Fungal infections are contagious and tend to spread easily from one body part to another and from one person to another. The commonest sites for fungal infections are between the toes [athlete’s foot], in the groin [jock itch], waist and underarms.
Ringworms and candidiasis are also types of fungal infections. Fungal infections generally crop up in damp and moist areas of the skin. Here we look at what ayurveda, naturopathy and yoga have to offer to give relief from fungal infections
According to ayurveda, fungal infection is referred to as dadru. Imbalance in the three doshas of the body, particularly the pitta or the fire humour and kapha dosha or the phlegm humour is what causes them. Fungal disease is categorised as a variety of kshudra kushta.
Along with the anti-infective skin therapy, an ayurvedic physician would also recommend blood purification and proper elimination of body wastes. For that, you can take three to five grams of triphala powder with a glassful of warm water [preferably at bedtime] daily.
Other medicines that you can take under guidance of an ayurvedic doctor include: Kaishore Guggulu, Gandhak Rasayana, Saaribadyasava and Khadirarishta.
Fungal infections in different parts of the body have characteristic features and also different herbal remedies.
Skin infected with fungus becomes red, thick and dry. Circular lesions are formed on the skin; these are often itchy, scaly and clear in the centre. They occur on any exposed area of the body.
- Rub the juice extracted by pounding fresh bulbs of garlic at the affected site 2 – 3 times a day. Garlic has great anti-fungal and anti-infective properties.
- Pound a piece of fresh, raw turmeric along with a few basil or neem leaves to make a paste. Apply it on infected skin twice a day.
- Prepare a paste by pounding the seeds of the chakkermard herb, mix it with radish juice and apply on the affected areas.
- Apply mint juice on the infected skin.
A fungal infection in the ears causes hearing and balance problems, and a lot of pain. It generally occurs when there is more fluid in the ear. If not treated properly, this condition can become hazardous and hence should not be ignored.
- Soak garlic cloves in mustard or olive oil for a few hours. Heat this mixture until it’s warm and dip a small cotton ball into it, just enough to wet the cotton. Place the cotton ball in the infected ear and leave in overnight.
- Extract juice by pounding fresh tulsi leaves and filter through a fine muslin cloth and use it as ear drops.
Underarms and groin
There may be itchy lesions in the underarms and also under the breast in females. Whereas, in men, ringworm sometimes infects the inner and upper parts of the thighs and the groins.
- Mix camphor in some coconut oil. Apply the same on the infected patch daily at least thrice.
- Pound a few neem leaves to make a paste and apply it the affected area 2 – 3 times a day. Allow it to dry on the skin. You may also add some freshly pounded raw turmeric or turmeric powder to the same.
- Keep the skin as much dry as possible.
A fungal infection in the scalp leads to hair loss and itching and scaling. It also makes the hair dry and brittle.
- Pound some garlic bulbs into a pulp and mix it into sesame oil or mustard oil. Apply this on the infected areas of the scalp.
- Grind basil, mint and radish into a paste, add some sesame oil to it and massage the scalp with it.
- Mix camphor in coconut oil and massage scalp with it on alternate days.
- Clean your hair and scalp thoroughly. Add a teaspoon of wheatgrass juice or lemon juice to the water you use for head bath.
Fungal infection in the nails causes dryness, rigidity and discolouration of the nails making them look ugly and unkempt. Sometimes, you might also notice black streaks on the surfaces of your nails.
- Rub some garlic juice onto the infected nail surface.
- Pound a fresh piece of turmeric with a few basil leaves. Apply it on the nail twice a day.
- Keep your hands dry as far as possible till the infection cures.
Naturopathy suggests internal cleansing as a cure for fungal infections.
- Fast for 1 – 7 days. Have only fruits and vegetable juices that are naturally alkaline like carrots, cabbage, white gourd, spinach and coconut water during this period.
- Try neem water enema.
- Apply mud packs on the infected areas as mud therapy is anti-infective and anti-toxic.
- Reduce your salt intake while undergoing natural cleansing.
- Apply essential oils like apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil, garlic oil, lavender oil, oregano oil, or primrose oil on the infected area.
Yoga equips the body to heal itself. Emphasis is on eliminating toxins and increasing strength.
- Kunjal Kriya aids in expulsion of toxic matter via vomitus and Shankh Prakshalana works as natural purgative. Both these procedures may be supplemented for releasing toxins from the body.
- Yoga asanas like Sarvangasana, Matsyasana, Pashchimottanasana, Surya Namaskar and yoga techniques like Jalandhar bandha and Uddiyan bandha help in alleviating skin maladies.
- Pranayama or deep breathing techniques like Bhastrika, Kapalbhati, Nadi Shodhan and Sheetali may prove effective as supplementary therapy.
Along with the above mentioned therapies, it is essential to eat a diet rich in vitamin C. Also consult with your dermatologist before discontinuing any topical anti-fungal creams or medications.