Yeast Infections: Natural Treatments

By Dr. Mao Shing Ni


The candida yeast organism is a normal part of the intestinal flora - the microorganisms that live in the digestive tract. The balance of the intestinal flora can be disturbed by the use of antibiotics, birth control pills, immunosuppressant drugs, hormones, poor diet, excess stress, alcohol consumption, and other factors. In cases of extreme imbalance, candida flourishes. Initially its overgrowth is limited to the intestines, but it can invade other parts of the body, the most common of which is the vaginal tract.


When left untreated, yeast overgrowth produces alcohol and other toxic by-products that put stress on the body. Over 75 percent of women suffer a vaginal yeast infection at least once. The humid, moist, and warm environment of the vagina is very hospitable to yeast. The most common symptom of a yeast infection is a creamy, curdlike discharge accompanied by vaginal itching and burning, painful urination, and pain during intercourse. The condition often gets worse after receiving antibiotic treatments. Conventional medicine typically treats yeast infections with topical or oral antifungal medications.


Chinese medicine classifies candida as an accumulation of dampness and heat toxin in the body. Often a result of a weakened spleen-pancreas-stomach network, digestion is impaired, leading to a buildup of dampness, which tends to permeate the lower parts of the body. The sticky, congealing nature of dampness combined with emotional stress blocks the free flow of energy, generating heat and toxins. The dampness and heat toxin discharge through the vaginal opening, giving rise to the symptoms of candida infection.


The relationship between the digestive system and yeast is the key to long-term relief from recurrent yeast infections; this is the case for most of the patients I see for yeast infections. Yeast infections can also result from a weakened immune system, as in chronic fatigue syndrome.


My approach to treatment starts with a diet free of ingredients that fuel the growth of yeast, such as refined carbohydrates. I use acupuncture and herbal therapies to support healthy immune function and to inhibit fungal activity and expel dampness and heat toxins.


Related conditions: candida


Below are recommendations I give to my patients.





The most important line of defense against candida imbalance, which is almost always the cause of vaginal yeast infections, is proper diet.

  1. The diet should be low in carbohydrates - all breads, including wheat and rye breads - should be eliminated, as well as dairy products, cheeses of all kinds, alcohol, sugar, pastries, candy, vinegar, and all pickled foods.
  2. Eat more leafy green vegetables, including spinach, collard greens, Swiss chard, mustard greens, dandelion greens, beet tops, carrot tops, as well as barley, garlic, mung beans, citrus fruits, kohlrabi, cabbage, artichokes, and shiitake mushrooms.
  3. Fish and nuts should replace red meat and animal fats. Walnut, sesame, flaxseed, olive, and virgin coconut oils are most desirable.
  4. Eat little or no fruits, as their sugars fuel the growth of yeast.
  5. Avoid cold and raw foods that cause digestive dampness.
  6. Leftovers should be frozen, not refrigerated, since mold has a great opportunity to grow overnight.





  1. yeast infection remedy: dandelion teaDandelion tea: make a tea by boiling 1 cup of fresh dandelion in 3 1/2 cups of water for 30 minutes. Strain, and drink 3 cups a day.
  2. Artichokes: eat 2 steamed artichokes a day for 1 week, or until the condition clears up. Artichokes have natural antifungal properties.
  3. Clean green juice: juice 1 bunch beet tops, 1 bunch carrot tops, and 1 large daikon radish. Drink 2 to 3 glasses a day for 1 week, or until the condition subsides.





  1. Vitamins C (1,000 milligrams) and E (800 IU) and selenium (200 micrograms) act as anti-inflammatory agents and help supportcaprylic acid and garlic for yeast infections immune function.
  2. Omega-6 (450 milligrams GLA) and omega-3 (1,000 milligrams EPA; 800 milligrams DHA) essential fatty acids are useful as natural anti-inflammatories.
  3. Probiotics such as acidophilus (3 to 5 billion organisms) are commonly used supplements to control candida overgrowth.
  4. Taking enteric-coated garlic pills (900 milligrams) can inhibit the growth of candida.
  5. Taking caprylic acid (500 milligrams) work as an effective antifungal.
  6. Make sure all vitamins and supplements that you take are yeast free.





Herbs can be found in health food or vitamin stores, online, and at the offices of Chinese medicine practitioners. Herbs should be used according to individual needs; consult with a licensed practitioner for a customized formulation. To learn more about the herbs listed here, go to

  1. Chinese herbs that have specific and general antifungal properties include pagoda tree fruit, chaulmoogra seeds, erythrina bark, aloe vera, and genkwa flower.
  2. Traditional Chinese herbs used to treat yeast infections include gentian root, skullcap, gardenia, akebia, plantain, alisma, bupleurum, rehmannia, angelica, and licorice.
  3. Herbs to strengthen the spleen-pancreas-stomach network and digestive function include hawthorn, astragalus, codonopsis, atractylodis, tangerine, cardamom, and dioscorea.





In addition to a regular exercise regimen, I recommend the General Cleansing Qi Gong, which helps with circulation, cleanses the body of toxins, and enhances immune function.

stress release meditation dvdSit comfortably or lie down on your back. Slow your respiration to deep, abdominal breathing.

• Say the word “calm” in your mind with every exhalation.

• You’ll be visualizing the relaxation of a body part and releasing tension with every exhalation. Trace the following 3 pathways outlined below.


1. First pathway – down the front of the body: start at the top of your head. Inhale, and then exhale and visualize your scalp muscles relaxing. Say “calm” in your mind. Repeat this, saying the word with each body part as you move down through your face, throat, chest, abdomen, thighs, knees, calves, ankles, and feet. When you’ve relaxed your feet, visualize all the tension in your body leaving through your toes in the form of dark smoke.

2. Second pathway – down the sides of the body: start at the temple region of your head. This pathway focuses on the sides and upper extremities. Inhale, then exhale and visualize your temple muscles relaxing. Say the word “calm” in your mind. Repeat this, saying the word with each body part as you move down through your jaw, the sides of your neck, shoulders, upper arms, elbows, forearms, wrists, and hands. Once you’ve relaxed your hands, visualize all the tension leaving your body through your fingertips in the form of dark smoke.

3. Third pathway – down the back of the body: the final pathway begins at the back of your head. This path relaxes the back of your body. Repeat the breathing visualization- word routine, as above, as you go from the back of your neck to your upper back, middle back, lower back, back of thighs, calves, and heels. Then focus on the acupoint Bubbling Spring , on the soles of your feet, for 1 minute.


• Practice this meditation for at least 15 minutes twice daily, and once before bedtime.





  1. First, use the acupressure point below the kneecap: find the acupointACUPRESSURE POINT 1 FOR YEAST INFECTIONS Foot Three Miles (ST-36), four fingerwidths below the kneecap on the right leg. Apply moderate pressure with your right thumb until you feel soreness. Hold for 2 minutes. Repeat on the left leg.
  2. Second, use the acupressure point on the lower leg: find the acupoint Abundant Flesh (ST-40), midway between ACUPRESSURE POINT 2 FOR YEAST INFECTIONSthe bottom of the right kneecap and outer anklebone, two finger-widths to the outside of the shinbone. Apply steady pressure with your right thumb until you feel soreness. Hold for 2 minutes. Repeat on the left leg.

Engaging these points can strengthen digestive function and enhance immunity to prevent candida buildup.





  1. Consult your physician about broad-spectrum antibiotics, which radically alter balance and can cause yeast overgrowth.
  2. Avoid douches, vaginal deodorants, and long bubble baths taken often, which can change the pH balance of the vaginal canal in favor of yeast overgrowth.
  3. Avoid alcohol use and,
  4. Overeating sweets, which also contribute to yeast buildup.
  5. Avoid improper hygiene, to prevent vaginal yeast infections.




  1. Balch, P.A. Prescription for Nutritional Healing. 4th ed. New York: Avery, 2006.
  2. Berkow, R., and A. J. Fletcher, eds. The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy. Rahway, NJ: Merck, 1992.
  3. Blumenthal, M., ed. The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Boston: Integrative Medicine, 1998, 463.
  4. Ni, M. Self-Healing Qi Gong (video). Los Angeles: Seven Star, 1992.
  5. Ni, M., and C. McNease. The Tao of Nutrition. Los Angeles: Seven Star, 1987.


©2015 Dr. Mao Shing Ni

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