Candida and Ayurveda
By Dr Sajimon George BAMS, AAA, ATMS
Candida albicans yeast is a naturally-occurring intestinal inhabitant which is normally in check in a properly balanced intestinal medium.
Candida albicans becomes a concern when the intestinal flora’s “good” bacteria are out-populated by this yeast. Now the flourishing yeast can enter the bloodstream via the enteric cycle and elicit the classic yeast infection symptoms of fatigue, insomnia, dizziness, tinnitus, decreased immunity and digestion.
The most common Candida condition is vulvovaginitis, known as a vaginal yeast infection. Roughly 75 percent of women will experience a vaginal yeast infection during their lifetime, with at least half of these individuals having recurrent infections. They are most common in women of childbearing age.
Oral thrush is another form of localized Candida infection found particularly after oral antibiotic use and with people using dentures or inhaled corticosteroids (for the treatment of asthma).
Skin fold infection, occurring especially in warm weather, as well as diaper rash, are commonly occurring localized skin yeast infections. Recurrence is common, and each occurrence is harder to eradicate. Successful treatment depends upon reducing the yeast population in the body, building up the beneficial bacteria population, limiting and controlling yeast triggers, and strengthening overall health.
Ayurvedic protocol is to address the underlying cause of the yeast infection. In Ayurvedic medicine, illness due to a systemic invasion of Candida albicans are not identified as such.
Causes of Candida
1. Diet high in refined sugar and refined flour products
2. Antibiotic therapy
3. Environmental stresses that weaken immunity
4. Sedentary lifestyles
6. Development of immunodeficiency diseases such as HIV
7. Medical use of immunosuppressant therapies including inhaled corticosteroids
8. Endocrine disorders including diabetes, hypothyroidism and adrenal insufficiency
Ayurvedic approach towards Candida
The etiology of candida is agnimandya, or deficient digestive power. Improper functioning of Samana vatha (subdivison of Vatha) along with Pachakagni (digestive fire ) cause total malfunctioning of the digestive process.
The result of deficient digestion is the production of ama. Accumulation of intestinal ama results in the defective processing of food into elements and tissues. Ama is then absorbed into the subtle channels of body called srothas, creating toxicity and are the basis for the disease process.
As the ama accumulates in the small and large intestines, it will putrefy and ferment, thus inhibiting the normal flora to proliferate and finally resulting in the change of normal intestinal flora. It is because of this variation from the normal flora that a candidiasis or yeast infestation occurs.
The next stage of a candida infestation is a result of the absorption of ama into different parts of the digestive system.
Ayurvedic Treatment of Candida
The Ayurvedic system recommends a holistic approach to restoring balance that includes diet, lifestyle recommendations and herbs and spices. It takes patience, discipline and a full commitment to one’s health to restore balance and stay in balance, but the results are well worth the effort.
Candida infections can be chronic and stubborn in nature, and if not treated, can possibly spread systemically. The disorder is influenced by a multitude of factors including an imbalanced digestive tract, low agni, ama, low ojas, hygiene, diet, lifestyle factors and past or current use of antibiotics.
While primarily a kapha disorder, it can include the other doshas as well, and many times the condition is caused by two doshas. Treatments include increasing and regulating agni, modifying one’s diet to decrease sugars, yeast, and fermented foods and addressing hygiene and lifestyle issues.
The two most important strategies in the treatment of candidiasis are, first, to reduce toxic load, second ensure the integrity of the digestive agni and finally to build bala and immunity back into the body. This enables the body to get rid of this pathological yeast permanently.
Candida Treatment Procedures
- After assessing the bala or body health purification procedures like Virechana or medicated purgation can be done. This reduces concentration of toxins in the system
- In Vatha predominant conditions medicated castor oil containing ‘Asafoetida, Garlic etc may be used (Eg.Hingu triguna eranda mentioned in the text. Ashtanga hrudaya)
- Pitha types can use the classic Ayurvedic formula ‘Avipattikara churna’ for balancing a Pitha-predominant situation. Kapha types can use the classic Kapha-alleviating preparation such as Trivicchurna.
Regulation of Digestive Power
After purification procedures, agni or digestive fire should be regulated. For digestion, formulations containing trikatu and hingu are found to be effective.
Rasayana or Rejuvenating Formulations
To build strength and immunity herbs like bala, ashwaganda, brahmi, and gudduchi work well. Once the underlying imbalance is controlled, herbs like vidanga, neem, pomegranate, and tulsi work will in destroying the yeast.
Pippali rasayana – This enables regulation of digestive fire.
Thriphala rasayana – This is a powerful anti oxidant. Usage purifies srothas or subtle channels and energizes all tissue components of the body.
Dietary Do’s and Don’ts with Candida
Ayurvedic diet should be followed containing turmeric, ginger, cumin, cardamom and cinnamon
- Avoid cold food or drinks, especially foods and drinks taken directly from the refrigerator
- Avoid heavy food at the evening meal, including heavy desserts, yoghurt, cheese, oily food, and fried food
- Avoid sweet, heavy, cold foods
- Avoid leftovers
- Avoid caffeine, nicotine, alcohol and carbonated beverages
- Avoid processed and junk foods and refined flours
- Avoid yeasted breads and pastas, aged cheeses, mushrooms and peanuts
- Avoid fermented foods such as vinegar and products that contain fermented foods as ingredients.
Lifestyle Recommendations for people with Candida
Deep breathing: Shallow breathing reduces the quantity of life-supporting praana you receive with each breath. Practice deep breathing consciously until it becomes a habit.
Sleep: It is important to get an adequate amount of good-quality sleep each night to replenish energy levels and to give the self-defense mechanisms of the body the opportunity to purify the system. Make it a habit to go to bed before 10 pm and rise early.
Exercise: Exercise moderately every day, choosing types of exercise that are appropriate for your body-type and needs for balance. Exercise in the mornings and in the fresh air outdoors when you can.
Stress Management: Practicing relaxing yoga postures, meditation and rest-and-recharge time can help you mange stress so that it does not become disruptive.
Hygiene and Topical Help: Keep skin dry and aired as much as possible. Wear organic cotton clothing and sleep on cotton bed linens.
Useful Herbs: Garlic (Allium cepa), Asafoetida, Triphala (Emblica officinalis, Terminalia chebula, Terminalia bellerica), Vidanga (Embelia ribes), Mustha (Cyperus rotundus), Turmeric (Curcuma longa), Liqorice (Glycirhiza glabra), Guloochi (Tinospora cordifolia), Neem (Azadirachta indica), Sathavari (Asparagus racemosus) are very useful in different conditions of Candida.
AYURCLINIC Services – Indian Natural Therapies
Ayurveda Homeopathy Yoga Meditation
Working with you to achieve health and wellbeing.
Call +61 3 9078 2940 to book an appointment or contact us for more information.