CON­DI­TION SPOT­LIGHT: Cool the Damp Heat

Solv­ing Yeast Over­growth with Tra­di­tional Chi­nese Medicine

Alternative Medicine - - News - BY RYAN LESS, LAC

Learn how Tra­di­tional Chi­nese Medicine in­ter­acts with com­mon yeast in­fec­tions and which in­gre­di­ents give it the po­ten­tial to be an al­ter­na­tive to an­tibi­otics.

Most peo­ple know that a yeast in­fec­tion is an over­growth of yeast fun­gus, of­ten in the vagina. While many over-the­counter an­ti­fun­gal prod­ucts are avail­able, Tra­di­tional Chi­nese Medicine (TCM) of­fers op­tions to re­solve th­ese un­pleas­ant in­fec­tions in a nat­u­ral and enor­mously ef­fec­tive man­ner.

Nat­u­ral reme­dies are highly ef­fec­tive and can of­ten work quicker than con­ven­tional med­i­ca­tions. Th­ese reme­dies work with the body to re­claim a state of bal­ance, and gen­er­ally do so with­out the painful side ef­fects found along­side chem­i­cal treat­ments. Fun­gal in­fec­tions can also de­velop re­sis­tance to drugs, whereas th­ese al­ter­na­tives by­pass that prob­lem. By prop­erly choos­ing ef­fec­tive nat­u­ral reme­dies, you avoid con­tribut­ing to the emer­gence of drug-re­sis­tant strains of yeast and other fun­gus.

Symp­toms

Com­mon symp­toms as­so­ci­ated with a vagi­nal yeast in­fec­tion in­clude itch­ing, burn­ing, and white dis­charge from the vagina. Just to be safe and thor­ough, it is good to note that there are other con­di­tions which may give rise to sim­i­lar symp­toms. If you are un­sure whether you have a yeast in­fec­tion, check with your physi­cian.

Herbal For­mu­las

When deal­ing with any kind of in­fec­tion, it is al­most al­ways bet­ter to use a multi-herb for­mula as op­posed to a sin­gle herb. A multi-herb for­mula will pro­vide a broader range of anti-in­fec­tion phy­to­chem­i­cals (plant chem­i­cals), and make it highly dif­fi­cult for the yeast to adapt and sur­vive. This re­sults in much greater suc­cess wip­ing out the yeast.

A va­ri­ety of Chi­nese herbs with an­ti­fun­gal prop­er­ties use a wide range of plant chem­i­cals to com­bat yeast, in­clud­ing berber­ine, pal­ma­tine, allincin, pseu­dolaric acid A and B, mag­nolol, hon­okiol, and galan­gin. Many herbs used in TCM ex­hibit both an­ti­fun­gal AND an­tibac­te­rial ac­tiv­ity. This ex­plains why the same herb for­mula used for a vagi­nal yeast in­fec­tion (fun­gal in­fec­tion) may also be used for a blad­der in­fec­tion (bacterial in­fec­tion).

While a board-cer­ti­fied acupunc­tur­ist might cre­ate for­mu­las with in­di­vid­ual herbs, there are a few read­ily avail­able op­tions for pur­chase. Phel­lo­statin is an ex­cel­lent and bal­anced rem­edy for yeast in­fec­tions, and can be found on­line or pur­chased from an acupunc­tur­ist fa­mil­iar with herbs. This prod­uct is made by a com­pany called Health Con­cerns and is based on a clas­sic Chi­nese herb for­mula. It has the abil­ity to kill yeast, and is anti-in­flam­ma­tory and an­tibac­te­rial. It also has herbs that can strengthen the im­mune sys­tem.

An­other ef­fec­tive for­mula for treat­ing yeast in­fec­tions is known in Chi­nese as Long Dan Xie Gan Tang (LDXGT). In English, it is known as Gen­tiana Drain Liver, Gen­tiana Com­bi­na­tion, and Gen­tiana Drain Fire. Un­like Phel­lo­statin, LDXGT strictly kills yeast and has no prop­er­ties of strength­en­ing the body. It shouldn’t be taken for ex­tended pe­ri­ods of time, but this prod­uct is typ­i­cally less ex­pen­sive.

Fatty Acids

An­other pop­u­lar prod­uct is Lau­ri­cidin, a pu­ri­fied form of lau­ric acid. This is a type of fatty acid found in both co­conut and hu­man breast milk that has an­ti­fun­gal, an­tivi­ral, anti-amoe­bic, and an­tibac­te­rial prop­er­ties. It is pos­si­ble to get mono­lau­rin, the com­pound found in the prod­uct Lau­ri­cidin, di­rectly from co­conut prod­ucts. Although this is a healthy reg­i­men to fol­low, an acute yeast in­fec­tion will be more ef­fec­tively treated with the prod­uct it­self. Other fatty acids such as caprylic acid, or un­de­cylenic acid, also have known an­ti­fun­gal prop­er­ties, and may be in­cluded in a course of ther­apy to fight yeast.

En­zymes

Var­i­ous prod­ucts con­tain en­zymes that will di­gest yeast cell walls. Since fungi have cell walls made out of spe­cific ma­te­ri­als (chitin, glu­cans, and pro­teins), en­zymes that break th­ese ma­te­ri­als down are ef­fec­tive at treat­ing yeast in­fec­tions. Biofilms are pro­tec­tive lay­ers pro­duced by path­o­genic bac­te­ria and yeast that re­duce their ex­po­sure to an­tibi­otics and our im­mune sys­tems. It is be­lieved that biofilms pro­tect on­go­ing per­sis­tent in­fec­tions, and they likely play a role in over­growth of bac­te­ria in the gut which are prob­lem­atic for our bod­ies. One pop­u­lar prod­uct called In­ter­fase is de­signed to break down biofilm. Can­dida Fac­tors is an­other high qual­ity en­zyme for­mula, but this prod­uct is only geared for yeast cell walls and does not break down biofilms. For women who tend to have re­cur­rent yeast in­fec­tions, one of th­ese en­zyme prod­ucts can be highly ben­e­fi­cial.

As you can see, there are a wide range of ef­fec­tive nat­u­ral reme­dies for yeast in­fec­tions. Some of th­ese come from so called tra­di­tional or in­dige­nous forms of medicine, such as TCM or Ayurvedic medicine, while oth­ers come from mod­ern re­search, such as the work on fatty acids done by John Kabara, PhD. One thing to keep in mind is that each of us has our own unique bio-in­di­vid­u­al­ity. A per­son may ex­pe­ri­ence a yeast in­fec­tion against a back­drop of all sorts of other health con­di­tions, or con­sti­tu­tional ten­den­cies. A sim­ple ex­am­ple is a woman who has what is re­ferred to in TCM as yin vacu­ity heat (think hot flashes, vagi­nal dry­ness). It’s like a body run­ning low on coolant. An­other woman with a yeast in­fec­tion may have yang vacu­ity (think feel­ing cold, low en­ergy) which is like hav­ing a poorly func­tion­ing pi­lot light on a stove.

The best way to take all th­ese fac­tors into ac­count when se­lect­ing a nat­u­ral rem­edy is to con­sult a li­censed acupunc­tur­ist or other qual­i­fied health­care prac­ti­tioner fa­mil­iar with nat­u­ral meth­ods of treat­ment. If you have a med­i­cal con­di­tion, are preg­nant, nurs­ing, or tak­ing other sup­ple­ments or med­i­ca­tions, it is very im­por­tant to seek pro­fes­sional guid­ance.

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