When treating yeast infection with essential oils, it’s imperative to properly dilute them in a carrier oil such as jojoba or coconut oil, and apply externally to the area.
Thieves Oil for Yeast Infection
Thieves oil is a combination of popular essential oils, and yeast infection healing properties can be found in each. The thieves essential oil blend contains clove essential oil, lemon essential oil, cinnamon essential oil, eucalyptus essential oil and rosemary essential oil. In terms of yeast infection treatment with thieves oil, candida growth can be inhibited when applied topically after dilution with a carrier oil.
Eucalyptus Oil Candida
The benefits of eucalyptus essential oil have been used in traditional medicine for years for its antifungal and antibacterial properties. Known to reduce allergens, relieve respiratory symptoms, address pneumonia, and even aid in pain control, eucalyptus essential oil is a potent remedy for many ailments. For relief of yeast infection symptoms, eucalyptus oil is not only used in thieves essential oil, but can be applied on its own topically with a carrier oil to inhibit bacterial strains such as Candida. One study concluded the effectiveness of eucalyptus essential oil against 22 types of bacteria and 11 fungi, suggesting another advantage to using natural oils when combatting symptoms of fungal infections.9
Scientific Research Referenced in this Article
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017, January). Fungal Diseases. Retrieved May 16, 2017 from https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/index.html – View reference
- University of Maryland Medical Center. (2015 December). Candidiasis. Retrieved May 22, 2017, from http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/condition/candidiasis
- Mayo Clinic. (2014, August 12). Oral Thrush. Retrieved May 25, 2016 from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/oral-thrush/basics/definition/con-20022381
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2016, October). Antifungal Resistance. Retrieved May 16, 2017, from https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/antifungal-resistance.html – View reference
- Dias, N., Dias, M. C., Cavaleiro, C., Sousa, M. C., Lima, N., & Machado, M. (2016). Oxygenated monoterpenes-rich volatile oils as potential antifungal agents for dermatophytes.Natural Product Research, 31(4), 460 – 464. doi:1080/14786419.2016.1195379
- Prabuseenivasan, S., Jayakumar, M., Ignacimuthu, S. (2006 November). In Vitro Antibacterial Activity of Some Plant Essential Oils. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, pp.3. DOI: 10.1186/1472-6882-6-39.
- Braun, L. (2007 January). Tea-tree. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/299270391_Tea-treeJournal of Complementary Medicine 6(1):64-66. – View reference
- Behmanesh, F., Pasha, H., Sefidgar, A., Taghizadeh, M., Moghadamnia, Ali, Rad, H., Shirkhani, L. (2015). Antifungal Effect of Lavender Essential Oil and Clotrimazole on Candida albicans. Scienfitifica. DOI:1155/2015/261397
- Pattnaik, S., Subramanyam, VR., Kole, C. (1996). Antibacterial and antifungal activity of ten essential oils in vitro. Microbios 1996;86(349):237-46. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8893526