About the Illness

Genital thrush is a yeast infection occurring as a result of too much Candida albicans fungus growing in a person's body. The fungus grows in the digestive system and if allowed to get out of control,  it can spread to other parts of the body, including the genital areas. It is an infection that is common in people with weak immune systems, particularly those who are malnourished or HIV+ .



Common Symptoms

Women: Severe itching and irritation of genital area; redness and swelling of the vulva;  thick, white and smelly vaginal discharge; burning sensation when urinating;  pain during intercourse; period irregularities.

Men: Penis head becomes very itchy; red patches and blisters on the end of the penis and around the foreskin; discharge from penis; pain while urinating;  men produce a lot of semen which is hot and stings during intercourse.



Children's Issues

Thrush is not a common problem in children, but it can occur, usually in HIV+ children.



Important Information

N/A



Herbal Therapy

Clean the genital area by using either a vaginal douche (women), penis soak (men) or a genital soak (children) using one of the following solutions 2x daily.
(Detailed descriptions of these procedures are below under Body Work & General Advice.)
Moringa oleifera Leaf Extract Pound/blend moringa leaves in cold water. Wash the infected area with a soft cloth and then use a douche or soak, as described below.



Cold Water Extract
 
  • This is used to extract ingredients that are destroyed by heat.  
  • For the best results, cut leaves into small pieces or pound roots with a mortar and pestle.  
  • Soak plant parts in water overnight unless the recipe advises otherwise.
  • Filter before use.
  • Prepare freshly every day.

[Cold Water Extract]
Good for:All
Albizia coriaria Bark Tea Boil the bark in a big pan of water and leave to cool. Wash the infected area with a soft cloth and then use one of the methods described below.

Tea/Decoction
 
This is a good method for extracting substances from thick leaves, roots or bark.  
  • Boil 1 handful of plant material together with 1 ltr of water for about 20 minutes.  
  • Try to use a clay pot or stainless steel saucepan. Do NOT use aluminium saucepans as they can react adversely with the medicine.
  • Prepare a fresh decoction every day.  
  • If you need to sweeten the decoction, use honey instead of sugar because honey has more medicinal value than sugar.

[Tea/Decoction]
Good for:All
Neem Leaf Tea Boil a handful of leaves in a covered pan containing 1 ltr water and leave the solution to cool to lukewarm. Wash the infected area with a soft cloth and then use a douche or soak, as described below.


Tea/Decoction
 
This is a good method for extracting substances from thick leaves, roots or bark.  
  • Boil 1 handful of plant material together with 1 ltr of water for about 20 minutes.  
  • Try to use a clay pot or stainless steel saucepan. Do NOT use aluminium saucepans as they can react adversely with the medicine.
  • Prepare a fresh decoction every day.  
  • If you need to sweeten the decoction, use honey instead of sugar because honey has more medicinal value than sugar.

[Tea/Decoction]
Good for:All
Eucalyptus globulus Tea Boil a handful of leaves in a covered pan containing 1 ltr water and leave the solution to cool to lukewarm. Wash the infected area with a soft cloth and then use a douche or soak,  as described below.

Tea/Decoction
 
This is a good method for extracting substances from thick leaves, roots or bark.  
  • Boil 1 handful of plant material together with 1 ltr of water for about 20 minutes.  
  • Try to use a clay pot or stainless steel saucepan. Do NOT use aluminium saucepans as they can react adversely with the medicine.
  • Prepare a fresh decoction every day.  
  • If you need to sweeten the decoction, use honey instead of sugar because honey has more medicinal value than sugar.

[Tea/Decoction]
Good for:All
Withania somnifera Tea Boil a handful of leaves in a covered pan containing 1 ltr water and leave the solution to cool to lukewarm. Wash the infected area with a soft cloth and then use a douche or soak, as described below.

Tea/Decoction
 
This is a good method for extracting substances from thick leaves, roots or bark.  
  • Boil 1 handful of plant material together with 1 ltr of water for about 20 minutes.  
  • Try to use a clay pot or stainless steel saucepan. Do NOT use aluminium saucepans as they can react adversely with the medicine.
  • Prepare a fresh decoction every day.  
  • If you need to sweeten the decoction, use honey instead of sugar because honey has more medicinal value than sugar.

[Tea/Decoction]
Good for:All
As well as cleaning the genital area, as described above, women can also use vaginal tampons or insertions to help get rid of the infection.
Try one of the following:

Neem Oil Tampon Dip a clean piece of cotton cloth in a few drops of neem oil. Insert into the vagina like a tampon. Change 2-3x daily, depending on severity of the infection. This should clear the infection in 3-4 days.



Good for:All
Garlic Tampon Take 1 clove garlic and sew it into a piece of cotton cloth. Pierce the clove to release its juices. Dip the cloth in water or vinegar (preferable) and insert into the vagina like a tampon. Change 2-3x daily, depending on the severity of the infection. This should clear the infection in 3-4 days.

Do NOT insert garlic directly into vagina as this aggravates the sensitive area.


Good for:All
Yoghurt (Maziwa mala) Tampon Take a piece of cotton cloth & soak it in maziwa mala. Insert into the vagina like a tampon. Change 2-3x daily depending on severity of infection.

Good for:All

Food and Nutrition Advice

  • Drink plenty of liquids, especially water.
  • Take yoghurt 30 minutes before meals (plain yoghurt, with no sugar added).

Follow guidelines to prevent thrush (page 105) - General Health and Diet Related Problems:
  • Avoid caffeine and nicotine.
  • Avoid sugar. (This means refined sugar, yeast, dairy products, wheat products and alcohol.)
  • Eat raw garlic, selenium-rich foods, fresh natural yoghurt (not sweetened or flavoured), yellow vegetables,  cooked banana and green vegetables (but not acidic ones like spinach and mchicha).
  • If you take antibiotics then eat unsweetened, natural yoghurt (maziwa mala) to help friendly bacteria grow in your digestive system.



Body Work and General Advice

The most important part of treatment is to keep the genital area clean. This means you should:

  • Wash the genital area after urination and then dry it thoroughly. Women should wipe themselves from front to back after passing stool to prevent germs being brought from the anus to vaginal area.
  • Not share a towel with anyone else.
  • Wear cotton underpants if possible.
  • Abstain from sex as this tends to aggravate thrush in women and passes infection on to their partners.

Vaginal Douche
  • This is a method for putting water or medicine inside your vagina and leaving it there for as long as possible. 
  • Buy a 20ml plastic syringe. Throw away the needle somewhere safe where children won't find it. Wash the syringe clean with hot soapy water before using.
  • Prepare the herbal medicine you want to use and fill the syringe with it.
  • Lay a towel or newspaper on the floor. Lie down and put the syringe inside you carefully. You only need to insert the tip. Slowly squeeze the medicine inside.
  • Once the medicine is inside, try to hold it inside yourself for as long as possible (1-5 minutes) then repeat the process 2-3 more times. If the thrush is severe, you may experience pain while doing this. Just keep the solution inside you for as long as you can bear. 

Penis Soak
  • Find a jar or tin that you will only use for this purpose. Clean thoroughly with hot soapy water before use.
  • Fill the jar with the herbal medicine.
  • Place the penis inside and soak it for 10-20 minutes.

Genital Soak
  • Take a large basin big enough for your child to sit in. Clean thoroughly with hot soapy water before use.
  • Fill the basin with the herbal medicine.
  • Sit the child in the solution for 5-10 minutes. Take a straw or piece of bamboo and blow through it in the water. This will create bubbles both to keep the child entertained and help push the solution into the vagina and anus.