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Yeast Infection and Chinese Medicine: A Comprehensive Guide

Written by Eduardo Velasco Valido

AP, LAc



Yeast infections are a common problem for many women. Although traditional Western medicine offers several treatments for this condition, some prefer to explore more natural alternative options. Chinese medicine is an alternative gaining popularity among women seeking natural remedies for yeast infections.



fungal overgrowth



Chinese medicine views yeast infections as a result of an imbalance in the body's energy, or qi. This imbalance can be caused by factors such as stress, poor diet, or hormonal changes. Chinese medicine practitioners know that restoring balance to the body's energy can help eliminate yeast infections or any fungal infection and prevent them from recurring.

TCM treatments for yeast infections may include acupuncture, herbal remedies, and dietary changes. Acupuncture involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body to stimulate energy flow and promote healing. Herbal remedies may include teas, tinctures, or capsules made from various plants with antifungal properties. Dietary changes may involve avoiding certain foods contributing to yeast overgrowth or candida albicans, such as sugar and refined carbohydrates, and increasing probiotic-rich foods like yogurt and kefir intake to improve our intestinal flora.


Understanding Yeast Infections


Chinese herbs

Yeast infections are a common fungal infection that affects both men and women. The infection is caused by an overgrowth of a type of yeast called Candida albicans, which is naturally present in the body. However, when the body's balance of bacteria and yeast is disrupted, Candida can grow out of control, leading to a yeast infection.

Yeast infections can occur in various parts of the body, including the mouth, throat, genitals, and skin folds. The most common type of yeast infection is vaginal yeast infection, which affects up to 3 out of 4 women at some point in their lives. But the origin is in the imbalance of intestinal flora.

Symptoms of yeast infection may include itching, burning, and soreness in the affected area, as well as vaginal discharge, pain during sex, and redness and swelling of the vulva.

In traditional Chinese medicine, yeast infections are considered Damp Heat, which is a mix of congestion and infection.

Damp Heat can produce symptoms all over the body. We consider that candida overgrowth can affect the skin, the genitals (like a vaginal yeast infection), the digestive tract, the respiratory system, etc.


Treatment typically involves a combination of acupuncture, herbal medicine, and dietary changes to rebalance the body's energy and eliminate candida overgrowth.

Some common herbal remedies used in Chinese medicine for yeast infections include:

  • Huang Bai (Phellodendron bark): Known for its antifungal and antibacterial properties, Huang Bai is often used to treat vaginal yeast infections.

  • Bai Tou Weng (Pulsatilla root): This herb is believed to clear Dampness and heat from the body and is often used to treat vaginal discharge and itching.

  • Yi Yi Ren (Job's tears): This herb is believed to strengthen the Spleen and eliminate Dampness from the body, making it useful for treating yeast infections.

In addition to herbal remedies, dietary changes are also recommended in TCM to treat yeast infections. This may include avoiding foods considered Damp-forming, such as dairy products, sugar, and processed foods, and increasing the intake of foods believed to strengthen the Spleen, such as grains, vegetables, and lean proteins.

While yeast infections can be uncomfortable and inconvenient, they are easily treatable with the right approach. Traditional Chinese medicine offers a holistic approach to treating yeast infections, focusing on rebalancing the body's energy and eliminating excess dampness to restore health and well-being.


Traditional Chinese Medicine: An Overview


Chinese pharmacy

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a holistic approach to healthcare that has been practiced for thousands of years in China. It is based on the concept of balancing the body's energy, or qi, to promote overall health and well-being.

TCM includes a variety of practices, such as acupuncture, herbal medicine, massage, and dietary therapy. These practices are often used in combination to address a wide range of health issues, including yeast infections.

One of the key principles of TCM is the idea that the body is a complex system that is interconnected and constantly in flux. Therefore, TCM practitioners focus on treating the whole person rather than just the symptoms of a particular condition.

In TCM, the diagnosis of a yeast infection is based on a variety of factors, including the patient's symptoms, medical history, and overall health.

To make a correct diagnosis, we need to recapitulate the most important symptoms, analyze the pulse, and observe the tongue and ears.

Treatment may involve a combination of herbal remedies, acupuncture, and dietary changes.

TCM offers a unique perspective on healthcare that emphasizes the importance of balance and harmony in the body.

While there is still much to learn about the effectiveness of TCM for treating yeast infections, many people have found relief through these traditional practices.



Yeast Infection Chinese Medicine Approach


herbalist

Diagnosis

In Chinese medicine, yeast infection is often diagnosed as an imbalance of the body's internal environment. The diagnosis is based on a combination of symptoms, tongue diagnosis, and pulse diagnosis. Symptoms of yeast infections include itching, burning, and discharge. The tongue may appear red or have a thick coating, and the pulse may be rapid or slippery.

In TCM, we make a diagnosis based on the " 8 Principle Pattern Identification".

This traditional Asian medicine is around three thousand years old; back in that time, they didn't know if the problem was due to bacterial and viral infections, yeast overgrowth, etc. They knew it was due to an imbalance produced by an excess of "Damp heat," and with the proper Chinese herbal medicine, they discovered how to help the patients efficiently.


Treatment

Chinese medicine treatment for yeast infection involves addressing the root cause of the imbalance. This may involve a combination of herbal remedies, acupuncture, and dietary changes. Some commonly used herbs for treating yeast infections include:

  • Huang Bai (Phellodendron bark)

  • Ku Shen (Sophora root)

  • Bai Tou Weng (Pulsatilla root)

  • Huang Qin (Scutellaria root)

Acupuncture can also help regulate the body's internal environment and promote healing. Points on the spleen, liver, and kidney meridians are often used to treat any yeast infection.

Dietary changes may also be recommended to help balance the body's internal environment. This may include avoiding foods that are dampening or that promote the growth of yeast, such as sugar, alcohol, and refined carbohydrates. Probiotic-rich foods, such as yogurt and kefir, may also be recommended to help restore balance to the gut microbiome and reduce the fungal infection.

Overall, TCM offers a holistic approach to treating yeast infections that focuses on restoring balance to the body's internal environment. By addressing the root cause of the imbalance, TCM can provide long-term relief from yeast infections, like vaginal yeast infections.


Key Chinese Herbs for Yeast Infections

Yeast infections are a common problem that can affect anyone. While there are many treatments available, some people prefer to use traditional Chinese medicine to treat yeast infections. Chinese herbs have been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments, including vaginal yeast infections. Here are some key Chinese herbs that are commonly used to treat yeast infections:


Berberine

Berberine is a compound found in several Chinese herbs, including goldenseal, barberry, and coptis. It has been shown to have antimicrobial properties, which makes it effective against yeast infections. Berberine can help inhibit yeast growth and reduce inflammation in the body. It can also help to boost the immune system, which can help to prevent future infections.

Ku Shen (Sophorae Flavescentis Radix)

It is very bitter and very cold, with descending nature. It expels wind, stops itching, and promotes urination. Usually indicated with candida infection or fungal infections due to excess Damp Heat. Very effective for vaginal infections.

Garlic

Garlic is a common ingredient in many Chinese dishes, and it has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine to treat a variety of ailments. Garlic contains compounds that have antifungal properties, which makes it effective against yeast infections. It can also help to boost the immune system and reduce inflammation in the body. Garlic can be consumed raw or cooked, or it can be taken in supplement form.

Shé Chuán Zi (Cnidii fructus)

Acrid, bitter, and warm, it warms the Kidneys, assists the Yang, expels wind, dries dampness, and kills parasites.

She Chuan Zi can treat candida infection when the pattern is due to a 'Damp Cold."

In conclusion, TCM offers a variety of herbs that can be used to treat yeast infections. Berberine, pau d'arco, and garlic are just a few of the many herbs that can be effective against yeast infections. It is important to consult with a qualified traditional Chinese medicine practitioner before using any herbal remedies.


Acupuncture and Yeast Infections

Acupuncture is a traditional TCM technique that involves inserting thin needles into

acupuncture

specific points on the body to stimulate healing. This technique has been used for thousands of years to treat a variety of conditions, including yeast infections.

According to TCM, yeast infections are caused by an imbalance in the body's energy or Qi. Acupuncture can help rebalance the body's energy, which can alleviate the symptoms of yeast infections.

During an acupuncture session, the practitioner will insert needles into specific points on the body, such as the lower abdomen, to stimulate the body's natural healing processes. This can help reduce inflammation, boost the immune system, and improve circulation, which can all help alleviate the symptoms of yeast infections.

Overall, acupuncture can be a safe and effective treatment option for yeast infections when used in conjunction with other Chinese medicine techniques. However, consulting with a licensed practitioner before beginning any new treatment regimen is important.


Prevention Tips: Chinese Medicine Perspective


Dietary Recommendations

We know that a healthy diet is crucial in preventing yeast infections. Foods that are too greasy, spicy, or sweet should be avoided, as they can create an environment conducive to yeast growth. Instead, cooling and detoxifying natural foods, such as green vegetables, fruits, and grains, are recommended.

Some specific foods that can help prevent yeast infections include:

  • Garlic: Garlic is known for its antifungal properties and can help prevent yeast overgrowth.

  • Coconut oil: Coconut oil contains lauric acid, which has been shown to have antifungal properties.

  • Probiotic-rich foods: Consuming foods that are high in probiotics, such as yogurt and kefir, can help maintain a healthy balance of bacteria in the body.

Recommendations:

Dandelion, beet tops, carrot tops, barley, garlic, rice vinegar, mung beans, citrus fruits, and animal products.

Avoid:

Sugar, excessive fruits, yeast-containing foods, processed foods, seed oils, cheese, soy sources, smoking, alcohol, and caffeine.


Lifestyle Changes

In addition to dietary changes, lifestyle changes can be made to prevent yeast infections. Here are some tips:

  • Wear breathable clothing: Tight-fitting clothing can create a warm and moist environment, which is perfect for yeast growth. Wearing loose-fitting clothing made from breathable materials, such as cotton, can help prevent yeast infections.

  • Keep the genital area clean and dry: It is important to keep the genital area clean and dry, especially after exercising or swimming. Moisture can create a breeding ground for yeast.

  • Practice stress-reducing techniques: Stress can weaken the immune system, making the body more susceptible to infections. Practicing stress-reducing techniques, such as meditation or deep breathing, can help prevent yeast infections.

By following these dietary and lifestyle recommendations, individuals can help prevent yeast infections from occurring. It is important to note that if an individual does experience symptoms of a yeast infection, they should seek medical attention to receive proper treatment.


Comparing Chinese Medicine and Western Medicine

TCM and Western medicine have different approaches to treating yeast infections. Western medicine typically relies on antifungal medications, such as fluconazole, to eliminate the infection. These medications can be effective, but they may also have side effects, such as nausea and headaches, due to the attack on the beneficial bacteria.

TCM, on the other hand, takes a holistic approach to treating yeast infections. The goal of TCM is to strengthen the body so that the body can get rid of the infections by itself.

This approach will help us, with the use of Chinese herbal medicine, to solve fungal infections and candida infections without destroying the beneficial bacteria and making us stronger.

One key difference between the two approaches is that Western medicine focuses on treating the symptoms of the infection, while TCM aims to address the underlying cause. Western medicine may provide faster relief from symptoms, but East medicine offers a more long-term solution.

Another difference is that Western medicine tends to rely on standardized treatments, while Chinese medicine takes a more individualized approach. Before developing a treatment plan, TCM practitioners will assess each patient's unique symptoms and energy imbalances.


Case Studies and Clinical Trials

Chinese medicine has been used for centuries to treat various health conditions, including the common yeast infection or candida infections. Several case studies and clinical trials have been conducted to evaluate the efficacy of Chinese medicine in treating yeast infections.

There are plenty of studies proving the efficacy of Chinese herbs in the treatment of candida infection:

Antifungal Mechanisms of a Chinese Herbal Medicine, Cao Huang Gui Xiang, Against Candida Species

In vitro antifungal activity of 163 extracts from traditional Chinese medicine herbs



Conclusion

Chinse Medicine is one of the best options for chronic issues with Yeast infections and to prevent future flare-ups.

Chinese Herbal Medicine and Acupuncture offer a safe and effective alternative with the capacity to strengthen your immune system, preventing future infections and providing better life quality without side effects.

We invite you to visit us in Soul Acupuncture & Herbal and discover more about what Chinese Medicine can do for you!


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