Thrush--also called a yeast infection or Candidiasis--is caused by the Candida albicans micro-organism growing out of control. Symptoms include white patches in the mouth, a cottony feeling in the mouth, and an inability to taste. Thrush is more common in babies, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems. Antibiotics--which disrupt your protective intestinal flora-- can make you susceptible to thrush. If you have thrush, you should be treated by a physician. Some people turn to oregano oil to relieve symptoms. Although early research on oregano oil is promising, it has only been studied in the laboratory, not on humans. Before trying oregano oil, you should get the go-ahead from your doctor. .
Visit a health foods store or go online to purhase medicinal Mediterranean oregano oil, also known as Oreganum vulgare. Do not use the essential oil from common oregano--Origanum marjorana---also called pot marjoram; it does not have the same medicinal effects. Make sure the oregano you buy is chemical-free, and grown either wild or organically.
Squeeze two or three drops of oregano oil into a glass of water and drink it, being careful not to let the undiluted oil touch your lips; straight oregano oil can burn the skin. The main antimicrobial ingredients of oregano oil are the volatile oils carvacrol and thymol, which have both antiseptic and antifungal qualities. According to the National Center for Biotechnological Information website, one study demonstrated that oil of oregano inhibited the growth of Candida albicans in mice. Oregano oil also contains esters that are antifungal agents, as well as beneficial flavonoids, sterols and the antioxidant vitamins A and C. According to the Diagnose Me website, studies have shown that oregano oil kills E. coli and various staph bacteria. Oregano oil may prevent secondary bacterial infections from developing.
Take two enteric-coated 50-mg. capsules of oregano oil twice a day with meals and with plenty of water to prevent digestive upset. This is an alternate way of taking oregano oil for thrush.
Create an unfriendly environment for Candida albicans by banishing sugar and alcohol from your diet, including soda, honey, fruit juice, and beer. Eat non-processed foods--such as lean meats--and avoid yeasty foods such as mushrooms and cheese.
Dilute one tsp. of oregano oil with an equal amount of olive oil and massage it twice daily on affected nails and cuticles to combat any nail fungus caused by Candida albicans.
Eat plain, unsweetened yogurt with active probiotics to reintroduce beneficial bacteria to your mouth.
Gargling with a half tsp. of salt in a cup of warm water can give additional relief from thrush symptoms.
Never begin an herbal or supplementary regimen without first consulting your doctor; herbs and supplements can have side effects and interfere with prescription medications. To learn about the side effects of herbs and supplements, visit the National Library of Medicine.
Do not use oregano oil in the eyes or genitals, and don't use it if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Carol Sarao is an entertainment and lifestyle writer whose articles have appeared in Atlantic City Weekly, The Women's Newspaper of Princeton, and New Millennium Writings. She has interviewed and reviewed many national recording acts, among them Everclear, Live, and Alice Cooper, and received her Master of Fine Arts degree in writing from Warren Wilson College.