The human body is an incredibly symbiotic in regards to fungus and yeasts; in fact, there isn’t an area of the body that doesn’t have its own microbiome of little beasties.
While the thought of billions of little organisms making our bodies their home can be a bit strange to think about, the good news is, our immune systems and the probiotic bacteria that live on and within us often keep “the bad guys” under control.
However, if we frequently consume a high-sugar diet, have auto-immune issues, take certain medications that cause an imbalance in our flora, have allergies, or are under a lot of chronic stress, certain yeasts and fungi can grow unchecked causing candida, yeast infections, and even “thrush tongue”, or oral thrush.
No matter which type of yeast or fungal infection you have, there are always natural and effective treatments to help get things back under control and back into balance.
What is “Thrush Tongue” and How to Treat It Naturally
Since there are too many different types of yeast/fungal infections to go over in a single post, I’m just going to focus on the one I get asked about most often – “thrush tongue” and how to treat it naturally.
So, what is thrush tongue?
“Thrush tongue” is just another way to say oral thrush. Oral thrush is a yeast overgrowth that affects the inside of the mouth, most often in infants and is characterized by a white, creamy looking tongue that doesn’t go away.
An overgrowth of yeast/fungus, specifically due to the candida albicans strain, is considered to be candidiasis.
Candidiasis includes infections like:
• Athlete’s Foot
• Nipple thrush/breast thrush
• Oral thrush (in both the elderly and in infants)
• Penis yeast infection (yes, men can get yeast infections too!)
• Toenail fungus
• Vaginal yeast infection
These infections occur because the “bad bacteria” have had a chance to overgrow and take over the “good bacteria” on and in our bodies.
Also known as oral candidiasis or oropharyngeal candidiasis, oral thrush is just a manifestation of that overgrowth in the mouth.
It is completely normal for candida albicans to live in the mouths of healthy individuals, however, when it gets the chance to accumulate, it can spread to the gums, tonsils, the roof of the mouth, and the back of the throat. If left to thrive, it will cause thrush. (source)
Oral thrush causes include:
• Birth control pills and other hormonal contraceptives
• Depressed immune system
• High sugar diet
• Hormonal changes
• Mercury toxicity
• Poor digestion
• Poor elimination
• Prolonged or frequent use of antibiotics
Symptoms of thrush include:
• A heavily coated tongue
• Bad breath
• Creamy white patches on the inside of the mouth that can be on the tongue (hence “thrush tongue”), the roof of the mouth, or on the inner cheeks
• Dry mouth
• Erosion of tooth enamel
• Inflamed red patches on the skin
• Loss of taste
• Oral inflammation
• Oral mucous
I have included a few oral thrush pictures for reference.
It’s also important to note that oral thrush can be passed from one person to another and is most often passed from mother to child during birth. It can also be passed through saliva.
How to Treat “Trush Tongue” Naturally
In convention medicine, oral thrush is treated with antifungal medications. However, these medicines often come along with side effects like possible liver damage and can even affect estrogen levels which aren’t the best thing to subject yourself or your infant to.
On top of that, these anti-fungal medications do not address the root cause of the problem which is why they must be used for extended periods of time and often fail to eradicate the overgrowth.
Thankfully, there are natural methods you can use to treat oral thrush without the side effects!
Diet plays a huge role in the treatment of any type of yeast or fungal infection. The huge factor to consider here are simple sugars which feed yeast and give it an opportunistic edge over your good bacteria.
Eating nutrient-dense foods like dark leafy greens, fresh vegetables, and lean proteins like beans, legumes, fish, and poultry is key to fueling your body without feeding yeast.
Eating probiotic-rich foods like live and fermented yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, and miso soup is another great way to help replenish the good bacteria in your gut.
Since candida albicans thrives off of sugar and yeast, it is super important to avoid the foods that contain these substances during treatment. This includes breastfeeding mothers since the food you eat is passed through the milk to the infant.
These foods include:
• Alcoholic drinks (contain simple sugars and yeasts)
• Anything with added sugar
• Condiments (most condiments contain sugar)
• Dates and raisins
• Fruit juices
• Glutenous grains like barley, rye, spelt, and wheat
• High sugar fruit like bananas, grapes, mangos
• Maple syrup
• Strong, aged, or moldy cheeses
All of these foods must be avoided for at least one month during the initial phase of treatment.
Supplements for Thrush Tongue
Below are some of the best supplements and herbs you can use to help treat oral thrush naturally. I have listed which ones are safe to use for breastfeeding mothers as well for easy reference.
Betaine HCL helps improve stomach acid levels by balancing gastrointestinal PH and increasing the level of hydrochloric acid in the gut. It is essential for the proper digestion and assimilation of proteins and the absorption of vitamins and minerals. (source)
It’s important to have proper stomach acid levels when treating oral thrush (and any other form of candida) by supporting healthy digestion as much as possible. Low stomach acid levels allow larger food particles to enter the digestive tract where bad bacteria can flourish.
It is unclear if breastfeeding mothers can take Betaine HCL, but you can sub it with a shot glass of raw apple cider vinegar to get similar results. You can dilute the ACV as needed.
Take 1-2 capsules of Betaine HCL or one shot glass of raw apple cider vinegar before every meal.
Caprylic acid is a saturated fatty acid with antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties that is often used to treat yeast and fungal infections. It is naturally found in coconut oil, cow’s milk, and human breast milk and is linked to preventing candida, thrush, and urinary tract infections. (source)
There is no information I could find on the safety of breastfeeding mothers taking caprylic acid, so I would recommend against it until more information becomes available.
For those who have adult thrush, take 1,000mg of caprylic acid 3x daily.
Colloidal silver is a suspension of sub-microscopic silver nanoparticles in water that is known to kill bacteria and some pathogenic yeasts like candida by binding to the cellular wall of bacteria. It is highly antimicrobial and is even known to kill antibiotic-resistant bacteria by disrupting its biofilm.
For the treatment of oral thrush in adults, it is recommended to swish and gargle with colloidal silver to kill off candida albicans. (source)
This is my favorite colloidal silver to use.
Since it isn’t recommended to take colloidal silver internally over long periods of time (which is what you would have to do to treat yeasts and fungus), I would not recommend ingesting it while breastfeeding.
Colloidal silver is incredibly powerful and does not discriminate between good and bad bacteria in the gut, so it’s important to just use it for gargling.
Dilute it as needed.
Taking digestive enzymes will help your body digest and assimilate the nutrients in your food and further break down food particles in the gut thus preventing bad bacteria from flourishing. (source)
For this reason, they are considered to be mild antifungals and are also known to help reduce inflammation in the gut.
Digestive enzymes are safe to use for breastfeeding mothers.
Take 1-2 capsules of digestive enzymes before every meal for best results.
Echinacea is a powerful immune-stimulating herb that encourages the production and activity of white blood cells.
This is important because candida takes advantage of weakened immune systems caused by poor diet, stress, or after taking antibiotics. With the help of echinacea, the body can fight back and eliminate the yeast overgrowth. (source)
It is generally regarded as safe to take echinacea while breastfeeding and can be taken as a tea 1-2x daily.
Garlic is one of the best immune boosters that are safe to use for all ages, while pregnant, and while breastfeeding.
Garlic is also known to be incredibly antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral due to its allicin content and is one of the most effective oral thrush treatments for both infants and adults. (source)
For the treatment of thrush tongue in infants, the mother should eat raw garlic with meals in order to “infuse” her milk with the healing properties of garlic. Even consuming just one clove of raw garlic a day is effective.
For adults, take 500-1,000mg of aged garlic 2x daily or eat 1-3 cloves of raw garlic daily.
Gentian is a bitter herb that when tasted, has the ability to encourage the production of bile and other digestive secretions. This is important for the proper assimilation of foods and will help your body digest the foods you eat more thoroughly. It’s also effective against candida. (source)
The key here is to taste the bitter flavor in order for this amazing herb to work.
Since most herbal bitter formulas are labeled as “use with caution” during breastfeeding, it may be wise just to forgo their use until the infant is weaned.
For children 2+, take 1/3 the dose.
For adults, take 250mg or one dropperful of gentian tincture before every meal.
I actually really enjoy using the herbal bitters by Urban Moonshine.
Grapefruit Seed Extract
Grapefruit seed extract is one of the most common natural treatments for oral thrush as it’s known to kill candida albicans. It is a broad-spectrum antimicrobial made from the seeds and pulp of grapefruit that can be used internally or applied topically for yeast and fungus control. (source)
For breastfeeding mothers, mix 10 drops of grapefruit seed extract with one ounce of water in a dropper bottle. Shake vigorously, then apply a few drops to the nipple before feeding.
For adults, take 200mg of grapefruit seed extract 2-3x daily.
Oregano oil (aka oil of oregano, not the essential oil) is an incredibly powerful ally to employ when fighting off symptoms of oral thrush.
It’s highly antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, antiparasitic, and has amazing anti-inflammatory properties that help stave off the spread of yeast and fungus and will help kill off overgrowth. (source)
Breastfeeding mothers and other adults can take oil of oregano 2-3x daily with meals.
Pau d’arco is one of the most effective herbal treatments for candida due to its naphthoquinone content, the most powerful of which include lapachol and beta-lapachone, which are compounds that kill bacteria, fungus, viruses, and parasites.
It is believed that pau d’arco affects the cellular membrane of yeasts and fungus which allows the immune system to kill them off more effectively. (source)
For both breastfeeding moms and other adults, drink 2-3 cups of pau d’arco tea per day.
Probiotics and Fermented Foods
Probiotics are one of the best supplements you can take when fighting off oral thrush because it builds up the good bacteria in your gut and will ultimately give you the upper hand when dealing with candida.
Take one that contains at least 20 billion active organisms 2x daily after a meal.
You can also eat live fermented foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, and lacto-fermented vegetables with every meal to help replenish and diversify the good bacteria in your gut.
For breastfeeding mothers, you can apply the juices of these foods to the nipple before breastfeeding or drip an 1/8 tsp (or less!) directly into the infant’s mouth to help fight off newborn thrush 1-2x daily.
Clove Essential Oil for Thrush Tongue
For children 2+, you can mix 1-2 drops of clove essential oil in one ounce of coconut oil.
What have been your favorite remedies for oral thrush? Please share them in the comments below!
You may also enjoy reading:
Fungus Infection Remedy Using Herbs!
How to Treat Rosacea Naturally – for Good!
The Best Remedies for Treating Glaucoma Naturally
How to Treat Hormonal Acne Naturally
Antibacterial, Antifungal, and Antiviral Essential Oils and How to Use Them
Balch, James F., Mark Stengler, and Robin Young Balch. Prescription for natural cures: a self-care guide for treating health problems with natural remedies including diet, nutrition, supplements and other holistic methods. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2011.
Balch, Phyllis A. Prescription for herbal healing. Penguin, 2002.
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