Fungi are surprisingly diverse microorganisms. While we eat them in the form of mushrooms and bake our daily bread with them, certain strains of fungus can cause infections and disease in the human body. An infection caused by a fungus is known as a fungal infection. Fungi are present in soil, air, water and some of them are even found naturally in the human body. The introduction of an infectious type of fungus can cause infections like ringworm, athlete’s foot, or thrush infection.
Homeopathic Treatment for Fungal Infection
Homeopathic medicines for fungal infection work by restoring the natural healing processes that help fight fungal infections. Homeopathy helps heal rashes and reduce symptoms like itching, burning, discharges, and pain.
Homeopathic Medicines For Fungal Infections
The top remedies to deal with fungal infection are Sepia, Tellurium, Graphites, Sulphur, Silicea, Thuja, Antimonium Crudum, Bacillinum, Borax and Pulsatilla.
1. Sepia – Top Remedy For Fungal Infection Ringworm
Sepia tops the list of homeopathic medicine when it comes to treating fungal infections esepcially ringworm of skin (tinea corporis). Circular, ring-shaped lesions on the skin in isolated spots is the key feature to use it. This can be attended with itching and burning when scratched, and increased sweating. Ringworm, if appears in spring season specifically, then Sepia is the right choice of medicine.
When and How to use Sepia?
Use of Sepia is applicable in ringworm infection with isolated ring-shaped lesions. This medicine is available in different potencies from low to high which is chosen individually for every case as per case intensity. In the beginning, its 30C potency is safe to start with. Sepia 30C can be used once or twice a day as per severity of the complaint. For switching to high potencies like 200C or 1M, consider prior consultation with homeopathic expert.
2. Tellurium – For Ringworm With Multiple Rings Connected Together
Tellurium is also a major medicine for ringworm infection. It is prescribed for cases where multiple ring-shaped lesions are joined together forming intersecting rings crowded over each other. The lesions are elevated and spread across the whole body. Sometimes mild scaling covers these lesions. In few cases vesicles (tiny fluid- filled bumps) over the rings may appear, attended with a heated sensation on the skin.
When and How to use Tellurium?
This medicine can be given when a case presents with numerous ring-shaped lesions on skin joined together. Initially, it is advised to start with Tellurium 30C once or twice a day. In case no changes occur, Tellurium 200C can be taken once a day.
3. Graphites – For Fungal Infection With Rash Between Skin Folds
Graphites is highly effective for fungal infections that affect skin folds. It can be used when rash occurs in groins (crease formed at junction of abdomen and thigh), bends of limbs (like behind knees, elbow bend), neck fold, behind ears and between toes. The affected area is red, sore and painful. In some cases, a characteristic watery, sticky discharge may ooze out from the affected parts. It is also helpful when cracks develop in skin folds. There is intense itching in the affected area which gets aggravated at night. It is also very useful for cases of Tinea Cruris or Jock’s itch presenting with rash in groin area.
When and How to use Graphites?
Use of this medicine is highly recommended when there is fungal infection causing rash between folds. Additionally, it is the most effective if cracks appear in the folds and watery sticky fluid oozes from the affected skin area. Start with Graphites 3X one tablet once a day in mild cases and one tablet twice a day in case of moderate intensity. 3X is its lowest potency and higher potencies are also available like 30C, 200C, 1M, but avoid using higher potencies without physician’s guidance.
4. Sulphur – For Fungal Infection With Marked Itching, Burning
Sulphur is a highly effective medicine to manage itching and burning on a skin rash. In cases needing it, the affected portion is dry and scaly along with itching which gets worse at night. Washing also makes it worse. Burning sensation is felt on the skin with an urge to scratch. The affected portion is painful and sensitive to touch.
When and How to use Sulphur?
This medicine can be used in those cases in which there is marked itching and burning. Though it can be used in different potencies, 30C potency is most frequently recommended. For mild cases, Sulphur 30C should be used once or twice a week. If itching and burning are moderate to severe, one may use Sulphur 30C once a day. Avoid using it more than once a day. It is a strong medicine, so do not self – medicate with its high potencies in any case.
5. Silicea – For Fungal Infection on Feet: Athlete’s Foot ( Tinea pedis)
Silicea is the best prescription for cases of fungal infection of feet. In cases needing it, there is rawness and soreness in the affected part, along with cracked skin in between toes. Peeling of skin also occurs. There is itching and pain in the affected area. Excessive sweating having fetid odour is felt on the feet, with blisters in severe cases.
When and How to use Silicea?
Anyone who has a fungal infection on feet can go ahead with this medicine. It will heal the skin lesions and provide relief in pain and control further progression of complaint. Silicea 6X – 4 tablets three to four times a day is the optimal dose to start with.
6. Bacillinum – For Ringworm And Tinea Versicolor
Bacillinum is another prominent medicine indicated for treating fungal infections. Firstly, it is very beneficial for cases of ringworm. Apart from treating acute ringworm cases, this medicine also helps to control the tendency for ringworm infection occurring time and time again. Secondly, this medicine is well indicated to treat cases of tinea versicolor in which skin pigmentation occurs resulting in discolored patches on the skin.
When and How to use Bacillinum?
This medicine can be given in cases of ringworm as well as tinea versicolor. Use of this medicine is usually recommended in 30C potency (should never be used below this power). This medicine is used in infrequent doses. Just one dose a week of Bacillinum 30C is suggested in any case. Wait to see the changes for about one week after taking its one dose. Do not rush into repeating the medicine before the recommended one-week time.
7. Thuja – For Fungal Infections in Beard and Moustache Area ( Tinea barbae)
Thuja is a natural medicine sourced from plant Arbor Vitae. It is highly suitable for fungal infections that appear as ringworms in the beard, moustache and neck area. Persons needing it may have pimples (small red eruptions) or hard nodes in affected areas. Itching and burning may worsen upon cold washing.
When and How to Use Thuja?
This medicine is apt for cases of fungal infection in beard and moustache. Start with Thuja 30C once a day only. In case no changes are evident after 30C potency, then its higher potencies can be considered for which a homeopath’s advice is essential.
8. Antimonium Crudum – For Nail Fungus (Onychomycosis / Tinea Unguium)
Antimonium Crudum is a highly ranked medicine to treat nail fungus. It works well for discolored, brittle nails that break off easily. Nails are distorted and grow out of shape, sometimes there may be pain in nails.
When and How to use Antimonium Crudum?
Antimonium Crudum should be used as the first remedy when it comes to treat nail fungus. It will improve discoloration, help to strengthen the nail and gradually eliminates the infection. From its different potencies, 30C potency is the right choice to start with the treatment that can be taken twice a day.
9. Borax – For Fungal Infections In The Mouth (Oral Thrush)
Borax is a chief medicine to treat fungal / yeast infections that occur in the mouth. Signs and symptoms to look for to its use are whitish patchy growths in the mouth and tongue that are tender and sore, along with redness in the mouth. Besides, bitter taste and dry mouth attends to it.
When and How to use Borax?
Borax is an incomparable medicine when it comes to treat fungal infection in mouth. It can be used when white fungal patches appear in the mouth that are tender. It is used in different potencies varying from case to case. When using it in 30C potency, it can be taken twice a day. While in 200C potency, dose should be limited to just once a day.
10. Pulsatilla – For Vaginal Candidiasis
Pulsatilla is a natural medicine for treating fungal infections in vagina – vaginal candidiasis. This medicine is used when there occurs thick white, milky or cream like vaginal discharge. The discharge cause burning and irritation in vagina. Itching is also felt in vagina. The discharge gets worse after menses.
When and How to use Pulsatilla?
This medicine can be given in fungal infection of vagina with white coloured vaginal discharge. Pulsatilla 30C can be taken twice a day, and when symptoms are intense even thrice a day.
Note One may use these medicines only in the recommended doses for about 3 to 4 weeks. If in this time span no changes are seen in skin condition, then kindly consult a homeopathic doctor for further action.
Causes Behind Fungal Infections
A fungal infection is caused by microorganisms like Tinea, Dermatophytes, Candida albicans, yeast, etc.
Fungal infections can occur in two ways.
1. Harmful fungi enter the body through direct contact with an infected person or an infected animal or soil contaminated with fungi. It can also spread by using an object infected with fungi, like clothes, combs, towels and bed sheets.
2. It occurs when there is excessive multiplication of the fungi normally present in the body in a small amount. The growth of fungi present naturally in the body is kept under control by the immune system. When excessive multiplication of fungi occurs under certain circumstances due to a weak immune system, it results in an infection.
Signs And Symptoms Of Fungal Infections
The signs and symptoms depend on type of fungal infection but some frequently noted symptoms common in most fungal types are redness in affected area, irritation or itching, burning sensation, cracked or peeled skin. Scaling on skin and blisters (fluid- filled eruptions) may also be noted.
Word Of Caution On Antifungal Creams
Homeopathy creams for fungal infections are popular as topical ointments to ease symptoms like itching, but their effectiveness in treating the problem is not proven. Since homeopathy is the science of internal medicine that works holistically with the body, at DrHomeo we do not advocate the use of topical medicines for treatment. Ointments like natural anti-fungal cream for yeast infection or homeopathic cream for jock itch are widely available, but they do little in terms of treating the root cause of the problem internally.
Which skin areas can be affected by fungal rash?
Although fungal rash may arise anywhere on the skin, the most-affected areas are folds of skin, like behind knees, bend of elbows, groin, under-breast area, etc.
Risk Factors For Fungal Infection
Though anyone can contract a fungal infection but certain factors predispose a person.
1.Warm, damp, humid environment: Dampness, moisture and humidity – these three conditions are enough for fungi to flourish.
2. Weak immune system: A healthy immune system keeps a check on the excessive growth of fungi naturally present in the body. If immunity drops, fungi get an opportunity to overgrow resulting in an infection. Diseases that decrease immunity, medicines that suppress the immune system and stress that weakens immunity increase the risk of fungal infections. People with HIV deal with a weakened immunity that can give rise to opportunistic diseases.
3. Heavy sweating provides a favorable environment for fungal growth
4. Diabetes Mellitus: A hyperglycemic (high in glucose) environment favors immune dysfunction that gives fungi a chance to overgrow.
5. Sharing personal things like clothing, bed sheets, towels, combs, shaving razors, etc. with an infected person.
6. Obesity: In obese people, the skin folds tend to trap excessive moisture, which can promote fungal growth.
7. Use of certain medicines: Corticosteroids or immunosuppressants, and chemotherapy drugs reduce the body’s immunity. Antibiotics prescribed to kill harmful bacteria affect the useful bacteria in the body. These good bacteria help keep fungal growth in check as a result of inter-related factors. When the concentration of good bacteria decreases, the fungi get an opportunity to grow in excess, leading to fungal infections.
Types of Fungal Infections
A. Ringworms (Tinea infection): It is not caused by a worm but is named so as it causes ring-shaped lesions on the skin.
Cause: Fungi of the genera Trichophyton, and epidermophyton.
Spread: Direct skin to skin contact with infected person.
Signs and symptoms: Red, circular ring-shaped patches on the skin along with itching.
Tinea infection can develop on different parts of the body and has different names as per the part affected. These are given below:
1. Tinea Cruris: Ringworm infection on skin in groin area.
Mode of spread: from direct skin-to-skin contact with an infected person or through use of fungus- infected objects like towels, clothes, etc.
Signs and symptoms: Red rash on the groin area, inner thighs, genitals, and buttocks. Small blisters may appear along the margins of the rash. Itching, pain and burning in the lesions along with flakiness and cracks may also be present.
2. Tinea Pedis/Athlete’s Foot: It affects feet, especially the area between toes
Mode of Spread: Sharing of shoes/socks of an infected person or taking shower barefoot. Wearing tightly fitted shoes and excessive sweating on the feet increase the risk.
Signs and symptoms: Rawness, cracking, peeling of skin area on feet; blisters; burning, stinging, itching in the lesions can attend.
3. Tinea capitis: This ringworm infection affects the scalp.
Spread: Direct contact with an infected person or from using objects like caps, combs, hair brushes, pillows carrying ringworm infection.
Signs and Symptoms: Red, itchy patches on the scalp; pustules, crusty eruptions on the scalp along with discharge; heavily tangled hair. The scalp also feels painful, and brittle hair or bald patches on the scalp may also be present.
4. Tinea unguium (Onychomycosis): Nail Fungus commonly affecting toenails
Mode of Spread: Mostly contracted through use of communal showers (group of single showers in a sinlge room or common area) and swimming pools, foot tubs, filers and other tools contaminated by fungi.
Signs and symptoms: Thick nails, whitish/grayish, yellowish – brownish discoloration of nails, brittle/ crumbled/ distorted nails, breaking of the nails and pain that gets worse by pressure or wearing shoes.
5. Tinea Barbae: Ringworm infection of the beard, mustache area of the face and the neck.
Mode of Spread: Sharing personal articles like shaving razors, towel of an infected person, etc.
Signs and Symptoms: Pimples, pustules, swelling, and redness of the infected area. Oozing of fluid, pus or blood, itching and pain in the lesions and crusting of the infected area may be present.
6. Tinea Corporis– Ringworm on the body
Spread: Direct contact with an infected person or pet animal; sharing objects like clothing or bed sheets can also spread the infection.
Signs and symptoms: Ring-shaped or circular shaped lesions on skin—skin in the middle of the rash is clear and healthy-looking. The rash is itchy, and blisters can appear at the edges of the lesion. In some cases, the ring-shaped lesions multiply and merge.
B. Tinea Versicolor also named Pityriasis Versicolor
This type of fungal infection occurs when fungus malassezia grows extensively on the skin. Discolored patches appear on skin that may be light or dark, as compared to the surrounding skin. Mild itching and scaling can occur too. The main affected areas are chest, back, shoulders, neck and upper arms.
C. Candida Infection
Candida Albicans is a type of fungi present in the human body in a small amount. The fungus only causes a problem when it multiplies and increases in number. The infection caused by this fungi is known as candidiasis.
Some of the most common Candida fungi infections include:
1. Oral Thrush: An oral thrush is an infection of Candida Albicans inside the mouth or on the tongue. Its commonly seen in infants, older adults and people with low immunity.
Signs and Symptoms: White, creamy or yellow patches on the tongue, inner cheeks, roof of the mouth, tonsils, and gums. There may be redness, burning, soreness, and pain in the mouth, cracks at the corners of the mouth and a bad taste in the mouth. Swallowing can become painful if infection spreads to the throat. Infants can become irritable and have difficulty in feeding, if infected.
2. Vaginal Candidiasis – Vaginal candidiasis is also more commonly known as a vaginal yeast infection. It is caused by the fungi candida, which is normally present in the vagina in a small amount. It causes vaginal candidiasis when it grows to an abnormal amount.
The infection tends to develop as a result of a weak immune system, intake of oral contraceptive pills, uncontrolled diabetes and use of extensive antibiotics.
Symptoms: Itching, burning, irritation, redness, and swelling in the vagina along with a thick white discharge (which looks like cottage cheese). A burning sensation in the vagina during intercourse and urination is also present.
3. Diaper rash: A red rash that develops on the buttocks of a baby due to overuse of diapers is known as diaper rash. There are many reasons for a diaper rash, but a candida infection is one of the most common reasons. The warm and moist areas between a diaper and a baby’s skin serve as a favourable environment for the growth of fungi.
The symptoms of a diaper rash include a raised rash on the skin of the buttocks. It can also develop on the thighs and genital area. The rash is painful and tender to touch which makes the child irritable, and gets worse on washing. Other skin eruptions like pimples, blisters or pustules can also appear on the rash.
Tips To Manage Fungal Infections On Skin
Avoid sharing other person’s towels, objects like combs, brushes, blankets
Avoid walking barefoot in locker rooms or other public places
Avoid wearing tight and synthetic clothes
Keep the affected area dry and clean
Try losing weight, if overweight
Blood sugar levels should be checked and maintained regularly