Antifungal Essential Oil: What are they?
The word “antifungal” means “against fungus”. A fungus is a type of plant or animal that produces spores (little round bodies) which can infect other plants and animals. Fungi have many different types of life cycle including single celled organisms such as yeasts, molds, and bacteria. They also include fungi like molds that grow on woody material.
Fungi are very common in nature. Some species live all over the world, but most are found in moist places like soil, under rocks and roots. Fungi produce toxins called mycotoxins that cause disease when ingested by humans or animals.
Mycotoxin poisoning causes symptoms similar to those caused by poison ivy and poison oak. These toxins can cause a variety of problems from skin rashes to breathing difficulties to kidney failure.
Types of Antifungal Essential Oils
There are several types of antifungals used in medicine. There are two main types: antifungals and antibiotics. Antibiotics kill off harmful microorganisms, while antifungals help prevent them from growing in the first place.
For example, penicillin kills certain kinds of bacteria that may cause infections such as strep throat, colds and flu.
Antifungals can be either internal or external. In medicine, antifungals are used against skin and blood infections caused by yeast and molds. Antifungal drugs come as creams, tablets, gels, solutions, injections and lozenges.
Most of these drugs are available only with a prescription from your doctor.
Antifungal essential oils are types of plant oils that have antifungal properties. Many plants produce these oils to prevent the growth of mold on their leaves or seeds. These oils are called antifungals because they prevent the growth of mold and yeast which can cause illness.
Antifungal essential oils are similar to essential oils from other plants such as eucalyptus or lavender. The main difference is that essential oils can be extracted in several ways. Some plants, such as oranges, can be cold-pressed to produce an oil.
Other plants, such as rose bushes, need to be distilled to produce the oil. Still others, such as herbs, can be extracted with solvents to produce an oil mixed with a solvent.
How Do Antifungal Essential Oils Work?
Antifungals are chemicals that kill off or stop the growth of mold and yeast. Mold and yeast are types of fungus, so antifungals work against them in the same way. Antifungals are often fatty acids that can prevent mold from growing or killing them off altogether.
Uses of Antifungal Essential Oils
Antifungal essential oils are used to treat a variety of illness caused by the growth of mold or yeast. These illnesses can range from skin problems to severe lung issues.
Skin Conditions: Several types of mold and yeast can cause skin irritations. These irritations can include rashes, hives, blisters and other breakouts. Most skin irritations are caused by sweat trapped under the skin.
Bacteria trapped under the skin can also cause rashes and hives. Antifungal essential oils can be used in several ways to prevent or cure these skin problems.
The most common way is to dilute the oil and apply it directly on the area of concern with a Q-Tip or clean finger. This can be done twice a day until the problem is solved. You should notice an improvement within a few days.
If not, you may need to switch to a different brand of essential oil. Some essential oils are not as effective as others against mold and yeast.
Other forms of skin conditions that can be treated with antifungal essential oils include jock itch, ringworm, and athlete’s foot. Athletes foot can be a stubborn condition that reoccurs even after treatment with an antifungal medication. If this is the case, try applying an antifungal essential oil to the area 2-3 times a day.
Hair Care: Antifungal oils can be used in several ways for hair care as well. One of the most common uses is to treat dandruff caused by a fungus called malassezia. This condition causes dry skin and white flakes in your hair.
It can be extremely embarrassing and difficult to get rid of. Antifungal essential oils can be applied to the scalp using a Q-Tip or your finger. Massage it into the scalp for 1-2 minutes and leave it on overnight. Be sure to not get it on your hair as it will cause discoloration.
Antifungals can also be used as a pre-shampoo treatment. Be sure to wrap your head in a towel and warm your head with hot water before applying the oil. This increases blood flow to the scalp and helps the antifungals get to work faster.
Yeast Infections: Yeast infections are one of the most common types of vaginal infections caused by overgrowth of fungus called candida. There are several causes for this including poor hygiene, pregnancy, and use of antibiotics. Antifungal essential oils can be used to fight the infection.
You can make a solution by mixing 10 drops of antifungal oil with 1oz of vegetable oil. Lie on your back with your knees up and put 2-4 drops of the mixture in your hand. Massage the area and gently insert one finger into your vaginal canal. Massage the walls and spread the oil around as much as possible. Be sure to wash your hands afterward as the oil can destroy latex and cause it to disintegrate.
Be sure to only do this at night before bed as some of the oils can cause photosensitivity and you do not want to sunbathe after application.
Sources & references used in this article:
Antibacterial and antifungal properties of essential oils by D Kalemba, A Kunicka – Current medicinal chemistry, 2003 – ingentaconnect.com
Antibacterial and antifungal properties of essential oil components by K Knobloch, A Pauli, B Iberl, H Weigand… – Journal of Essential Oil …, 1989 – Taylor & Francis
Essential oils of aromatic plants with antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and cytotoxic properties–an overview by J Reichling, P Schnitzler, U Suschke… – Complementary Medicine …, 2009 – karger.com
Antifungal activity of components of essential oils by N Kurita, M Miyaji, R Kurane… – Agricultural and Biological …, 1981 – jstage.jst.go.jp