Thrush is the common name for infection of a mucous membrane by the fungus Candida albicans. It sometimes affects the mouth, particularly in young babies, but is most often a vaginal infection.

Thrush often follows a course of antibiotics, because these kill many of the helpful bacteria in the intestines. Everybody has the Candida organisms present in the body, but in normal conditions the intestinal flora keep the Candida from proliferating to a level where they cause trouble.

Aromatherapy treatment consists of baths and local applications of Lavender, Myrrh or Tea tree oil, or a blend of any of these three. These three oils are some of the few known to be anti-fungal, and although Tea tree is possibly the most powerful of the three, it may irritate the delicate mucous membrane, so use it in very low proportions in a blend with Myrrh or Lavender, and very well diluted.

At the same time, yoghurt tablets, or lactobacillus capsules, should be taken to help re-establish the intestinal flora, and plenty of live yoghurt eaten. Women who have prolonged or repeated bouts of thrush may need to follow a special anti-Candida diet which restricts all sugars severely, as the fungus thrives on all kinds of sugars and starches, especially the refined kinds. Yeast, yeast derivatives and fermented foods, such as miso, soy sauce, vinegar, etc. must also be excluded.

Treatment with essential oils and diet must be continued for a considerable time, even though symptoms may disappear quite quickly. Three months, and possibly six months may be needed to bring the Candida invasion of the body under control, and discontinuing treatment too soon will lead to a reappearance of symptoms quite soon. As with any prolonged aromatherapy treatment, vary the choice of oils from time to time.

Thrush and cystitis often alternate with each other in a painful and depressing cycle, because the antibiotics given for the cystitis suppress the body's natural way of controlling Candida organisms. Using essential oils to treat the cystitis, either alone on in conjunction with antibiotics if necessary, and using yoghurt or lacto-bacillus to counter the side effects of the drugs, can break this cycle.

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