Written by Divinity Nutra, Updated on April 26, 2022
Turmeric is one of the most well-studied medicinal herbs of our time. Its versatility as a natural remedy for common ailments has made it an incredibly popular and time-tested dietary supplement.
Researchers have uncovered significant health benefits from regular turmeric use, which is the reason why our ancestors used curcumin in natural medicine for thousands of years. But, is turmeric antifungal, and does turmeric kill fungal infections?
Turmeric for Fungal Infections
Evidence suggests that turmeric can improve health in several ways. From helping cholesterol levels and weight loss to lowering blood pressure, curcumin has proven itself to be a reliable mainstay in medicine cabinets worldwide.
Recent studies have shown that turmeric may potentially help treat Candida overgrowth and various other types of fungal and yeast infections. One study proved that curcumin possessed antifungal activity against 14 different strains of Candida. (1)
If you’re here, the majority of you already know what Candida is and the problems it can cause. For those less familiar, here is a brief overview.
What is Candida (Candidiasis)?
Candidiasis is a fungal infection originating from yeasts belonging to the genus Candida. It usually lives in the human body in places such as the gut, throat, mouth, and vagina. It can even appear on the skin. If the yeast gets unmanageable, it can infect the bloodstream and damage your brain health and vital organs such as your kidney, and heart.
Here are a few factors that can lead to Candida overgrowth that you should be aware of:
- Frequently taking antibiotics
- Diet high in sugar and carbs
- Regular alcohol consumption
- A weak immune system
- Consuming oral contraceptives
- High stress and anxiety
If Candida begins to overproduce, you may experience a variety of symptoms including tiredness and fatigue, joint pain, frequent urinary tract infections, digestive issues, sinus infections, and skin and toenail fungus. Prolonged candidiasis in the gut may eventually lead to chronic fatigue syndrome. (2)
Why Turmeric Curcumin?
Strain resistance among the Candida species has become a problem for existing antifungal drugs. As such, many medical professionals seek more effective therapeutic strategies for dealing with the issue naturally. (3)
We know that curcumin has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that help boost your immune system. However, it’s also well-known for its antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral activity. Thus, it stands to reason that turmeric could be an effective treatment for Candida fungus. (4)
In this article, we will explore the research and science behind curcumin’s antifungal properties and its ability to kill yeast infections.
Is Turmeric Antifungal and Good for Yeast Infections?
Invasive fungal infections (IFI) are a critical consideration of cancer. They have become a significant cause of morbidity and mortality among patients. Enter curcumin, a component of turmeric isolated from the rhizome of the Curcuma longa plant.
Turmeric supplements offer a relatively safe profile with minimal side effects, even when using a higher curcumin dosage. Researchers have taken an interest in curcumin as a method to provide effective anti-infection therapy and control fungal infections in cancer patients.
To date, curcumin has demonstrated antifungal properties against the following Candida strains:
Therefore, curcumin may help with IFI complications, increasing the fungal infection survival rate among cancer patients with Candida. (5)
In the food industry, it’s common to use antifungal fumigants in food and crop production. One study used turmeric essential oils which proved useful in the inhibition of the Aspergillus flavus strain of fungi. (6)
A second research team uncovered similar results using essential oils. Fumigation using turmeric resulted in fungal growth inhibition between 36%-77%, depending on the strain. This study shows that turmeric rhizomes possess significant levels of toxicity to fungi, even to non-candida genus. (7)
Another study tested curcumin’s ability to inhibit albicans and non-albicans Candida species. The combination of curcumin with piperine established significant fungal load reduction. Curcumin also demonstrated that it could target cell wall integrity in Candida albicans. (8, 9)
When using turmeric for Candida, it should contain piperine as the previous study suggests. The reason for this is due to the increase in bioavailability (absorption into the bloodstream). Curcumin by itself offers poor absorption and may not be able to kill yeast infections like Candida without the help of piperine.
Additional research conducted on antifungal properties used 22 common household spices against plant pathogens. Preliminary tests resulted in the selection of turmeric and nutmeg for further investigation.
In the end, curcumin demonstrated superior antifungal activity against Phomopsis viticola and Phomopsis obscurans. It’s important to emphasize that these fungi originate from genus Phomopsis, not genus Candida. Still, the results are worth noting due to curcumin’s versatility in attacking fungus, regardless of the species. (10)
Turmeric can also work in conjunction with fluconazole, a medication that treats a multitude of yeast and fungal infections. One study showed a positive synergistic effect against the strain Candida tropicalis. This result is important since fluconazole-resistant candidiasis has become more common. (11)
Interestingly, a second study conducted yielded similar results regarding fluconazole’s ineffectiveness against Candida. It turns out, curcumin was significantly more effective than fluconazole at inhibiting the adhesion of select Candida strains isolated from AIDS patients to human buccal epithelial cells (BEC). (12)
The last study we’ll look at involves the combination of curcumin with ascorbic acid (vitamin C). Curcumin again performed well by itself, able to effectively inhibit Candida albicans yeast cells.
On the other hand, ascorbic acid alone did not demonstrate any statistically significant antifungal effects. But, when pairing curcumin and ascorbic acid together, the sum of their inhibition proved greater than the sum of each on their own. (13)
How to Use Turmeric for Fungal Infection
The best way to use turmeric for Candida is through an encapsulated dietary supplement. There are two primary reasons for this: extra curcumin content and enhanced absorption.
If you only add turmeric powder to food or smoothies, you’re not going to get enough curcumin to have an impact on your yeast infection. On average, turmeric is only about 3.14% curcumin. This means that a 100 mg dose of turmeric will only yield 3.14 mg of curcumin, which isn’t going to treat much of anything. Supplements fix this issue by adding a higher ratio of curcumin.
The second problem is absorption. Curcumin is poorly absorbed by the body without help. However, if you add piperine (black pepper extract), you’ll see a 20x improvement in absorption. If your supplement also contains AstraGin, you’ll see a further 92% boost in turmeric uptake with the added perk of digestive support.
How much turmeric should I take for yeast infections? Look for a product that contains between 150 and 250 mg of curcumin, preferably in a 2-capsule serving size. This curcumin dosage is both safe and effective for daily use in the treatment and prevention of yeast and fungal infections.
Remember, it’s important not to rely solely on turmeric to fix this issue. If Candida isn’t properly treated, it can spread to other parts of your body and cause severe complications.
Don’t view turmeric as a cure. View it as a support mechanism for your primary treatment method if approved by your healthcare professional.
Potential Side Effects
What are the negative effects of turmeric? The side effects of curcumin are few and far between, and often mild, especially when using the recommended dosage. Still, here are a few potential adverse reactions to keep in mind.
- Turmeric is a natural blood thinner and may not mix well with other anticoagulants.
- Diabetics should be extra cautious as curcumin can potentially lower blood sugar.
- Heavy doses of curcumin may cause headaches, digestive discomfort, or nausea.
Who should not take turmeric? Do not take turmeric if you’re about to have surgery as it may thin the blood and lead to clotting issues. If you’re pregnant or nursing, do not take turmeric in the medicinal amounts found in dietary supplements.
Final Thoughts on Turmeric for Yeast Infections
Is turmeric good for fungal infections? It appears that it may be able to kill a fungal infection naturally, but it’s probably best used as a prevention and not a complete cure. Since turmeric is also a powerful anti-inflammatory, it may help if you’re dealing with symptoms of Candida die off as well.
Results may vary depending on the strain, the severity of the yeast infection, other medications used, and the health of the individual.
Many studies have demonstrated the antifungal activity of curcumin on Candida strains and various other types of fungi. Using turmeric for yeast infections seems to be an excellent natural remedy. As always, consult with a doctor or certified medical professional to see if a turmeric and curcumin supplement can improve your situation.
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