Learn something new every day More Info... by email
Several herbs have proven reputations for having astute antibacterial properties. Though many are used in topical creams and salves to fight external infections, others can be used individually or in concert for a batch of antifungal tea. These drinks may include more-unpalatable antifungal agents like garlic or goldenseal, though they are usually confined to those with pleasant aromas and tastes like chamomile, grapefruit seeds, lemongrass, black walnut and Pau d'Arco.
The chief fungus with which an herbal remedy like antifungal tea will do battle is Candida albicans. This can infect the mucus membranes, skin, digestive tract and reproductive system. A 2005 study by biologists at the California Polytechnic State University compared mainstream antifungal treatments like Amphotericin B and miconazole nitrate salt with herbal remedies, such as an extract of grapefruit seeds, tea tree oil and garlic juice. Though the latter two treatments showed only inhibitory qualities in high concentrations, grapefruit seed extract actually showed antifungal inhibition that superseded more conventional treatments.
Antifungal tea can be purchased from health food stores, from herbalists or online. A typical mixture will often contain a diverse medley of herbs that have long been used as antibacterial agents. Some, like grapefruit seed extract, goldenseal and the flower known as Pau d'arco, have scientifically proven records for fighting various fungal infections, from colds and influenze to diarrhea and yeast infections. Others may have lesser studied antifungal properties, but have been used for generations as medicinal tea ingredients. Many of these like peppermint, black walnut, cinnamon, peach tree extract, olive leaf, sage and flowers like chamomile or lavender also have reported antiseptic and antibacterial characteristics when ingested.
Some herbal remedy enthusiasts forgo store-bought antifungal tea and concoct their own at home. This requires not only a healthy garden and a reliable herb dealer, but also the knowledge of which herbs are flavorful and non-toxic enough to use in oral doses. Once an assortment of flavorful herbs with antifungal qualities have been gathered, they can be placed in a tea sieve to be steeped in boiled water for several minutes. Some of the remedies will come as extracts or tinctures, which can be added to the steeping tea at a dosage recommended by the manufacturer.
Some herbal antifungal agents are not suited for antifungal tea. Remedies like tea tree oil can be toxic when ingested in higher concentrations and should only be used topically. Others like oils of oregano or pine appear to be safely ingested, but probably will not be tasty in a tea.