Fungal Infections and Athlete’s Foot

a red mushroom, not a representation of the fungus we're discussing here though

Fungal infections are embarrassing and unsightly, especially if they occur on the fingers instead of the feet. In severe cases, fungal infections can become debilitating. There are two types of fungal infections that afflict humans. Tinea infections, including ringworm, jock itch, nail infections, and athlete’s foot. The second kind of fungal infections are caused by yeast. Yeast infections include candida, thrush, and vaginal yeast.

Ringworm is the most common form of fungi (tinea), from a group of organisms known as dermatophytes. These organisms are highly contagious, and can be found in many innocent places. Tinea infections can be found on humans, animals, or in ordinary soil. People pick up these fungus infections from tainted surfaces such as locker rooms, swimming pools, and other people or animals that are infected.

An overabundance of yeast (candida) in our intestinal tract, known as dysbiosis, causes an imbalance in the body’s natural flora (good bacteria) composition which defends against fungal overgrowth. Taking antibiotics is one of the most common ways to get dysbiosis. Supplementing with oral probiotics (acidophilus and bifidobacterium) is an effective way to treat yeast overgrowth

There are also a number of antifungal herbs that have demonstrated remarkable activity against fungal infections. According to famed ethnobotanist Dr. Jim Duke, the mixture of anti-fungal herbs always works better than single herbs.

DIET

In practically every case, food allergies play a huge role in the incidence and reoccurrence of fungal and yeast infections. The most common food allergens include: dairy products, wheat and gluten, nuts, corn, eggs, oranges, and fruit juices (refined sugar.) It is not uncommon for individuals exhibiting a sugar and carbohydrate sensitivity to suffer from fungus under the nails.

It may be wise to avoid other foods that induce candida, including alcohol, peanuts, cashews, mushrooms, cheese and wines. In some cases, persistent nail infection can be caused by an inability of the pancreas to adequately break down simple carbohydrates into energy. This can be caused by a calcium and magnesium imbalance in the body. In some cases it can be caused by a nutrient deficiency of B complex vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin A, and folic acid.

The Elimination Diet is a helpful tool in identifying certain food allergens that may be a concomitant cause of certain bacterial infections.

Remember that diet, nutrition, exercise, stress management, and environment play an important role in any type of infection. In addition to eating a healthier diet of natural, whole foods, and supplementing with appropriate vitamins and minerals.

RISKS

Further outbreaks and exacerbations of fungal infections can be triggered by humidity, stress and anxiety, scratching, low resistance, and/or antibiotic use and overuse.

There are certain disease states that cause the patient to be more prone to fungal infections and candida. They include diabetes, HIV, cancer, and autoimmune diseases.

In certain cases, high tissue levels of copper (toxicity) can lead to fungal infections. It may be beneficial to perform a Hair Analysis in order to determine copper levels.

SUPPLEMENT PROTOCOL

FOR TOPICAL INFECTIONS

  1. TEA TREE OIL
    This potent oil from Australia is active against most forms of fungus, including candida, athlete’s foot, ringworm and toenail fungus. Tea tree oil has shown an 80 percent cure rate when used for up to 16 weeks. Tea tree oil may be used in combination with other topical creams such as aloe vera and calendula cream. Dosage: Apply freely 2-3 times a day. CAUTION: Do not take tea tree oil internally. A mouthwash or gargle may be utilized.
  2. OREGANO OIL
    This versatile herb can be affective in treating E-Coli, pneumonia, fungus, and candida. A few drops may be dissolved under the tongue daily to treat fungus in the body. Dosage: Apply topically 2-3 times a day.
  3. COLLOIDAL SILVER
    A natural antibiotic that destroys bacteria, viruses and fungi. Colloidal silver also promotes healing and some regeneration of tissues. Dosage: Usual dose is one teaspoon initially, followed by one teaspoon 4 times a day for adults. The solution can also be applied topically and painted on affected nails or skin.
  4. DMSO
    Although illegal in some states, when able to obtain it may be applied in a 50-70 percent concentrated solution.
  5. JACKASS BITTERS
    A bitter tincture imported from Belize. The tincture may be applied topically to treat resistant fungal infections. In addition, one teaspoon may be taken internally twice a day for 2 weeks at a time. For information call toll-free 1-877-289-7478 or visit the website: www.nutrifarmacy.com.
  6. PAU D’ARCO
    An Amazonian herb that is known to contain at least three anti-fungal compounds. Dosage: May be taken in tea or capsule form. Frequently the used tea bags are place directly on top of the toenail or fingernail fungus for effectiveness.
  7. DRAGON’S BLOOD
    This Amazonian herb also known as Sangre de grago has anti-viral and wound healing properties. It is especially useful against viral sores caused by herpes. Also Dragon’s blood is used to heal infections that may arise from cuts and abrasions. Dosage: Only under the supervision of a practitioner familiar with this herb.
  8. GARLIC
    Garlic extract is very potent when applied topically. It may boost the effectiveness of pharmaceutical or natural anti-fungal products. Dosage: Apply times a day
  9. UNDECYLENIC ACID
    This acid is the active ingredient in Desinex cream and a number of other over-the-counter topical anti-fungals. It is effective against candida, thrush, and vaginal and gastrointestional candidiasis. Dosage: As directed.
  10. OTHER TOPICALS HERBS
    Other topical mixtures may contain herbs and minerals such as Goldenseal, Dandelion, Garlic, Copper sulfate, Sulfuric acid, Licorice, and St. John’s wort. Dosage: See a qualified practitioner before using.

FOR ORAL USE

  1. OREGANO
    An herb that can be used internally as well as topically to decrease internal fungal infections. Available in capsules or tincture form. Dosage: 1-2 capsules daily, as directed; the tincture can be place under the tongue as directed on the package. Oregano may need to be taken for a few months in order to achieve effectiveness.
  2. GARLIC
    An herb with excellent abilities as an antiseptic and an anti-fungal. Scientists in India have worked with garlic compounds and found them almost as effective against mildew fungus as several pharmaceutical anti-fungals. Dosage: 2-6 cloves daily; supplements of garlic should be taken as directed on the package.
  3. VITAMIN C with QUERCETIN
    These antioxidant vitamins help to decrease outbreaks of fungus and yeast. Vitamin C is also beneficial to supplement with for maintenance purposes. Dosage: 1,000-4,000 mg daily.
  4. ECHINACEA
    Echinacea has been used effectively for long-term use to improve immune function and decreasing fungal infections from recurring. In some studies, echinacea was found to be toxic to fungus and increases the number of candida killed by white blood cells. Dosage: As directed by a qualified practitioner.
  5. LICORICE
    Research reveals that licorice has at least 25 fungicidal compounds, more than any other herb known. Patients with chronic hepatitis C often experience oral lichen planus, and inflammatory disease characterized by hyperkeratosis of the oral mucosa.  IV licorice was successful in treating this fungal disease. Dosage: A tea can be made with 5-7 teaspoons of powdered licorice root in a cup of boiling water and simmer for 20 minutes. Capsules or tablet supplements should be taken as directed.
  6. OLIVE LEAF EXTRACT
    An ancient herb that has potent natural anti-fungal activity. Olive leaf extract can be taken for extended periods without known side effects. Dosage: As directed on package.
  7. BLACK WALNUT
    One study found that black walnut from fresh husk destroyed candida better than pharmaceutical drugs. Dosage: Available in tincture, use as directed.
  8. GOLDENSEAL (BERBERINE)
    Berberine is a powerful anti-fungal and antibacterial compound that is found in barberry, Oregon grape and goldenseal. Be careful that local skin reactions may occur in some patients. Dosage: As directed.
  9. LEMONGRASS
    Scientists have demonstrated that lemongrass has significant fungicidal activity against several infection-causing fungi. Dosage: Drink one cup of tea daily or apply spent tea bags directed to the affected area.
  10. COLOSTRUM
    The pre-milk liquid produced by cows during the first 24-48 hours after birth. This potent immune-boosting substance may help to prevent recurrent candida especially in children. Dosage: As directed.
  11. B-COMPLEX VITAMINS
    These water-soluble vitamins help to regenerate cells that may be compromised by infections of any type. B vitamins also activate enzymes needed for healing. Dosage: 50-100 mg daily.
  12. CALENDULA and THUJA
    Are effective in treating fungal infections of the nails and skin. Also the combination can be used in a mouthwash. Dosage: As a tincture as directed by practitioner.
  13. ZINC
    This mineral helps bring vitamin A to skin level and may be deficient in patients suffering from fungal infections. Dosage: 20-50 mg daily.
  14. ASTRAGALUS
    This Chinese herb is excellent to prevent recurrent fungal infections in people with low immune systems. Dosage: As directed on package.
  15. VITAMIN E
    A fat-soluble vitamin that has potent antioxidant activity and may be applied topically to decrease fungal infections. Dosage: 400-800 IU daily.
  16. LARCH ARABINOGALACTAN
    Supplemental larch comes from the inner bark of the Western larch tree that contains arabinogalactans (which are dense sugars) and soluble fiber. Larch can stimulate the immune system by activating monocytes, a group of whiteblood cells. Dosage: As directed on package.

 

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Duke, JA. The Green Pharmacy, Rodale Press, Emmaus, PA. 1997.

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Mills, S, Bone, K. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy. .Churchill Livingstone. Sydney, Australia. 2000.

Marian, JB. Anti-Aging Manual. Information Pioneers. S. Woodstock, CT. 1996

Siegel-Maier, K. Fungal Infections. Alive #205, November, 1999. Pp. 79-81

Undecylenic Acid. Alternative Medicine Review-Monographs- Volume One, Thorne Research, Dover, ID. 2002.

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