Thrush is a fungal infection that occurs due to the overgrowth of fungus named as Candida albicans. Among other causes are prolonged illness, pregnancy, smoking, dentures, weak immune system, stress, continuous medication like chemotherapy, birth control pills, and antibiotics. Though it is not a serious problem, but sometimes it can be really irritating due to its symptoms like pain & soreness inside the mouth, itchiness, swelling, redness, inflammation, creamy white discharge apart from other symptoms (in vaginal thrush), and white patches in the mouth, tongue, lips or throat. It mostly affects infants but can also happen to adults in the form of oral thrush or vaginal thrush. It is called “Oral Thrush” when the condition affects the mouth, tongue, as well as lips of a person. “Vaginal Thrush” results in the redness, inflammation and itchiness of vagina. You can easily get rid of thrush using some easy home remedies, but a doctor must be consulted if it lasts longer.
Home Remedies for Thrush
Here are some natural remedies for thrush which one can use to get quick relief.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
The microdilution technique was used to identify the minimum fungicidal concentration (MFC) of apple cider vinegar. This technique proved that apple cider vinegar possess anti fungal properties against Candida spp.., thus it can be used as a remedy to get rid of thrush (1). Pour a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in half cup of water and mix it well. Now, use it as a mouthwash to get rid of thrush in your mouth. ACV, being a natural disinfectant, effectively fights off the thrush infection.
2. Clove Oil
Clove contains eugenol as a main component. A study proved antimicrobial property of eugenol oil by finding out the minimum fungicidal concentration of this oil (2, 3). Add a few drops of clove oil in water. Use this solution to rinse your mouth, in order to alleviate thrush. This is a good home remedy for treating thrush on lips.
One more study determined that clove essential oil and its volatile vapour obstructs pore germination and mycelial growth of the dermatophytic fungi. You can apply this oil directly to the skin for getting rid of thrush (4). Also the study investigating the effect of eugenol on adherent cells, subsequent biofilm formation, cell morphogenesis, preformed biofilm of C. albicans fungus gave postivie results. Eugenol has potent anti fungal activity (5).
In 1936, Schmidt and Marquardt whilst working with epidermophyte cultures discovered the anti fugal properties of garlic. Fungi like Trichophyton, Candida, Torulopsis and Cryptococcus are sensitive to garlic. The extracts of garlic are shown to lessen the oxygen uptake and avert the growth of the organism (6). Eat raw garlic or take garlic pills for quick relief.
Also, according to a data presented in part at the 44th Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, Washington, D.C. proved the anti fungal properties of fresh garlic extract against both planktonic and sessile forms of C. albicans (7). You can take 400mg of garlic standardized extract 2 to 3 times daily for anti fungal activity (8).
You can also insert a garlic clove into your vagina to get rid of yeast infection. Peel the skin of fresh garlic clove, wrap it in a cheesecloth, tie both the ends with unwaxed dental floss to make a little temporary thing. Leave a bit of sting hanging so that you can pull it afterwards. Now insert this cheesecloth thing into your vagina. Leave it overnight (9).
Onion is a strong inhibitor of yeast infection. Therefore it is used for the treatment of oral Thrush (10). Onion help cure white patches in your mouth that have occurred due to oral thrush. You just need to include onion in your daily diet.
Note: Avoid eating onion in case of vaginal infection (11).
Yogurt has a significant amount of a component called Lactobacillus acidophilus, which averts the growth of a yeast responsible for vaginal candidiasis. It produces hydrogen peroxide which kills yeast. For vaginal thrush, soak a tampon in yogurt and place it in the vagina to reduce infection (12).
This is also one of the most effective remedies for thrush on tongue and mouth. Eat more yogurt if you are suffering from oral thrush, as it contains natural or ‘good’ bacteria or live acidophilus culture which prevents the overgrowth of Candida albicans (13, 14).
In one study it was found that bee honey and yogurt together has a high cure rate for candida infection in pregnant women (15).
6. Lemon Juice
The GCMS analysis resulted in different chemical compositions and anti fungal properties of lemon. The tests performed described that potential of anti fungal behaviour of lemon essential oil was associated to the high content of monoterpenoids and the type of Candida strains (16). Swish some lemon juice in your mouth at least 4-5 times a day. Lemon juice is good for killing the fungi that causes thrush infection.
7. Coconut Oil
8. Boric Acid
PubMed and Scopus for studies that reported clinical evidence to use Boric acid for vaginal thrush (19). Boric acid possess anti fungal properties against Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which is also a type of organism responsible for Vaginitis (20). Blood boron analyses proved that boric acid powder is a better option as compared to costly medication for curing vaginal fungal infection (21).
You can use capsules filled with boric acid. and insert it into your vagina once a week for the treatment (22).
Note – Make sure not to swallow it as it may lead to upset stomach.
This remedy is not advisable for pregnant woman (23).
9. Hydrogen Peroxide
According to a study, Hydrogen peroxide has therapeutic properties which avert the symptoms of bacterial vaginosis. It also restores normal vaginal bacterial flora in 100% of the case studies (24). Hydrogen peroxide is naturally produced by bacteria in the vagina to avert yeast infection but still if infection is caused, you can make a solution of 1 teaspoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide with 1 cup of water. Spray this mixture daily on your vagina to alleviate infection (25, 26).
10. Warm Salt Water
Make a solution by adding 1/2 teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of warm water. Gargle with it to cure thrush infection (27).
11. Baking Soda
Vaginal infection can be cured by reducing the number of Lactobacilli. For this the vaginal pH is to be altered. Baking soda can be used for altering pH. Prepare a solution by adding 2 tablespoon of baking soda in four cups of warm water. Douche twice weekly for two weeks. Alternatively, you can use baking soda capsules. Empty gelatin capsules and fill it using baking soda. Now insert one capsule into your vagina twice every week for two weeks (30).
12. Homemade Smoothie
Take some chopped cucumber, a celery stick, some avocado, parsley, 6-8 basil leaves and a tablespoon or 2 of lemon juice, along with a pinch of black salt and black pepper. Blend the ingredients well in 250 ml of filtered water. Consume half of this smoothie early in the morning before breakfast and take the rest of it at lunch time.
13. Cranberry Juice
A phytochemical investigation bioguided by anti-adhesion tests proves that cranberry juice has anti-adhesion properties against Candida albicans and Candida glabrata yeasts (31). A study also proved that A-type cranberry proanthocyanidins isolated from cranberry juice has anti fungal properties that are used to treat oral thrush (32). Vaginal thrush can also be treated by drinking cranberry juice on daily basis.
The proanthocyanidins present in cranberry fruit have anti fungal property which inhibit the growth of oral thrush (33).
Effect of Cinnamon oil as anti fungal agent was tested using proportionally-diluted test-tube medium and it was concluded that it possess strong anti fungal properties against Candida albicans (34). Boil one and half a cup of water; add 1/2 tsp of powdered cinnamon to it. Simmer the solution for a couple of minutes. Strain the decoction and sip it slowly.
Note: Expecting mothers should avoid this remedy.
15. Castor Oil
Take a glass of warm milk. Add a tablespoon of castor oil into it. Drink it to cure thrush on lips.
Herbal Remedies for Thrush
16. Aloe Vera
A study was performed using Fresh Aloe Vera leaf extract to know about it anti fungal properties. The varied concentrations of Aloe Vera leaf extract in Sabouraud dextrose broth medium altered growth of C. albicans, thus this herb can be counted as an effective remedy to cure thrush (35). Aloe vera is a natural healing agent that wards off all types of bacteria and fungi. Apply fresh aloe vera gel on the affected part to get relief (36).
17. Grapefruit Seed Extract
Grapefruit seed extract is another proven thrush treatment for infants as it has excellent antimicrobial properties (37). Mix about 10 drops of grapefruit seed extract in 30ml of distilled water. Now, apply it with a cotton swab on the white patches inside your baby’s mouth.
You can also take grapefruit seed extract orally to cure yeast infection (38).
For vaginal thrush, use this extract as vaginal douche (39).
18. Tea Tree Oil
Investigations related to anti fungal properties of tea tree oil states that this herbal oil can inhibit fungal activities like that of Candida albicans. Tea tree oil is one of the superb herbal remedies for thrush in the mouth. You can use it as a mouthwash (40). Just add a few drops of tea tree oil in a glass of lukewarm water and rinse your mouth with this solution at least twice or thrice a day.
Note: This oil is toxic therefore it should not be swallowed (43).
19. Lavender Oil
Lavender oil possess both fungistatic and fungicidal activity against Candida albicans, it has been proved through a investigation which states that the main components of this herbal oil linalool and linalyl acetate averts germ tube formation and hyphal elongation, thereby reducing the infection (44). Also in the study of Zuzarte et al., 2009, anti fungal properties of lavender oil were found (45).
This is also one of the most effective home remedies for oral thrush. Simply pour 1-2 drops of lavender oil on your toothpaste while you brush your teeth in the morning.
20. Sauropus Androgynus
Sauropus Androgynus is found to inhibit various fungal activities including that of Candida albicans (46). Extract the juice of leaves of sauropus androgynus. Wipe your baby’s tongue with this juice using a cotton ball.
21. Herbal Mouthwash
22. Blood Root and Goldenseal
Prepare a paste of these two herbs and use it on the affected area.
23. Thyme Oil
Thyme oil has antibacterial properties. It is tonic stimulant that relieves mouth thrush (50).
- Decrease the intake of sweets & carbohydrates as sugar contributes to fungal infection.
- Brush your teeth twice a day and floss at least once a day.
- Drink iced tea, cold water, and frozen juices (51).
- Keep the vagina clean if you are prone to vaginal thrush.
- Wear cotton panties (52).
- Avoid wearing tight clothing (53).
- Change snaitary nepkins often during periods (54).
- Do not take stress.
- Avoid using lubricants, spermicidal as well as latex condoms.
- Avoid smoking.
- Refrain from dairy products, yeast products, and mushrooms.