Don’t Sit On It!
So the polite medicalized latin name for the cause of the ladies squirming is Candida albicans and it can become very uncomfortable if it gets out of hand and growing where we don’t want it too!
Candida albicans is the fungal microbe that lives under ordinary conditions in our gut and is kept in balance by stomach acid among other variables like that elusive unicorn, a balance diet and stress free lifestyle. If we feed ourselves too much say sugar, we are also potentially feeding and nurturing a nice crop of Candida albicans. Overgrowth can cause digestive, genital and systemic pain, irritation and discomfort not too mention stress on close relationships. Who needs more of that?
If you have a Thrush problem – something is out of balance. Managing Thrush, like life – is all about maintaining a Balance. Poor health, poor diet, high stress exposure and taking medical drugs can all upset the balance in the digestive tract and cause Candida albicans to multiply as if it was their last day on earth.
FIRST – PREVENTION
The large intestine is the native home of an enormous number of tiny organisms called microbes, so small they cannot be eyeballed without a microscope. These miniscule organisms are often and slightly affectionately called ‘gut flora’. They are friendly and we need them.
Our relationship to them is symbiotic because we need their help in breaking down our food into a form that our body can use. We need them to maintain key body functions such as immunity, defence, provide nutrition and maintain metabolism. Numbers sometimes are more compelling, so to convince of just how important these little guys are, here is a stat. There are ten times as many microbial organisms in the human gut as there are cells in our entire body!
Antibiotics present a serious risk to the little microbes living in our digestive tract because the effect of antibiotics is indiscriminate. They kill everything leaving a fun condition called dysbiosis or gut flora disruption. without our gut flora standing to attention and being ‘on guard’, microbes such as Candida albicans get very comfortable and in begin to take over, in the Biblical sense. Dysbiosis can also be cause by exposure to steroids, chemotherapy, contaminated food or water, prolonged stress, hormonal changes, a highly processed diet, environmental and lifestyle toxins, a compromised immune response, infection or illness, and inflammatory diseases of the intestinal tract (e.g. IBS, Crohn’s, UC, diverticulitis).
If the populations of gut flora in your digestive tract have experienced a kind of accidental genocide, you will need to rebuild their communities and ‘culture’ to restore normal gut function. You need to re-innoculate your gut and you can do this using PREBIOTICS and PROBIOTICS.
PREBIOTICS are the indigestible fibres in many plant foods that promote the growth of friendly gut flora. They stimulate metabolic activity and protect against pathogens. Research during the last fifteen years has confirmed the common sense view of dietary fibre as essential to a healthily functioning digestive tract. Essentially, eating a daily range of whole foods such as grains, nuts, seeds, pulses and vegetables will provide the prebiotic fibre you need.
PROBIOTICS, as their name suggests, are ‘life promoting’ gut-friendly microorganisms needed to ensure intestinal health. Acidophilus yoghurt is one food source but probably won’t be enough to replace the large quantities destroyed by a course of antibiotics. Also, up to 95% of the bacteria eaten in yoghurt are destroyed by stomach acid before reaching the more neutral environment of the large intestine. For these reasons it’s important to take a supplement form of probiotics whenever your intestinal flora is destroyed or compromised.
Lactobacillus, Lactococcus, Bifidobacterium, Streptococcus and Bacillus are five beneficial bacteria genus types commonly found in probiotic supplements. Acidophilus, rhamnosus and reuteri are three species of the Lactobacillus genus. L. rhamnosus is one that can survive bile and stomach acid, and has proven effective in preventing childhood respiratory illness and eczema. L. reuteri has been identified as one of the first strains of friendly bacteria to pass from mother to infant, helping create early natural immunity and digestive health. L. reuteri suits all ages, particularly infants who haven’t been breast fed or whose intestinal health is compromised for any reason.
SO WHAT DO WE DO?
There are two things needed much like sorting out an unruly garden. First it is necessary to clear out the weeds, burn off the dead things, air the soil, mix in some fertilizing and mulch the garden beds … then plant the new garden, choosing plants that work harmoniously with each other and that are likely to survive in the conditions in which you are living.
With me …? Hang in there!
There are many dietary remedies we can use to keep the growth of Candida albicans in check but there is the WONDER HERB to come …
THE MAIN HERBS
GARLIC is a fabulous kitchen medicine and there are many wonderful stories about it’s antibiotic properties. Garlic has been the go to natural medicine for centuries due to its powerful anti-microbial, anti-fungal and antiseptic properties. You can take it cooked, raw or in odourless capsules to combat infection and enhance your natural immunity. Word to the wise if you are also taking a Probiotic, take Garlic and the Probiotic at different ends of the day because the antibacterial properties of Garlic wll destroy some of the Probiotic bacteria if taken together.
ECHINACEA is a herb with remarkable anti-microbial and immune supportive actions. Quality is everything with herbs and not all Echinacea sources are equal. Make sure you get yours from a Clinical Herbalist and not an over-the-counter-hope-it-is-what-you-want source. It is possible to find in tablets, tinctures or fluid extracts and an easy way to improve your body’s natural resistance to infection.
OLIVE LEAF is another go-to herb when strengthening the immune system and antibiotic strength is the need of the hour. Interestingly Olive Leaf shows the discernment not present with pharmaceutical antibiotic drugs and although it will work on wide spectrum of infectious microbes it will leave the ‘friendly bacteria’, our gut flora, to continue on in their pursuit of happiness and self determination. It will not kill them.
FERMENTED FOODS such as kombucha, kefir, raw yoghurt, pickles and sauerkraut and other lacto-fermented vegetable or fruit juices all help promote a healthy intestinal environment and provide another source of the beneficial bacteria strains required by your body.
REDUCE OR ELIMINATE SUGAR IF you are craving sugar, I have an important question to ask. What voice within you screams for sugar? And is it, the REAL YOU? The reason I ask is that Candida albicans loves refined sugar. Yeast foods can also contribute to Candida overgrowth.
VEGETABLES are never a bad option but there are some veg that are a fantastic option when it comes to managing Candida albicans because they make life uncomfortable for the little microbe. Think of it as a Vegetarian Shake Down. These veg are garlic, onions, kale, turnips, horseradish, cabbage and broccoli. Eat these freely to improve your intestinal health.
Word to the wise about the Brassica Family, try and eat them cooked or fermented because eating these veg raw in quantities has been known to irritate the digestive tract in the form of bloating, gas or abdominal cramping. Also the Goitrogens in Raw Brassicas can suppress iodine uptake which in turn buggers up the thyroid function. Cooking or fermenting Raw Brassicas neutralises these risks.
VIRGIN OLIVE OIL or EVENING PRIMROSE OIL is very helpful in reducing the potential damage Candida albicans can cause in the digestive tract by preventing conversion of yeasts such as Candida albicans to their invasive fungal-type mycelia form in the gut. for best results take 2 Evening Primrose Oil capsules or take 2 teaspoons of organic cold pressed virgin olive oil 3 times a day.
NOW – THE CURE
HOROPITO Pseudowintera colorata, is one of two unrelated plants native to New Zealand commonly referred to as ‘The Pepper Tree’. KAWAKAWA is also called locally ‘The Pepper Tree’. The purity of the environment and the geography of New Zealand means that Horopito has grown unchanged in the forests for 65 million years. Horopito has oval-shaped green leaves covered with red splotches. Horopito sports a hot peppery taste, leaving a burning sensation in the mouth. Polygodial, the active anti-fungal constituent in Horopito is responsible for the hot taste.
Polygodial is part of the plant’s successful defense system and very important in the battle with prolific and unrestrained Candida albicans growth. Ploygodial breaks down the fungal cell walls, destroying cells and reversing fortunes of the gut flora. Polygodial also protects the plant from fungi, a problem in New Zealand’s wet climat, and insects are discouraged from attacking the leaves.
Initially Horopito shows rapid and effective results in clinical trials. Clinically also people report enjoying the peppery taste and looking forward to taking the dose. During this phase of treatment, it is important to keep the body’s elimination channels open and flushing through the dead weight, remember the garden. Water drinking is one way to do this. This phase is commonly referred to as the detox and can be temporarily unpleasant.
People report difficulty with the peppery taste as treatment progresses, however it is important to keep the regime up for months not weeks, otherwise – our friend will return! To prevent this, we need to re-innoculate the digestive tract with healthy gut flora. Best way to do this, in my experience, is with fermented food you have made yourself.
The medicinal properties of Horopito has been extensively researched in New Zealand and revealed itself to have a broad range of potential applications. The effect Polydial has on the digestive system would be described by Traditional Herbalists as warming or stimulating, therefore very suitable for weak digestion. Horopito also contains powerful antioxidant flavonoids and exhibits anti-inflammatory, circulatory stimulating, expectorant, anti-irritant, antiseptic, astringent and insecticidal properties.