Yeast infection is a common problem that occurs in women. It occurs at the skin around the vaginal tract due to the infection of the plant organism known as yeast. Yeast is a microscopic plant that can grow on the skin of the vaginal parts and can proliferate to a great extent. The yeast that is generally responsible for this infection is the Candidaalbicans, though several yeasts of the Candida family can also cause the infection. For this reason, the medical name of yeast infection is candidiasis.
There are many reasons due to which yeast infections can occur. They can happen during pregnancy and childbirth. Women who have diabetes mellitus also suffer from these infections. The use of antibiotics is another cause and it can also be sexually transmitted. In fact, it is estimated that over three-fourths of all the women in the world will suffer from yeast infection at some point of their lives or the other.
The main indication of a yeast infection is an itchy skin which may or may not develop rashes. In early cases the itch is intermittent, but in more severe cases, there is continuous itching. Sometimes there is a white discharge from the vagina, which is not very unlike the discharge in leucorrhea.
In Ayurveda, yeast infection is classified as a disease of the vata dosha. However, there is a propensity of the pitta dosha also, because it has been proved in recent times that diet is also a causative factor of candidiasis.
(1) Useful Herbs in the Treatment of Yeast Infections
Chebulic Myrobalan (Terminalia chebula)
Known popularly as harad in Ayurvedic medicine, the chebulic myrobalan is one of the chief ingredients in the treatment of candidiasis. It is found to be very effective in treating the infection. The easiest way is to apply a decoction of the herb on the vagina as a douche to wash the vaginal parts. If the condition is severe and there is a thick white discharge, then a decoction of the chebulic myrobalan fruits along with the neem leaves is prepared and used as a douche.
Indian Gooseberry (Emblica officinalis)
The Indian gooseberry, or the amalaki, is the richest natural source of vitamin C in the world. Vitamin C is known to combat yeast infections. Hence, this herb is consumed in one way or the other for yeast infection complaints. A douche made of several substances in which the juice of one amalaki is added is one of the commonest household remedies for yeast infections.
(2) Dietary Treatments for Yeast Infections
Avoid curds. But buttermilk is good for treating the infections. You must have a glass of buttermilk after each meal.
Citrus fruits containing vitamin C are very good in the treatment of yeast infections. Amalaki, or the Indian gooseberry, is the most vitamin C rich food in the world. You can also have oranges, lemons, watermelons, etc. Green leafy vegetables must also be consumed in excess. Having rice water (i.e. the water in which rice is cooked) is also beneficial. Indian women have areca nuts (supari) after each meal when they have vaginal infection problems. This speeds up the treatment.
Stop all constipating foods when there are vaginal itch problems. These include the spicy, oily and hot foods. Constipation is due to an increased pitta, which makes the problem of yeast infection much more severe.
(3) Ayurvedic Treatments for Yeast Infections
The Triphalachoorna is commonly prescribed by most Ayurvedic doctors for the treatment of yeast infections. Triphala contains both the amalaki and the harad herbs, and hence, it is very effective in the treatment.
Lodhrasava is another medication prescribed. The herb lodhra itself is also used to give vaginal douches.
(4) Home Remedies for Yeast Infections
Apply some coconut oil mixed with the Bhimseni camphor on the vaginal opening. This will solve the itchiness and the infection.
Washing the vaginal area with a good quality of brandy also helps to cure the infection.
Make the pulp of a single banana and mix the juice of an amalaki in it. Flavor it with sugar. Eating this mixture once a day helps to heal the yeast infection.
Apply the juice of the leaves of the sacred basil (tulsi) on the vaginal area. Relief will be immediate.
If there is leucorrhea along with the candidiasis (i.e. itchiness with white mucus discharge) then make a mixture of five grams amalaki powder with five grams of sugar. Eat this mixture twice a day; once in the morning and once in the evening. This will solve both the candidiasis and the leucorrheal infections.
Dilute the vinegar of apple cider with water. Add one clove of garlic to it. Washing the vaginal area with this solution will take care of yeast infections.
Vaginal hygiene is very important to prevent such problems at the onset. You must have warm water douches often, with a few drops of mustard oil put in the water.