“I was recently diagnosed with an overgrowth of candida albicans. I try to avoid using antibiotics. How can I treat this naturally?”
One important difference between taking drugs like antibiotics and antifungals, and taking garlic, is that bacteria and fungi are not likely to develop a resistance to garlic.
There are many foods that inhibit the growth of or destroy candida. For example, all of the brassica class of vegetables: cabbage, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, Chinese greens, mustard greens, radishes, kale, kohlrabi, turnips, turnip greens, and the allium (onion) families: hot (chili) peppers, red and brown onions, chives, shallots, spring onions (scallions), Swiss chard, and watercress all inhibit candida growth to a certain degree. Some of my favorite dietary recommendations that are proven to inhibit and kill candida infections include garlic, coconut, and oregano—all have a specific antifungal activity. However, garlic is the most effective.
Russian scientists long ago discovered that when they introduced a fresh garlic extract into a colony of dysbiotic (bad) bacteria and fungi, bacteria and fungi ceased to function within minutes. Garlic has been heavily researched and written about in mainstream medical journals and is one food I always recommend to treat yeast infections. Some scientific studies have found garlic to be at least as effective as the popular antifungal pharmaceutical drug, Nystatin, in destroying candida albicans. If you have a yeast infection, I’d highly recommend you eat garlic every day as it can help your digestive, circulatory, and immune system in so many different ways.
The best way to eat fresh garlic is to carefully crush the clove to remove the skin. Then, use a small knife to score the garlic down one side. This is allows the digestive juices in your stomach to be exposed to the inside of the garlic clove; garlic cloves are high in silica—something that is not easily digested.
Scratch the outer layer and your digestive system will have no problem in digesting and absorbing the two active oils present—allicin and allinin. While you can supplement with capsules of aged or odorless garlic, fresh is the best.
One unfortunate aspect of garlic is that not everybody is keen on consuming it due to its odor and taste. If eating a clove raw sounds horrifying to you, slice it finely over cooked vegetables, or add finely chopped garlic to a salad or a roast meal. Fresh parsley used in salads or egg dishes counters garlic’s strong odor. If you absolutely can’t tolerate garlic, take an odorless supplement. In my opinion, Kyolic is a respectable brand. If you buy fresh garlic, please make sure you avoid any garlic grown in China (as it can be high in heavy metals). Buy locally grown garlic or grow it yourself.
Part of your anti-candida program is the inclusion of fresh and supplemental forms of garlic. Eat as much fresh garlic as you can tolerate—anywhere from one to six cloves a day is an excellent way to cure candida overgrowth.
Eric Bakker, ND, is past Vice President of the New Zealand Natural Medicine Association with over 22 years of clinical experience in natural medicine.