There are many types of opportunistic infections that can inhabit our intestines, but one of the most common is known as Candida albicans.

Candida, as it is often called, is usually referred to as a yeast infection, but it is actually a type of fungus.

While we often think of women as being vulnerable to these infections, as this fungus also contributes to vaginal infections, men are just as likely to suffer from Candida infections of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. There are many species of fungi that are collectively known as Candida, but Candida albicans is one of the most common.

Signs and Symptoms

According to Dr. Cobi Slater, author of The Ultimate Candida Guide and Cookbook, there are many common symptoms of a candida infection, including:

General: chronic fatigue, sweet cravings, weight gain, skin conditions (acne, eczema, psoriasis)

Gastrointestinal system: bloating, gas, intestinal cramps, rectal itching, alternating diarrhea and constipation

Genitourinary system: vaginal yeast infections, frequent bladder infections

Hormonal system: menstrual irregularities, PMS, menopausal symptoms, fibroids, endometriosis

Nervous system: depression, irritability, trouble concentrating, brain fog

Immune system: allergies, chemical sensitivities, lowered resistance to infections, arthritis

Causes of Candida Infections

There are many causes of candida infections including: alcohol consumption; sugar consumption; the use of antacids, antibiotics or birth control pills; chlorinated water; consumption of foods that contain antibiotics or synthetic hormones (that typically includes non-organic dairy products, poultry or meat), sexual contact with an infected person, poor diet and chronic stress. Additionally, health conditions like low thyroid function or diabetes can make a person vulnerable to candida infections.

Herbs that Help Eliminate Candida

There are many excellent herbs that help fight candida infections, but I particularly like German chamomile, thyme and North American ginseng.

German Chamomile: Researchers assessed the antimicrobial activity of an extract of German chamomile against the fungus Candida albicans. According to the Indian Journal of Dentistry, a high-potency extract of chamomile effectively killed the fungal infection.

Thyme: A well-established antifungal herb, it’s no surprise that a study in the online medical journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that thyme is effective against drug-resistant strains of Candida fungi — the culprits behind yeast infections. In other words, thyme worked even when the drugs did not.

North American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.): Ginseng has a long tradition of use to boost immunity against many different diseases. A recent animal study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology found that ingestion of the herb significantly reduced Candida albicans infection. The study obtained these positive results by administering a ginseng extract that was added to the animals’ food.

Extracts of the above herbs are widely available in health food stores. Follow package instructions for the best results. A typical dose is 30 drops three times daily taken under the tongue, but it is best to consult your health care provider prior to use.

Source:,  By:  Michelle Schoffro Cook