Candida diets, part six: Herbs
The candida diets features by our contributor Dr Jeff McCombs have proved so popular he’s bringing you two more pieces – starting with this interesting one on herbs. Enjoy!
Candida diets and herbs at first can appear to be a successful way to approach correcting fungal candida imbalances. There is a good amount of research on the benefits of herbs and herbal products like essential oils. When we read the research, we find repeatedly that herbs effectively and safely inhibit candida. The problem one encounters in using herbs however, is that they only inhibit fungal candida.
Herbs are plants with flowers, seeds, stems, fruit, roots, and oils that are used in cooking, flavoring, scents, and healing. To gain a good understanding about herbs and how they work, we only have to look at their role in nature. In nature, all things work to achieve a balance. A couple of excellent books on this subject are The Lost Language of Plants and The Secret Life of Plants. In both of these texts, we can learn a lot about nature and also a lot about the human body.
Nature is based on complex ecosystems that work together in synergy to create an ongoing balance of all life forms. The more complex and diverse these ecosystems are, the healthier and stronger they are too. By stronger I mean that they are very fluid and able to adapt to gradual changes over time.
The intestinal tract functions in the same way. The greater the diversity of the bacterial flora and other microbes, the greater our health. In fact, the human intestinal tract has been called the densest ecosystem on the planet.
Medicines approach to treating illness destroys all these microbial life forms in the body. Many scientists now view the 100+ trillion bacterial flora of the body as being as important an organ as the liver. A 5-day course of antibiotics will destroy all of these microbes and it will take 9-12 months before most of them start to grow back. Would you like to live without your liver for a year? No wonder antibiotics are connected to diabetes, cancers, obesity, etc.
The use of herbs in healing is a very ancient healing practice dating back to over 3000 years. It is far safer than modern medicine and has an extremely long history of effective use compared to modern medicines 100+ years. An herbalist or someone with knowledge of herbs should be on your list of practitioners to consult for every condition.
In nature, fungus break down living and decaying matter to recycle the nutrients for the ongoing web of life. All living organisms, man included, produce antifungal and antibacterial substances to push back fungi and other microbes. These are usually in the form of fatty acids and other compounds. The function of these substances is to prevent fungi from killing living plants and taking over ecosystems. The end result is balance. It’s important to note that nature does not cause antifungal and antibacterial resistance to emerge. Only man does that with medicines, which is why antibiotic resistance is now one of the top three threats to human health on the planet. When you threaten to kill any microbe, it will adapt.
Herbs and their byproducts at best will only inhibit candida. This type of practice in nature ensures that the fungus continues to live so that its role in the web of life is maintained. When the time comes for fungi to break down dying matter into nutrients, it will still be there to perform that function. If used excessively, herbs may create imbalances, although I have yet to see this be the case. Balance is the key.
When trying to address fungal candida with herbs, one should experience an improvement in their condition, if fungus is the main cause, which is not always the case. Once they go off of these products however, their symptoms usually return. This has lead some practitioners to incorrectly rationalize that candida has adapted to the herbs. In these cases, practitioners tell their patients that they need to rotate the herbs in order to avoid any adaptive response. This doesn’t make sense, as the adaptive response in fungi and other microbes happens instantly. You would never be able to use an herb again if that were the case.
There are many herbs that have antifungal effects – rosemary, oregano, peppermint, lemon grass, tea tree, cinnamon, clove, eucalyptus, etc. This is an endless list as all plants produce some type of antifungal substance.
I have never found herbs to be effective in correcting systemic fungal imbalances. I believe that they would be more effective if it were not for the devastating effect of antibiotics on our body and its ecosystem. By destroying this ecosystem, all balance and the ability to regain that balance have been severely damaged.
Herbs should be an important part of everyone’s daily approach to living life on this planet. They have been shown to repair the DNA from damaged caused by our environmental toxins, internal and external. Plants can reverse cancer and other diseases. They can be a useful addition to a successful candida protocol when used in moderation.
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