Candida & Cloves

Clove (Syzygium aromaticum)

Cloves can help to break up persistent Candida biofilm and greatly enhance any other herbs or prescription drugs you might be using to fight Candida.  Clove is also able to inhibit Candida yeast as well as destroy biofilm; so, it’s an excellent choice for an herbal remedy.  There are different species of cloves, but one of the best, Syzygium aromaticum, contains a large amount of the chemical eugenol.  You may have cloves on hand in your pantry, simply crush them up and use them in the way that you choose.

Clove Yeast Infection Herbal Treatment

Cloves are the unopened flower buds of the clove tree (Syzygium aromaticum).  The clove tree is a tropical evergreen that can grow up to 20 feet in height.  Clove trees are indigenous of the Philippines and surrounding islands.  Cloves, of course, have now been introduced into all tropical countries for cultivation.  The medicinal use of cloves is of antiquity; used in China and India to treat primarily tooth decay and bad breath (halitosis).  Cloves have been shown to be quite good at improving oral health by modern scientists.  Today, cloves have been investigated for their efficacy as a Candicidal herb; and, research continues to prove that cloves are excellent for the treatment of yeast infections.

You can use cloves by grinding them up and adding them to a carrier oil, or better yet, to honey.  You can then let the honey and ground cloves infuse for a few hours; stirring the mixture occasionally.  Next, take a tampon and soak it in your clove honey mixture.  Once the tampon is adequately saturated with the clove honey, insert it into the vagina at night before you go to bed.  Let the tampon stay in the vagina overnight and when you get up in the morning wash out the vagina with warm water.  You will also find that adding a probiotic pill into the vagina after you wash the honey out will further help to improve your condition.

If you have other plant essential oils on hand, or other Candicidal herbs, add those to your mixture as well.  Try to keep the viscosity of the honey intact, as you want it to flow and soak into your tampon thoroughly.  For this reason, essential oils may be the best choice for adding phytochemicals to your honey--they simply will incorporate themselves better than bulky spices.

Eugenol, Cloves, and Candida

The primary component of most clove essential oil is eugenol.  Eugenol comprises about 80% or more of the volume of typical essential clove oil.  One study, published in BioResources [2.2 (2007): 265-269], was conducted on Turkish clove buds.  The clove species used in the study was Syzygium aromaticum--this species is the typical species used to produce clove spices and essential oil.  The study found that eugenol comprised 87% of the total volume of the essential oil derived from the Syzygium aromaticum cloves.  

Another study was done on a different species of cloves: Syzygium caryophyllatum.  The study was published in the African Journal of Plant Science [4.11 (2010): 451-454].   Syzygium caryophyllatum essential oil contained less eugenol--about 50% of the total volume of the oil was eugenol.

Eugenol is likely the primary reason why cloves are actually capable of stopping Candida.  So, it is important what species of clove you're using.  Most cloves should be Syzygium aromaticum, so you should be fine using cloves procured from your local grocery store.

Clove Research

One study, published in the Current Discovery [2:1 (2013) 46-52] journal, examined the effects of various herbal extracts on 3 different species of azole resistant Candida strains: Candida albicans, Candida glabrata, and Candida haemulonii.  This is of importance as you may be using an azole antifungal on an azole resistant strain of Candida; thus, herbal therapy can work where drugs did not.  The study took raw herbs, ground them into powder, and then allowed them to soak in various solvents.  Some of the solvents seemed to increase and decrease the effectiveness of the herb's activity against Candida.  Once the solution was created it was dried and later dissolved again in dimethyl sulphoxide (DMSO).  In instances where no anti-Candida activity is seen with one solvent, but significant activity is observed by other solvents, this is clearly a result of the solvent; the herb’s ability was merely suspended by the chemical solvent.  Clove, for instance, has proven anti-Candida ability; thus, when it is not present in this study’s analysis, it is clearly due to the solvent’s chemical distortion of clove’s phytochemicals.

The process of dissolving the herb in various solvents and then redissolving the herbs in DMSO could also contribute to general alteration of the herb's efficacy.  However, the study used several solvents and the general capabilities of the herb are demonstrated due to the wide range of solvents utilized.  The study describes how each test was carried out by stating:

The antimicrobial screening of the Candida strains were carried out following the Poisoned Food Technique with slight modification. The plant extracts of 0.2 ml were mixed in 0.5 ml candida culture suspension and then added to 4.5 ml of pre-sterilized sabouraud dextrose broth (pH + 5.6). In control sets, DMSO (in place of the plant extract) were used in the medium in appropriate amount. Culture tubes were incubated for 24 hour at 37 [degrees Centigrade].

The chart alongside was taken from the study and shows the general effect each different herb.  Syzygium aromaticum, is of course, the scientific name for cloves.  You can see that clove had generally powerful ability to inhibit the growth of the three Candida species in the chart below.  The study used a control instance of Candida without any herbal treatment to see how much this untreated Candida would grow.  The percentages of growth inhibition were determined by comparing Candida treated with herbal mixtures with this untreated control.  

Clove Fights Candida Biofilm

Candida biofilm is a big deal if you’re attempting to treat a yeast infection with antifungal drugs.  The ability of Candida biofilms to increase the yeast’s resistance to antifungal drugs is well known.  According to a study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology [140 (2012) 416–423], Candida biofilms gave the yeast about 1024 times more resistance to antifungal drugs. Having over a thousand times increased resistance to antifungal drugs is a key reason why you may not have seen results from using these drugs!  

Biofilms are formed by Candida albicans in three phases.  Once the single yeast cells attach to a surface of the body, they begin to enter their hyphal form--which is the growing of long germ tube tendrils into the skin.  They then form a slime made from cellular and noncellular material to cover themselves.  This mixture of single celled Candida cells, hyphal tubes, and covering material continues to increase until it becomes a thick slime.  This slime is biofilm.  Once a biofilm is fully mature, you are going to have a difficult to treat yeast infection. Fortunately, cloves can break up Candida biofilm and eradicate the yeast despite its protective strategy.

The aforementioned Journal of Ethnopharmacology [140 (2012) 416–423] study analyzed the effects of two herbs on Candida albicans that had developed biofilms.  Also, two prescription antifungal drugs were evaluated against Candida albicans with biofilms as well.  The study found that both lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus), and clove killed biofilm Candida albicans much better than the two prescription drugs analyzed in the study.  The researchers state the following about the efficacy of the herbs and antifungal drugs against Candida albicans strains (note that sessile cells refers to Candida cells that are encapsulated in a biofilm): 

...more than 60% reduction in viable count of sessile cells of both the test strains was exhibited by oils of Cymbopogon citratus in 10–12 hours. Syzygium aromaticum produced similar effect in 18–20 hours against both the strains. Amphotericin B and fluconazole did not show this effect even up to 48 hours.

Unfortunately, the study did not demonstrate the ability of a combination of lemongrass and clove to kill Candida.  It is likely that combining these herbal therapies would create a healing synergy.  Dr. James Duke; the renowned expert on medicinal plants; states in his book, The Green Pharmacy, that a combination of herbs has consistently proven to be more powerful than a single herb alone in the treatment of health maladies.  If you have access to lemongrass essential oil, you can add it to your clove herbal therapy and probably see better results.  

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