What Are the Different Natural Antifungals?

Meshell Powell

Natural antifungals are often used to treat fungal infections and include such herbal remedies as tea tree oil, garlic, and black walnut. Coconut oil, oregano, and calendula are also used to treat infections caused by fungus. Other natural antifungals include grapefruit seed extract, barberry, and cedar. A doctor should be consulted before using natural antifungals in order to obtain an accurate diagnosis and to discuss possible side effects and medication interactions.

Oregano has natural antifungal properties.
Oregano has natural antifungal properties.

Tea tree oil and garlic are among the most popular natural antifungals. Used primarily to treat athlete's foot, tea tree oil has been used for centuries to treat bacterial and fungal infections. It is important to dilute this oil before applying to the skin in order to avoid skin irritation. Fresh garlic can be consumed internally, or garlic juice can be applied topically to kill fungus. Side effects of garlic may include heartburn, body odor, and skin damage.

Garlic is among the most common natural antifungals.
Garlic is among the most common natural antifungals.

Black walnut and coconut oil are often used as natural antifungals. Several natural products designed to kill fungus contain black walnut hulls, and this herb can also be taken as an oral supplement. Products containing black walnut should not be used on the lips or near the mouth due to the risks of developing certain forms of cancer. Coconut oil can be taken internally to kill fungus in the bloodstream or applied topically to treat fungal infections of the skin.

Oregano and calendula essential oils are thought to be natural antifungals. These oils are frequently added to creams and ointments and may be taken internally in some situations. Stomach upset and allergic reactions are possible side effects of oil of oregano. Calendula should not be used by pregnant women or those who are allergic to ragweed. Signs of an allergic reaction may include hives, facial swelling, and difficulty breathing.

Grapefruit seed extract, barberry, and cedar are considered to be natural antifungals. These herbs may be used alone, although they are most commonly added to products designed to treat skin conditions such as infections caused by fungus. Several types of prescription medications should not be used with grapefruit seed extract, so a doctor should be consulted to make sure this herb is safe. Barberry should not be used by children or by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding due to possible brain damage. Cedar should not be combined with sedative medications such as those used to treat anxiety disorders or depression, as negative interactions have been reported.

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