Neem’s, scientific name Azadirachta indica, is a traditional medicinal tree native to the Indian subcontinent. Various parts of the Neem tree and products derived from them have been traditionally used in India for their medicinal properties. Research over the past sixty years have studied the active compounds in Neem and validated their biological activity to explain the medicinal effects, leading to worldwide interest in this tree. Neem is an integral part of the Ayurvedic system of medicine, and medicinal use have been described for the leaves, roots, fruits, seed oil, and bark. The products from Neem tree have been demonstrated to exhibit immunity enhancing, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, antimalarial, antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral, and ant carcinogenic properties.
How Can Neem Help Against Candida?
Candida is a yeast like fungus that normally is present on the human body, but its overgrowth leads to infection in different parts of the body like the genitourinary tract, skin, gastrointestinal tract, lungs and mouth. Extensive research studies have shown that extracts of neem leaf, neem oil and seed kernels are effective against Candida.
Neem products are effective to treat Candidal infections due to the constituent compounds nimbidol and edunin, whose antifungal effects have been shown in various studies. Neem extracts also boost the body’s immune system and help combating candida infection.
Different Forms of Neem Products
Traditionally, Neem has been used in India in form of its leaves (raw, crushed or cooked), powder of the bark, fruit, crushed seed, seed oil, and as twigs for chewing. Neem products that are commonly available commercially are: Neem seed oil, oral pills and capsules containing powdered Neem leaves, vaginal Neem tablets (suppositories), Neem toothpaste, powdered Neem leaves, and Neem oil enriched soaps and creams.
Neem seed oil is a highly concentrated form of Neem extracts, and is a powerful medicine for various infections. It is contraindicated to use Neem oil in children, as it can cause liver damage and toxicity. Neem oil should not be used by pregnant women or women trying to conceive. Neem seed oil is usually applied externally to infections.
Oral use of a very low dose of Neem oil has also shown effectiveness for oral and intestinal candida infection and intestinal worms. Neem cream or salve is easy to apply on the skin for various skin conditions, and is mild and easy to use. Neem leaf based pills and capsules are easy to take orally and are used for treating a variety of systemic and intestinal conditions. Among all Neem products, Neem oil is the most powerful preparation that has wide ranging use.
Use of Neem Products in Treating Specific Candidal Infections
1. Oral Candidiasis: 3 drops of Neem oil swished around in the mouth and swallowed has been shown to be effective in eradicating oral and gut candida infection. Neem extract enriched toothpaste has also shown antifungal activity and can be useful for mild oral candida infection.
2. Skin Candida Infections: Neem oil is directly applied on skin patches or infection, usually in underarms, between toes or fingers, caused by candida. It is useful in such cases to take bath with Neem soap. Neem salve is also used for candida infection of the skin.
3. Intestinal Candidiasis: Neem leaf based pills and capsules are effective for intestinal candidiasis. Neem oil is an extremely concentrated form of Neem extracts, and therefore, must be taken in a very low dose for intestinal candidiasis: three drops once in a day.
4. Genital Candidiasis: Neem extract vaginal suppositories is an effective treatment for candida infection of the vagina in women. Application of Neem oil in vagina and surrounding areas, and in the genital areas of men is highly effective for the treatment of candida infection of the genital area.
Is Neem Effective for Systemic Candida Overgrowth
Sometimes the candida infection may spread throughout the body in a person whose immunity is severely compromised, for example, in HIV infection. In such cases, the candida sepsis leads to a critical condition, which may be fatal. However, in complementary and alternate medicine (CAM), a yeast syndrome or chronic candidiasis is described in which systemic overgrowth of yeast in the body leads to a constellation of symptoms including fatigue, sinus congestion, intestinal gas, poor concentration, depression, muscle aches, and headaches. CAM practitioners have achieved excellent results with Neem leaf capsules in treating this condition. The strong antifungal properties of Neem combined with immunomodulatory effects lead to a rapid and complete healing in systemic Candida overgrowth.
Can Neem Cause Candida Die-Off?
A die-off reaction, also known as the Herxheimer reaction, is a flu-like illness that results when antimicrobial treatment causes sudden death of a large number of microbes in the body and these dying microbes release toxins on their breakdown. The symptoms include nausea, headaches, fever, palpitations, sweating, body rashes, chills, and pain. CAM practioners mention a similar Candida die-off reaction when people with yeast overgrowth start treatment. Neem is a strong detox agent, and helps die-off symptoms decrease quickly by removing the toxins that lead to this reaction.