Fungal infection is a lesion in the epidermis of the skin, caused by a variety of fungi. It usually develops in sweating skin areas such as interdigital folds (spaces between fingers or toes), groin, inframammary folds (the places where the breasts and the chest meet), scalp and so on.
Anybody can suffer from fungal infections, making them itchy, irritated and lose confidence in communication. Most of the fungal skin diseases are not dangerous. However, they are more likely to spread and easily reoccur in favorable conditions, making the treatment more difficult. In addition, suffers may put at high risk of superinfection if not treated promptly. Therefore, the treatment of fungal infections should be done thoroughly from the beginning.
Taking antifungal medications can deal with the condition quickly, but it also brings undesired side effects. Meanwhile, scientists have proven that plenty of essential oils have not only antiseptic and anti-inflammatory but also antifungal properties. Thus, usingantifungal essential oils is an alternative solution which is natural and safe for the health.
1. Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is extracted from the leaves of Melaleuca Alternifolia grown in the coastal areas of northern New South Wale and southeastern Queensland, Australia. It contains excellent ingredients such as terpenoids and terpinen-4-ol compounds, which have powerful antibacterial, antiseptic and antifungal properties. For this reason, it is beneficial in treating gynecological diseases caused by bacteria, virus, and fungi, especially candida infections.
Many studies have shown the promisingantimicrobial potential of tea tree oil. In addition, some recent research has indicated it has the ability to treat staphylococcus faster than conventional medications. Besides, according to a previous study, tea tree oil can remove MRSA from the skin efficiently, reaching the standard of hospital treatment.
2. Lavender essential oil
Lavender essential oil, distilled from the flower spikes of Lavandula latifolia, is known for many benefits in beauty and health care. Thanks to its potent antimicrobials and antioxidants, lavender essential oil has the positive effect on removing Candida albicans fungus, dermatophytes, and other fungi.
Besides, it has the potential to treat skin conditions effectively such as pimples and psoriasis. In particular, lavender essential oil is extremely good at healing pimples because it both inhibits the growth of bacteria and speeds up the healing process.
3. Lemongrass essential oil
Lemongrass essential oil is extracted from dried one via the process of steam distillation. The antimicrobial properties of lemongrass inhibit the growth of bacteria in and out of the body, helping to prevent infections such as urinary tract infections, malaria, typhoid and my skin diseases.
There are a lot of scientific evidence to prove lemongrass essential oil isan active antifungal agent. A study conducted from 1996 indicated that lemongrass essential oil is useful in kill fungus, one of which causes athlete’s foot, ringworm and jock itch. Besides, a study published in 2013 pointed that hand washing gel which contains lemongrass essential oil provides a high level of effectiveness in reducing MRSA on the skin. Therefore, it is considered as one of the effective antifungal essential oils.
4. Thyme essential oil
Thyme essential oil has been proved its effectiveness in destroying “stubborn” bacteria such as MRSA and Staphylococcus.
According to research in Italy published in 2011, thyme essential oil is used to kill bacteria and fungi in combination with clove essential oil, which is as effective as traditional antibiotics such as metronidazole. Researchers have demonstrated its efficacy and safety that are well suited to those who suffer from vaginal infections; moreover, using it also help toreduce the adverse effects of antibiotics.
5. Clove essential oil
Clove essential oil is a powerful antiseptic and fungicide. The main ingredient is eugenol, which is useful in treating scabies as well as yeast infections. Apart from this, according to a study, it also has the ability to prevent 15 different fungi. Thus, it is ranked the second in twenty-one of the best antifungal essential oils.
Pregnant women are advised not to use clove essential oil. Furthermore, those who are taking diluent or anticoagulant should not use it.
6. Eucalyptus essential oil
With effective disinfection power, eucalyptus oil is commonly used for medical purposes. Its excellent antiseptic properties are suitable for treatment of scratches, wounds, burns, deep cuts and ulcers. Furthermore, it promotes the healing process to protect the wound from the effects of air and against the onset of germs.
Therefore, it is often included in skincare products, which helps prevent skin infections and keep newborns and infants safe.
7. Peppermint essential oil
Being one of the effective fungal essential oils, peppermint one is well-known for its antimicrobial, antiviral properties. Originated from Europe, peppermint is widely used thanks to its refreshing flavor as well as medicinal properties.
With its refreshing flavor, peppermint is used in oral hygiene products. However, another purpose of this application is based on the aseptic effect, helping the teeth and gums defeat harmful bacteria.
With antifungal properties, in the case of nail fungus, peppermint essential oil helps toreverse the growth of fungussuccessfully while improving the overall health of the nails.
With all the antimicrobial, antifungal and antiviral properties, peppermint essential oil help boost the body’s immune system. What is more, it contains menthol, camphor, and carvacrol, which inhibit the entry of dangerous bacteria such as salmonella, E.coli and staph infections.
8. Bergamot essential oil
Bergamot essential oil has a pleasant orange flavor and good antibacterial properties. Despite its origins in Southeast Asia, the medicinal and cosmetic potential of Bergamot essential oil is developed in Italy.
The Italians found the strong antimicrobial agents of this oil and applied it to eliminate parasitic intestinal worms. Nowadays, Bergamot oil has been noted for its ability to withstand strains of bacteria and many infections such as urinary tract infections, retinitis, and endocarditis.
People with skin condition will feel more soothing if using this oil. It speeds up the healing process of oral herpes, shingles, and chickenpox. Besides, it is a natural antibiotic, which helps prevent and treat pimples or acne.
9. Oregano essential oil
Oregano is not just a herb that enhances the taste of the food but also a potent bacterial and fungal killer. In addition, it supports the immune system effectively. Oregano essential oil has been proven that it can protect the body from many strains of bacteria such as E.coli, Staphylococcus, and salmonella.
10. Sweet Basil Oil
Basil essential oil offers many more wonderful uses, especially fighting off bacteria as well as fungi.
A recent study indicated that sweet basil oil could prevent the spread and development of about 60 E.coli strains. Another study, published in August 2013, identified the oil as analternative therapeutics for antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
How to use antifungal essential oils
- Dilute several drops of the essential oil in a carrier oil such as jojoba, sunflower, coconut or olive oil.
- Dampen a cotton swab or cotton ball into the mixture and then apply it to the fungal-infected areas.
- Do this three times a day and continue the process until your condition is cured completely.
- Put ten drops of the essential oil and a small cup of baking soda into a bathtub of lukewarm water.
- Soak your body in the bathtub for about 20 minutes.
- Rewash your body with clean water and dry with a soft towel.
- Do this repeatedly every day until the reducing symptoms of fungal infections.
Some notes when using fungal essential oils
- Do not use pure essential oils directly on skin, especially sensitive skin. They are very concentrated, so it is easy to cause burns.
- For children under 6 months of age and pregnant women, using essential oils should be prescribed by a doctor.
- For those who use essential oils at the first time, they should mix a drop of the essential oil they intend to use with 10 ml of warm water and apply this mixture to the hand skin for 24 hours for a test before using it.
- Those who have high or low blood pressure or epilepsy avoid using essential oils.
- Keep the essential oils away from the heat or light, and close the lid when not using as they are easy to evaporate and oxidize, which reduce the effectiveness.