Some of these antifungal herbs are powerful. Talk to your health care practitioner before beginning any herbal treatment, especially if you are pregnant, have medical conditions or take any medications which may be adversely affected by the herbs’ medicinal qualities.
Also important to note: Some plants have a wide range of effects, which differ depending on what part of the plant is used. For example, the leaves of a plant may possess different qualities than the root, seed or flower.
Herbs can be taken in a capsule, tablet or tincture. Some are bitter, astringent or pungent to the point of not being palatable at all. Many have a truly pleasant taste and are soothing and even delicious when steeped as a tea or a decoction.
Some are tonic in nature, some help the body cleanse, some aid digestion, some can be used to help relieve specific symptoms.
Some are good for taking internally, while others are more suited for use in topical applications, whether in an oil, cream, or as a compress.
Though I’m no herbalist, I’ve done a lot of reading and searching for antifungal herbs. What follows is some basic information about these particular herbs. If you research any one of these you can learn much more about their particular properties, benefits, possible side effects or contra-indications. Talk to a professional herbalist for proper dosing instructions.
Also, please listen to your own inner wisdom, and while using herbs to boost your progress let a healthy diet be your number one remedy for overcoming the yeast and keeping it in its place.
Black Walnut (hull) - Black Walnut Hull is one of the most common ingredients in antifungal antiparasitic, antibacterial and herbal formulations. It’s a natural antiseptic. Black walnut hulls and leaves contain a number of active ingredients, including the omega-3 fatty acid alpha linolenic acid (ALA), sterols, tannins, quinone, iodine and vitamin C in the form of ascorbic acid.
Black walnut is used for canker sores as well as syphilis and herpes sores. It has laxative qualities which make it helpful in relieving constipation, which is a common complaint among people suffering from candida overgrowth. It is also used for skin conditions like acne, canker sores, and psoriasis.
You can take it internally or use the tincture topically on nail and skin fungal infections.
Barberry - This one of the three most common western medicinal roots containing berberine, which has potent antifungal properties. Berberine demonstrates significant antifungal activity while leaving beneficial microflora in the gut intact. It's also good for treating diarrhea. Research has shown that berberine can effectively prevent candida yeasts from producing lipase, an enzyme which they use to help them colonize.
You can take it internally or use the tincture topically on nail and skin fungal infections.
Cajeput (White Tea Tree) – see Tea Tree.
Calendula – Calendula is a remarkable herb. It’s also commonly known as marigold. Some of the beneficial properties of calendula include antifungal, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, lymphatic, and astringent.
A popular ingredient in lotions and salves, calendula used topically for fungal infections including diaper rash, as well as for inflammation, bruising, minor burns, bleeding, ulcerations and slow-healing wounds.
Taken internally it can be helpful in relieving menstrual cramps, gastric and duodenal ulcers, gall bladder troubles, and general indigestion.
Cassia Alata (not to be confused with Senna Cassia) There are numerous species of cassia, so its important to know which one you're getting.
Cassia Alata contains anthraquinones which demonstrate antifungal, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities.
Cassia leaves, bark and flowers are all used in varying formulations.
Senna Cassia is revered for its laxative effect. The Senna Cassia leaves are very strong, and can sometimes produce intestinal cramping and spasms. The Senna seed pods are more mild, and are therefore a gentler laxative.
When I was having a lot of IBS trouble, and also for use prior to doing liver detoxifications (when you want the large intestine to be in good working order) I found Senna leaf tea to be very helpful.
Cedar (Leaf, berry, wood) - Cedar leaves act as an antifungal, antiviral, antiseptic, expectorant, and lymphatic cleanser.
Often recommended to remove plantar’s warts. Also used to treat acne, dandruff, dermatitis, eczema, oily skin, hair loss, skin eruptions, ulcers, arthritis, rheumatism, bronchitis, catarrh, congestion, coughs, cystitis, nervous tension and stress-related conditions.
A common name for the berry of the Red Cedar tree is Juniper. Cedar berry, used in combination with other herbs, is used to treat pancreatic dysfunction and insulin production.
It also is a fantastic ingredient for a soothing and wonderfully fragrant soap! Click the cedar link below if you are interested in trying in a truly lovely soap made with cedar.
Cedar wood chips, shavings and blocks are typically sold as natural moth repellants for your closet. Also used as a tick and flea repellant for pets.
Use topically for fungal infections of the nails. Dilute in a carrier oil to apply to the skin. Only take cedar leaf or cedar wood oil internally under the guidance of a qualified practitioner.
Chaga – this is actually a form of fungus that grows on mature birch trees in colder climates of the northern hemisphere. It is slow brewed into a tea reminiscent of coffee. Chaga has been used for many generations in Siberia, Russia and other parts of Asia. It is revered for its anticancer properties, anti-inflammatory effects, and immune boosting abilities, including anti candida benefits. It is also taken to lower blood pressure.
Chamomile – Chamomile has antifungal, antibacterial, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s widely known for its natural sedative qualities. Two of its most common uses are to treat wounds and as a sleep aid.
A chamomile bath can be soothing and relaxing before bedtime. A cup of chamomile tea is a popular night-time tradition in many households.
Roman Chamomile is thought to be more potent than the common variety, known as German Chamomile, but either one will possess beneficial qualities.
Chamomile is a member of the ragweed family, and triggers allergic reactions in some people. It may not be the best choice for someone who is prone to these types of allergies, and should definitely be avoided during ragweed season for anyone who is allergic. If you notice any itching or other allergic type symptoms, discontinue use.
You can take chamomile tea or tincture internally or use it topically.
Chaparral – The beneficial properties of Chaparral include antifungal, antibacterial, antioxidant, antiseptic, antiparasitic, alterative, bitter tonic, diuretic, expectorant, immune stimulant, and laxative.
Chaparral is sometimes referred to as a natural antibiotic and is frequently used to treat colds, flu and diarrhea.
Though some warn against internal use for fear of liver damage, it is used in numerous detox blends of teas and tinctures with no side effects reported. Problems have occurred only when someone took high doses of chaparral for extended periods of time.
Topical treatment using chaparral is excellent for fungal infections including those of the skin, scalp, diaper rash, and nails. It's also highly beneficial in the treatment of cold cores, herpes, and eczema.
Chaparral is an excellent ingredient in salves and ointments.
Cinnamon (Bark) – Cinnamon shows antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties. It increases restricted blood flow demonstrating mild anticoagulant properties.
Cinnamon is excellent in tea and cooking.
Cinnamon oil can be mixed with a carrier oil to apply topically, and it smells heavenly!
Cloves - Cloves contain some of the same phenols as Oil of Oregano, namely carvacrol and thymol, among others, which are highly antifungal in nature, as well as antimicrobial, antioxidant, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory.
The effects of clove oil, including its antimicrobial and antifungal properties, have been known and recorded for thousands of years. You'll even find a product in the oral hygiene section of most drug stores today, made from the essential oil of cloves, used in the topical treatment and pain relief of tooth and gum infections. It helps ease the pain, and the antiseptic qualities of the cloves fight infection.
Make clove tea, use cloves in cooking, apply clove oil to fungal infections of the fingernail and toenail, dilute in a carrier oil to use on the skin.
Fennel (seed) – The oil of fennel seeds is said to have mildly antifungal properties. Fennel seeds and teas are commonly used as a digestive aid, carminative (reduce gas, bloating and flatulence), colic, expectorant, appetite suppressant (or in some cases an appetite stimulant), antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, menstrual regulator, and external use for releif of rheumatism and arthritis.
Enjoy fennel seeds in your cooking, and as a pleasant tasting tea. Use the oil externally on fungal infections of the fingernail and toenail, and dilute slightly in a carrier oil to apply to the skin, if no discomfort occurs then you can use a stronger dose.
Frankincense – Therapeutic properties of this revered herb include antifungal, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, astringent, sedative; clears lung congestion, helps heal scars, helps acne, decreases gas and indigestion, brings on menstruation and supports the immune system. Highly valued for its aromatherapeutic properties – frankincense is often used in incense and perfume. Frankincense is edible, but only under the guidance of a knowledgeable practitioner.
Use the oil mixed with a carrier oil to apply to the skin.
Garlic - Use it raw to get the medicinal effects.
For children or anyone who can’t take the taste of raw garlic – Puree it in a blender with a little water or oil and apply it to the bottom of the feet. This is an age old method which allows the beneficial agents of the garlic to absorb into the body via the tender skin.
For vaginal yeast infections: Use a garlic crusher to press a clove of garlic into about a quarter cup of liquid coconut oil (don’t make the oil any warmer than body temperature). Let the mixture steep for a few hours, then strain all the solids out of the oil through a fine mesh strainer or unbleached cheesecloth. Soak an organic cotton tampon in the oil until fully saturated and insert overnight, wearing protective garments to bed. Remove in the morning and continue to wear protective garments throughout the day, as some of the oil will take a while before naturally making its way back out.
For fungal infections of the skin or nails - Puree raw garlic in a blender with a little water or oil and apply it topically to the affected area up to three times a day.
Geranium - Geranium exhibits antifungal, antiviral, analgesic, antidepressant, antiseptic, astringent, deodorant, and antibacterial properties.
It’s a common herb used in aromatherapy and in skin care for its restorative effect on sebaceous gland activity, helping to normalize oily skin, oily scalp, dermatitis, psoriasis and eczema. Also used for treating scar tissue and helping wounds to heal faster.
Geranium is known for its supportive qualities for pancreatic and adrenal functions, and is reported to dilate the bile ducts, therefore supporting liver function and helpful in cases of fatty liver and hepatitis.
There are a number of varieties of scented geranium which are great in a garden. My favorite is Rose Geranium. The scent is intoxicating, it really brightens the spirits and soothes the mood. It’s excellent in a bath.
Can be taken internally, and used topically.
Goldenseal – Goldenseal is another of the three most common western medicinal roots containing berberine, which has potent antifungal properties.
Berberine demonstrates significant anti-fungal activity while leaving beneficial microflora in the gut intact. It's is also good for diarrhea. Research has shown that berberine can effectively prevent candida yeasts from producing lipase, an enzyme which they use to help them colonize.
You can take goldenseal internally or apply it topically.
Guajava - Guajava demonstrates antifungal, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, laxative, and analgesic properties.
It is used to treat herpes ulcers, ringworm, dermatitis, and urinary tract infections.
Guajava is related to cassia and senna, and contains anthraquinones found in those other species as well.
Bark, roots, leaves and flowers are all used in varying formulations.
Guajava, like most Cassia and Senna plants, contain a group of chemicals called anthraquinones. These chemicals are well known for their laxative effect.
Henna - Though most commonly used as a natural hair and skin dye, henna also contains a compound called lawsone, which demonstrates antibacterial and antifungal capabilities.
Although it has this capability, it’s most commonly known as a natural dye for skin and hair. Well, it's nice to know that when you color your hair with henna it's also helping prevent dandruff!
Maybe you could get really creative and design a henna tattoo to temporarily cover (and help heal) a fungal infection of the skin? Hmmm.
Lavender – Lavender has antifungal and antibacterial qualities which make it all the more reason to have some around the house.
It’s good for the respiratory system, headaches and migraines, stress, burns, stings and insect bites, and as a sleep aid. Lavender oil is good for skin eruptions and is frequently used for treating pimples.
Lavender is awesome in a bath.
Try a light lavender spritz (lavender essence in a water spray, also called a hydrosol)on your face before bedtime, or on the sheets and pillow, before bedtime.
Lemongrass - Lemongrass is antifungal, antibacterial, anti-parasitic and anti-inflammatory. It helps to relieve digestive ailments and fluid retention, helps the body regenerate connective tissues and ligaments, dilates blood vessels, improves circulation and promotes lymph flow. It’s also used to treat bladder infections, varicose veins, promote mental alertness and clarity, sinus and respiratory ailments
Fresh lemongrass is available in many grocery stores nowadays and makes a fantastic addition to Asian dishes.
Lemongrass tea is divine. Lemongrass oil is popular in aromatherapy blends.
You can also apply it topically, but you may want to dilute it in a carrier oil, as using it straight can produce a red, itchy “rash”. It’s not so much a true rash as an increase of blood flow to the area, but still, it can be uncomfortable. In that case you can grind or grate fresh lemongrass and blend it with a little coconut, almond or avocado oil.
Alternatively, use lemongrass tea or tincture for internal or external application.
Licorice – Licorice Root contains numerous fungicidal compounds, although its not one of the more widely known antifungal herbs.
For fungal infections of the skin or nails - You can make a strong decoction of powdered licorice root in a small amount of water, simmering on a low rolling boil for about 20 minutes. Apply the liquid to the affected area up to three times a day.
Licorice can increase blood pressure so be careful if you want to take it internally, and please talk to a doctor first if you have elevated blood pressure levels.
Myrrh – Myrrh shows numerous beneficial properties including anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antimicrobial, antiseptic, astringent, expectorant, and its ability to relax the senses without sedating.
Lovely in a bath or added to massage oil, it can also be applied topically to fungal infections of the fingernail and toenail, and diluted in a carrier oil for skin applications.
Neem – Neem demonstrates antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral, antiseptic, and antiparasitic qualitites. The oil of the Neem nut is one of the oldest and most popular medicinal substances in India. It’s added to toothpastes, soaps, shampoos and skin care products.
The list of ailments Neem is used to treat is too long to list here. Let’s just say it has a strong and widely upheld reputation as somewhat of a cure-all.
Neem oil has a strong odor and tends to solidify at cooler temperatures the way that coconut oil does. It is often sold as a pre-blended oil to enhance pourability, and to reduce its strong odor.
Topically this oil is exceptional for its healing benefits on fungal infections, psoriasis, dermatitis, excema and such. It can be taken internally, but always under the close supervision of a knowledgeable practitioner.
Olive Leaf – Olive leaf extract has strong antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial, antiviral, antiparasitic and antioxidant properties.
It’s often used as a natural defense against the onset of a cold or flu with good results, and has also been demonstrated to have blood sugar lowering effects.
Olive leaf extract can be taken internally or used topically.
Make a tea of olive leaves, a poultice out of olive leaf powder or take olive leaf capsules.
Oregano – Oregano, the herb, is a general tonic and immune booster. But the real key lies in the oil of organic or wild harvested oregano, commonly called Oregano Oil, or Oil of Oregano which contains two potent phenols - carvacrol and thymol. These two phenols work synergystically creating an excellent anti-infectious agent.
Oil of Oregano taken internally is helpful for hayfever and ragweed allergic reactions, supports the lymphatic system, nerves and blood.
Used topically it has marked effects on fungal infections of the fingernail and toenail. Diluted in a carrier oil, it is helpful for fungal skin infections including dandruff and dermatitis.
You can take oregano oil by putting a few drops in a small glass of water, just "knock it back", followed by a full glass of water.
If you don't care for the strong taste (and slight burning sensation which can occur on the lips), make capsules by using a dropper and filling empty capsules with a few drops of oil.
Make sure you dilute for applying to the skin, it's really strong.
Pau D'Arco Pau D’Arco tea is has antifungal benefits, and is used in many parts of the world to treat Candida and other fungal infections.
Pau D’Arco has been used as an herbal medicine dating as far back as the time of the Incas. In the more recent past (during the past 50 years or so) Pau D Arco, and certain isolated phytochemical compounds of the plant (lapachol and beta lapachone, for instance), have been tested extensively in medical and scientific laboratory environments. Results of these tests have documented effective anti-cancerous, anti-tumor and anti-leukemic properties. Not bad!
You can drink Pau D’Arco tea daily, even numerous times each day, as it has a milder effect that some of the more potent herbs. The flavor is pleasant.
It can also be applied topically by soaking a cloth in the tea and making a compress.
Pau D'Arco Tea recipe and more detailed info.
Peppermint – Peppermint is lesser known for its properties as an antifungal, antiviral, antibacterial, (although is has been demonstrated in numerous studies). It is more widely used as a stimulant, tonic, anti-spasmodic, stomachic, and is probably most recognized as a carminative (to reduce symptoms of gas, bloating and flatulence).
Peppermint tea is one of my personal favorites.
A peppermint spritz (peppermint essence in a water spray, also called a hydrosol) makes a revitalizing body spray.
Peppermint oil can be taken internally, or mixed with a carrier oil and applied topically.
Pine – All pine oils are antiseptic, anti-fungal and detoxifying. Adding a few drops to natural cleaning solutions along with a few drops of lemon oil or lemon eucalyptus oil is excellent for helping rid the bathroom of mold and bacteria. And it has aromatherapeutic properties so you may even enjoy your housework a little more!
Not recommended for use on the skin unless diluted very well in a carrier oil. Blend pine oil in a carrier oil and apply to the soles of the feet for easy absorption internally if you don't want to eat or drink it.
To benefit from its detoxifying effects, use pine oil in a sauna. It will enter the body when you breathe in and then help expel toxins while you sweat.
Pine is an excellent expectorant. When you have a cough, cold or bronchitis, add a few drops of pine oil to a pot of just boiled water and drape a towel over your head while you breathe in the hot steam. It will help release mucous and ease breathing.
Tinctures and syrups made with pine are excellent for stuffy nose , mucous and phlegm.
A pine spritz (hydrosol) is another invigorating skin toner, and especially good for problem skin.
Ravensara – Ravensara is anti-fungal, antiseptic, anti-infectious, anti-viral, and antibacterial, as well as a good expectorant and supporting to the nerves and respiratory system.
Ravensara oil is used for the treatment of numerous ailments including fungal infections, bronchitis, herpes, mononucleosis, insomnia, sinusitis & viral hepatitis.
Ravensara has a woody scent and goes well with sandalwood, cedar and/or orange scents like mandarin in aromatherapy blends.
Rosemary – Rosemary demonstrates antifungal, antibacterial, antiseptic and antiparasitic properties. French hospitals used rosemary to disinfect their air until quite recently. Rosemary oil is added to certain foods to prevent spoilage, and adds a hint of nice flavor!
Rosemary is also good for nerves, has a stimulating effect and supports the endocrine gland system.
We all know rosemary’s great in cooking, and rosemary essential oil can be mixed with a carrier oil to apply topically.
Rosemary oil mixed with a warmed carrier oil is really nice to rub into the scalp for treating itchy dandruff and dermatitis, as well as a joint rub.
The same mixture is also great as a hot oil treatment for dry or damaged hair.
Sage - Sage is mildly antifungal, as well a good antiseptic and astringent. It is used to treat sore throat, gingivitis, rheumatism and arthritis.
A mild sage tea can ease stress, menstrual cramps, promote good digestion, and help regulate menstrual flow.
Sage oil can be applied directly to fungal infections fingernails and toenails, and mixed with a carrier oil to apply topically.
Sage tea can be applied directly to the skin.
White Sage grows abundantly in the southwestern U.S. and has been used ceremonially for many generations. My favorite use for white sage is as a natural incense. There's something very special about that aroma.
Spilanthes - Although mostly known as an ornamental plant it also shows dramatic effects on fungal infections.
Spilanthes has anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties. It also stimulates the flow of saliva and acts as an oral antiseptic reducing swelling, decay, and mouth sores caused by viruses.
The leaves are chewed for their numbing effect to reduce pain from toothache.
Spilanthes demonstrates immune-enhancing components chemically similar to Echinancea.
Spilanthes can be taken in a tincture form or used topically to treat the skin and nails.
Spruce - (see Pine)
Tajetes –(Tajette) The tagetes flower is a potent antifungal herb most commonly used to treat bunions, calluses, corns and fungal infections of the foot.
Use tajetes oil externally on fungal infections of the fingernail and toenail, and dilute before applying to skin.
Thuja – (Thuya) Cedar leaf. See Cedar.
Use Thuja externally to treat warts and fungal infections of the fingernail and toenail. Dilute in a carrier oil before applying to the skin.
Only take Thuja internally under the guidance of a qualified practitioner.
Tea Tree – Tea tree oil is a powerful antiseptic that is very useful against fungal skin infections, including athlete's foot and yeast infections.
For nail infections – Apply a few drops of oil directly to the affected area up to three times a day.
For fungal skin infections – Dilute it in a carrier oil such as coconut, almond or avocado oil.
For vaginal yeast infections, you can soak an organic cotton tampon in a diluted tea tree/liquid coconut oil mixture (start with only a few drops of tea tree oil mixed with the coconut oil to minimize chance of discomfort) and leave in for an hour at first. Don't heat the oils any warmer than body temp when making the mixture. If you experience any discomfort, discontinue use, or try again with more carrier oil added. If no discomfort occurs, you can do the same procedure and leave in overnight. But remember - diet is key. No sense in doing topical treatments if the diet is going to keep feeding the yeast.
Don’t take tea tree oil internally on a regular basis, as it can be toxic, and even lethal in larger doses. It is safe to use occasionally for oral treatment of thrush, but there are so many other fantastic natural treatments which are perfectly safe to eat or drink, save tea tree oil for topical applications.
Turmeric - Turmeric is demonstrated to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and anti-cancer properties. It is taken as a blood purifier, and seems to have blood sugar lowering effects.
Turmeric has been shown to inhibit the growth of intestinal parasites H. Pylori and Giardia Lambria.
Turmeric is what makes yellow prepared mustard yellow. It’s also used in curry blends.
Though its effective in topical treatments for psoriasis, acne, diaper rash and dermatitis, it will temporarily stain the skin yellow.
Usnea- Usnea is used for its antifungal properties and for other infectious ailments including mastitis, urinary tract infections, colds and flus, bronchitis, and sinus infections, strep throat, pneumonia, and tuberculosis.
Usnea extract should be diluted before taking internally, as it’s very potent. Like many medicinal plants it has a terribly bitter flavor.
Similarly, dilute the extract before applying topically to fungal infections of the skin, if no rash appears you can try it as a stronger dose for the next application. You can use it full strength on fingernails and toenails.