Natural Or Prescription Antifungals?

Michael: Hi Bill. To answer your question regarding whether or not to use herbal or prescription antifungals …I haven’t had much luck with the herbal antifungals. I think a lot of them make claims that aren’t true and just end up draining a sick person’s wallet with little or no results. That’s just my opinion of course. There are a few herbal antifungals that I do believe have merit.

Ideally, a person suffering from candida should have himself/herself tested for food/supplement allergies via Electro Dermal Screening (a.k.a. Vega Testing). This method has proven to be 80% accurate, and takes much of the guesswork out of the getting well process. Usually you can be tested for at least 100 foods plus all of your supplements in one sitting.

Don’t spend your money on expensive garlic pills ?swallow 2 cloves per day raw (diced) with 2 glasses of water. Be aware of how you are feeling on garlic though as some people report feeling worse on it. Try to find liquid caprylic acid if you can and mix it in with some psyllium and water. Also, colloidal silver does work for some. I make my own, and I do believe it has helped somewhat.

If you try a combination/rotation of these antifungals, along with the diet and probiotics, and along with the recommendations that Susan and I made to Ken you should definitely see some positive results. If you don’t, I would try at least a 3-month course of Lamisil or Diflucan. I found Lamisil to be the most effective.

Be aware that prescription antifungals can cause some pretty wicked die-off. I was bed-ridden for 5 weeks after starting Lamisil. I had dead yeast cells coming out of every orifice in my body. I was crawling on my hands and knees to get to the washroom. I literally thought I was going to die. Don’t let that scare you though, I had a rather severe case, and the light at the end of that tunnel was well worth it.

I noticed you mentioned pain pills in another post. I suspect they are NSAIDs (non-steroid anti-inflammatory). NSAIDs can also damage the gut and intestinal flora. If you are taking these you will be making your candida condition much worse and you will not get better. Take Feverfew for pain, and use a little Kava as an anti-inflammatory. If you have arthritic type pain take glucosamine or MSM.

Mrs. Generic: We should not take synthetic antifungals because they are hard on the liver. Natural antifungals are much safer.

Michael: Hi All, I would like to get my thoughts in on the topic of natural vs synthetic antifungals. I do think that the natural antifungals (the ones that actually show some activity against candida) have a place in this illness. I think they should be the first line treatment in very mild cases. The natural antifungals that seem to work are garlic, caprylic acid, and Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE), with GSE being the most potent of the three (if you are able to tolerate it).

The buyer must be aware though. Candida is slowly becoming a profitable business for vitamin companies. Some products contain so little of the active herb that they won’t do a thing. Crook’s book mentions that

“candida strains were shown to be actively growing in Pau d’Arco tea — yet people still buy it.” This proves the power of anecdotal evidence.

I think it’s ridiculous however for someone suffering severely from a systemic case with all the signs and symptoms (gas, bloating, diarrhea, depression, insomnia, severe fatigue, thrush, vaginal, fog, prostate, allergies, etc.), to not take advantage of the known and proven candida killers such as Lamisil, Diflucan, Sporanox and Nystatin.

I would be dead right now if it wasn’t for Lamisil! I was at one point going to bed each night convinced that I wouldn’t make it through the night. I’m only 30 years old. I was so brain-fogged and literally staggering drunk from the candida toxins that I couldn’t even put a Will together! I had to crawl on my hands and knees to get to the washroom. I was like that for five years.

I’m providing this information so that others’ will understand that when we say we have “candida”, they will know that there are varying degrees of this illness. One person may simply have a rash, and the other is on a life support system in an infectious disease unit with 10 white coats standing over him/her scratching their heads.

Thanks to rotating with Lamisil, Diflucan & Sporanox, plus diet and supplements, I am 75% back to good health in one year. I’m left with only Leaky Gut Syndrome (LGS), and food allergies to battle. Without the use of a systemic antifungal, it would take years for a systemic case to show even mild improvement. To quote doc Darren’s paper:

“Natural antifungal products are far too weak to have any significant effect or else they would be used in cases of severe mycosis.”

I think people giving advice to others like “don’t take synthetic antifungals,” and “synthetics are hard on the liver,” should stop and consider what they are saying before they push that post button. That sort of advice could make the difference between someone whom is severely ill, getting their health back or dying of “unknown causes.” A short-term strain on the liver from Lamisil or Diflucan is no match for a lifetime of acetaldehyde, ammonia, and the 70 or so other toxins that candida strains generate.

I hope my post will encourage those who are suffering from a severe candida infection to seek AGGRESSIVE treatment for their situation.

Alana: I agree 100%. Prescription antifungals are what kicked my candida overgrowth; the naturals were NOT strong enough. Thanks for posting this information.

Susan in Olympia: You Go Michael! I agree with you, and don’t you think that detoxification should be an important part of treatment too? You got to get those dead and living critters out sometime!

Jane: Hi, Michael, I agree that the stronger drugs help more. But for me, I could be taking Diflucan all the rest of my life…I have been ill (without knowing it) for 35 years or more. The spam hit the fan following an antibiotic in 1997. I took Diflucan for four months. It helped some things, not all. I had to stop it for an amino acids test. Once off the Diflucan, the symptoms trickled back despite the “natural” stuff I’m taking. My PMS is horrible again. I did not go back on because tho’ liver tests were in range, I was having symptoms associated with an overtaxed liver, and am dealing with mercury, which further taxes the liver.

I would consider the medication route again as soon as my “toxic liver“ situation is better and I have addressed my sulfur intolerance. But I also have this FEAR underneath, that my strains will become resistant to the stronger drugs and then what will I do? Or that I will have to take the strong drugs for the rest of my life. Or that until the mercury is mostly out of my system (which could take years) the strains of bacteria/yeast I have cannot be eradicated. It is so complicated in my case. I wish it were simpler.

I see nothing wrong with going the prescription drug route if you can, and only wish I could! The people cured all seem to have gone that route, at the very least having had Nystatin. Others had Diflucan, Sporonox and/or Lamisil. Why mess around with natural stuff if it is like “peeing on a burning building”?

Michael: Hi Jane, You’ve been ill for 35 years and you’re worried about resistant strains? This doesn’t make sense to me. Have you tried Nystatin or Lamisil or rotating any combination? Are you on the diet and avoiding allergic foods? Are you supplementing with a good probiotic? Are you taking any fiber, and doing any colon cleansing? Please don’t settle for your current level of (poor) health. Candida must be dealt with aggressively.

Phyllis: Hi Michael, I was on Diflucan for six weeks about one year ago. I did significantly improve; however, I still have candida. I also had a systemic case. I was on antibiotics for 3 1/2 years. I too have leaky gut syndrome. Do you live in New York? If so, what doctor did you see? I am presently just taking natural antifungals. I absolutely agree with you on the antifungal drugs. My candida was so bad and entrenched in my tissues that my doctor said I needed the Diflucan. I hope you continue to do well!

Michael: Hi Phyllis, I’m not from New York or the USA for that matter. I’m from Toronto, Canada. I’ve seen many doctors since I became ill (over 400 appointments). Not one of those doctors was able to diagnose me or help at all for that matter. I hold no faith in doctors whatsoever.

Glad to hear the Diflucan helped you. Do you have LGS (leaky gut syndrome) as well? Are you avoiding foods that cause reactions? Are you taking a good probiotic? Are you doing colon cleansing along with fiber therapy? Are you taking digestive enzymes and HCL with your meals? I really believe that candida has to be dealt with aggressively in order to be controlled.

Phyllis: Dear Michael, I do have LGS, I take hydrozyme and gastozyme from Biotics Research. I also take supplements to heal the gut. I do believe that I still have candida; however, not as bad. Take care Michael and thanks again.

Amy in IL: As a synthetic antifungal user for over a year, I am cured! I stopped Diflucan on my own, and no problems to mention. Still taking Nystatin, but not often enough. My diet isn’t laced with sugar, but it isn’t very strict either. I am healthier than I’ve been in years. One thing I need to mention, though, is that I didn’t start making big progress until I stopped the negative thought patterns and changed to positive. And yes, I am a Christian, and my friend Jesus has been at my side guiding me. I run circles around my former self. I am probably underweight, but who cares! My digestive system works and even makes digestive noises again! No constipation, no brain fog! Gone, I say, all gone…. My husband and four children are extremely happy to have me back; and most of all, I love myself again…

I don’t think I’d be alive right now if I hadn’t found my doctor last year and started prescription antifungals. My doctor’s theory is that Naturopathic Doctors (ND) cannot prescribe prescriptions medications, so therefore they prescribe other treatments. Although he feels they are truly trying to be helpful, he unfortunately ends up getting patients who have been there and done that, such as me. Michael, you are brave for speaking your mind, and I respect that…Take care and good luck to you in your cure.

Michael: Hi Amy, Thank you for your kind words. I wish you all the best.

Dyl: Well, after reading all of your posts, I did even more research into your drug suggestions. (I am very open-minded and truly enjoy learning). I must say, though, that after finding the following quotes on the Internet, my opinion has not changed.

“My experience (with Lamisil) resulted in: insane skin itching of the head, ear, legs, arms, chest, back, underarms, anus and genital areas.”

“I have also suffered from liver hepatitis as a result of this drug (Lamisil).”

“A good friend of mine has definitely been affected by taking Diflucan. She was diagnosed with anti-immune hepatitis after taking this medicine and has been suffering for months with various symptoms…”

Not to mention the nausea, hair loss, kidney problems, and on and on?signals from your body that it is trying to get rid of these toxic substances. (Remember that a lot of the positive, technical information that is circulating about certain drugs is published by the drug companies themselves).

Please know that I honestly wish you all the best of luck. I am certainly not trying to push my beliefs on others. I only want to shed light on some alternative ideas in case people find themselves (still) suffering long after taking the prescriptions. Maybe then, they will remember me and try a different route. I only visit this site to help, not offend.

Alana: Dyl, I can only comment on my specific case. My purpose is not to be confrontational, but to give the other side of the argument about prescription antifungals. The natural ones sometimes are NOT strong enough to kill the yeast if it’s too far spread. In some cases, prescription antifungals are necessary. It needs to be evaluated individually, and according to ones’ wishes/ goals/availability/insurance etc. I know that it was the prescription antifungal (Diflucan) that ultimately killed my candida overgrowth (in the lower throat).

Yes, I have made dietary changes, and increased my activity. But those factors, and the natural antifungals did not get rid of the plaques in my lower throat. Diflucan did. Just wanted to give my opinion on prescription medicines. They are not for everyone, but some of us needed them in our quest to get better. It got me over the hump, and now I can continue to heal naturally. It would have been great not to use them, but they were a necessary part of my treatment.

I’m not sure if any of us can call ourselves cured. That’s not the point! The point that Michael, and a lot of others agree upon (as you can see from the responses), is that prescription antifungals are ONE part of a treatment plan. I agree totally, that diet and other life changes are drastically important. But others have benefited too from the medicines. I think Michael’s post was to try to give the other side of the story.

Polly: One of my doctors doesn’t like to use the prescription antifungals because his patients get well, and then later come back with the same problem. For some patients he seems to have a good point. If people don’t take the diet seriously because they think all that is needed is a prescription, then they will get themselves into trouble. Each time they come back they will have more resistant strains. However, if the patient is already on the diet, and is not making significant progress, it would be very sad if a doctor didn’t do the appropriate tests and give the appropriate antifungals.

There has to be some judgement used by the patient and doctor. Prescription antifungals have some drawbacks. If they damage the liver, this is hard on your immune system, reduces your enzyme production, interferes with hormones, and reduces your ability to detoxify. On the other hand, the yeast produce all those toxins which are hard on your liver, your immune system, your hormonal system, and they interfere with the absorption of your nutrition. It is a trade-off.

One can’t just assume that antifungals are always the correct treatment for symptoms of dysbiosis. If there is an overgrowth of a bacteria like Clostridia, then antifungals may make things worse. This makes it difficult to know if a poor reaction to antifungals is due to intolerance, die-off, or a worsening of the situation.

Of the prescription antifungals, Nizoral is one of the hardest on the liver, and is rarely used anymore. Lamisil, Diflucan, and Sporanox are tolerated by most. However, a couple of people on the forum noticed neurological problems with Diflucan, and one person found that she needed more and more T4 thyroid hormone to keep her TSH stable while on Diflucan. Always be on the alert for unusual reactions with any of these drugs.

Nystatin stays in the intestines, and so is supposedly the safest. Yet Nystatin only treats the surface of the intestines (take it in-between meals). I heard of one person who claimed Nystatin made him much worse, but that he improved on GSE (grapefruit seed extract) which treats the whole intestine. Yet the ammonium compounds in GSE products or perhaps the bioflavonoids might make the product intolerable for some people. Please be aware, that the effectiveness of these different antifungals depends on the type of yeast or fungus present. If one doesn’t work, try another, and/or get tested.

It might be a good idea to use either garlic or Taheebo on a regular basis even if these don’t seem to help you. These are known to help keep the bloodstream clear. A supplement of iodine, if you are low on it, will also help keep the bloodstream clear. I found Kyolic garlic helpful but not another brand that I tried. Kyolic garlic has a good reputation.

Michael, your list of effective natural antifungals left out Oil of Oregano, which is pretty broad spectrum and should be among the first products to try. Other antifungals are PAW PAW extract (Nature’s Sunshine product), Tanabilt, Biocidin, olive leaf extract, Kyloic garlic, goldenseal, Uva Ursi, Kolorex™ and colloidal silver. Many of these also have antibacterial properties. Other options aren’t direct antifungals, but they will help the immune system get rid of the fungus. These are transfer factor, Pau d’Arco, colostrum and Cats Claw. (Look for herbs from companies that have a good reputation like the Rain Tree products. Or better yet, find brands that have been tested for active components and clinical effectiveness. eg. Saventaro brand of Cats Claw.)

Another effective natural antifungal is called Yeast-Ease. The active ingredients are Maclura pomifera (Osage Orange) folium extract, and Desmanthus Illioensis (Illinois Bundleflower) extract. Yeast-Ease, is a very robust agent. It is effective at killing many different types of Candida. It is considered non-toxic to humans at even 150 times the recommended dose. It can be purchased from or phone 877-456-8872

Syclovir is a relatively new product worth considering. Some of the people at our forum have found it quite effective. Syclovir is made from food-grade plankton. This product absorbs the yeast, and various toxins. Since it absorbs rather than kills, there isn’t a problem with die-off symptoms. Since Syclovir absorbs water, you need to drink plenty of water with it. One place to make your purchase of Syclovir is from phone 619-938-1671

Unfortunately, there is a wide variation in quality with many products. Also, it depends on the person and their particular problem as to which will be the most effective. Adverse reactions need to be viewed from a bigger perspective than just “allergic,“ too. For example, grapefruit seed extract is a bioflavonoid and can interfere with the liver‘s detoxification function. Even though it is considered a “natural” antifungal, it can do harm to the liver.

Another big problem is that the dosage recommendations on the bottles are often off. If a product is expensive, like shark cartilage or probiotics, the quantity recommended on the bottle will often be too low. Have you ever noticed that almost everything in a health food store is priced under $20? People aren’t willing to try anything more expensive. If you tell them the truth, and that their $20 is only going to be a few days supply, they won’t purchase it.

Michael, I disagree with Dr. Crook’s comment about Pau D’Arco. As you point out, it does not kill fungus directly. However, it does have an action on the immune system. I found it helpful, but its effectiveness depended on the brand. Wisdom of the Ancients has a good reputation for their La Pacho (also known as Pau D’Arco or Taheebo). They carry two kinds. The red is milder than their purple. Phone (602) 921-1978. Several people at the forum say they hate the taste of the tea, yet it doesn’t bother me. The lapachol in Pau D’Arco is a vitamin K antagonist, so be careful if you are also using a blood-thinning drug like Coumadin. [3]

Beth: I make ‘coffee’ by boiling Pau D’ Arco powder (my health food store sells it ground up) and adding cinnamon. It’s really good especially if you like black coffee. The trick: boil for 5 minutes like the Nutritional Healing book says, then remove from heat, let stuff settle to bottom, and carefully pour the drink to not stir up the bottom. Then add cinnamon. I think I created this but maybe everyone already does this. Try it if you haven’t. If you like coffee, it’s a lot like coffee without a real bitter taste. I just wonder how often we could drink this without over-doing it! Every day seem okay?

Polly: I read about a person who accredited Pau D’Arco with her recovery from candidiasis. She was sipping it all day long.

Linda in Virginia: I rotate only natural antifungals. I am avoiding the pharmaceuticals because my liver is weak. I am trying to strengthen it with herbs, lipotropics, etc. I have food and chemical sensitivities too. I rotate my foods on a four-day rotation schedule so I do likewise with my antifungals. If my antifungals are part of a food family I use them on the day I eat from that family. For instance, I use caprylic acid on the day I use coconut oil for cooking since they are both derived from coconuts. I use oregano oil on the day I use any spices from that family; same for garlic. Right now I am using caprylic acid, garlic, oregano and tannalbit. I have also used undecylenic acid, pau d’arco capsules, grapefruit seed extract. I change around occasionally to avoid building an intolerance. I find even with rotating foods I still build an intolerance to them so I assume I will do the same with antifungals. I have read that one cannot build an intolerance to dioxychlor (oxygen therapy). I use that sometimes along with the antifungals. I find it to be very strong (lots of die-off). It also destroys the good bacteria so probiotics have to be taken at least two hours away from the dioxychlor.

Sara: Five weeks ago I started an anti-yeast program given to me by my acupuncturist. He is also a bio-chemist and he is very respected around here. He is having me DRINK a QUARTER CUP a DAY of “phenolated iodine.” It’s a special kind of iodine which he says will NOT penetrate or affect your thyroid in any way, but WILL kill every yeast and fungus in your body. He helped develop this “phenolated iodine” idea, and he says it works much better than Diflucan. He is also having me take TWELVE caps of Candimyacin a day, which is a very high dose of a supplement by Phyto Pharmica which includes Oil of Oregano, Thyme Oil, Peppermint Oil, and Goldenseal. He says these two things will blast the yeast out of your body — no questions asked. After five weeks, I have NO MORE sinus or ear congestion. It is completely gone. My sinuses feel more clear than they ever have in my life. I also have NO MORE urinary pain, it is gone. I do have urinary frequency though, and all my other symptoms.

Polly: Hi Sara. The phenolated iodine is very interesting. Is there some place where I could learn more about it? Glad it is helping you.

Sara: It is manufactured in a solution called DAG — not sure what that stands for. It was originally made for gargling and topical use. I’m not sure if anyone else besides my doctor’s patients is actually DRINKING it!

Shari in Chicago: About the phenolated iodine, Sara. I would be concerned about the phenol component of that product. I had allergy shots containing a phenol preservative before I got sick and I think it really sent me downhill. So that’s why I bring this up to you. I don’t mean to sound like a doomsayer (nearly every treatment has risks), it’s just something to consider.

Polly: Like Shari, I do worry a bit about any compound with phenols in it. Phenols suppress the detoxifying systems of the body. Also, some of the autistic and mercury poisoned people have a particularly hard time removing phenols. Yet, if your liver and thyroid are healthy, perhaps it won’t be much of a problem.

Here is one place to purchase the DAG, phone (888) 421-9355. The DAG contains phenolated iodine in an Irish moss extract with organic borates. The other product that you mentioned is sold at many different Internet sites. Here is one place to find Candimyacin, or phone 800-830-1028. Candimyacin supplement contains oil extracts of oregano, thyme and peppermint with a standardized extract of goldenseal root.

Kathleen: Lamisil warning! A complete blood count (CBC) after six weeks of Lamisil therapy revealed that I am severely leukopenic. My white blood cell count (WBC) is 1.9. This is dangerous. Under precautions for Lamisil in the Physician’s Desk Reference (PDR) is the possibility of severe leukopenia. If you have been on Lamisil for a while, please consider getting a complete blood count.

Susan L: I just got back from a liver specialist in Dallas. I couldn’t believe what he said. In high enough doses, Nystatin can and will irritate the liver. The worst are the azoles and Lamisil then the next group is Nystatin. The least liver annoying is amphotericin B oral (remember oral not iv). It is the least liver toxic of all the prescription antifungals. (The azoles are ketoconazole, fluconazole, and itraconazole. These are also known as Nizoral, Diflucan, and Sporanox.)

Later — Polly: Nick posted a reference that said Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) does not appear to have anti-microbial properties. It is actually the preservatives in the GSE products that have the anti-microbial properties. Preservative-free GSE did not kill the bacteria and yeast which were examined in this testing. [4] Yet, if you go to the Citricidel/Nutribiotic website, they claim the tests in Germany and Japan were false positive. The company regularly tests for contaminents like this using US labs and cannot find the substances. They use organic grapefruit and carefully control their product. See this article:

Most people are familiar with grapefruit seed’s ability to kill protozoa and yeast. However, the Citricidel website points to invitro evidence that GSE also kills off viruses like measles, Herpes Simplex Virsus-1, influenza A virus, and some animal viruses. They also give testimonials from people who use GSE topically to get rid of warts. [5]

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