I just recently had a question that isn’t really within my expertise as a paramedic, but ironically ranks high with me because it’s so common with people who use inhaled steroids or take antibiotics. You guessed it Thrush. Thrush is the more common name for a more technical problem called Candida or Yeast infection on the tongue. It’s painful, it’s unsightly and it’s a pain in the neck. Oh sure, you can get medicine from the physician for it, but it was probably a visit to the physician and their prescription for antibiotics or an inhaled steroid that go this nice little complication. Not because you wouldn’t want to go back to the doctor for their help, it’s just that you may not want a piggyback bill. So, one of the readers emailed in a question regarding their 82 year old relative that has inhalers and developed “Thrush”. They asked if there were any home remedies that might help heal this without a prescription. I gave my advice below.
Thrush has got to rank as one of the most aggravating and painful side effects I’ve encountered when dealing with something as sensitive as the tongue. It’s unfortunate that some of the life saving medications like inhaled steroids can cause this frustrating and painful complication. I agree with you regarding the spacer. I think it’s wise not only for getting more of the medication off the back of the patients tongue but also getting more of the medication into the patients lungs where we really want it to go anyway. I’ve found that spacers become one of those important items that are not used due to the terrible cost. I’ve encountered prices close to $100 just for the spacer. Crazy!
Anyway…regarding natural remedies for thrush(Candida). There is a lot of natural ideas but of course none of them have been tested in a non-bias lab or do they carry the FDA approval. I also want to re-instate that I’m a licensed paramedic and not a licensed homeopathic expert. That being said, there’s at least three of my own family members that struggle with thrush or yeast complications from time to time and I’ve found a couple of ideas pretty useful.
The first would be liquid Acidophilus with Bulgaricus and Bifidus. This is usually located in health food stores and would be located in the refrigerator section. I personally believe that this keeps the cultures alive longer and therefore more effective. The flavors are nothing to report to the press about but it tastes a little better than good old fashioned organic plain yogurt. We like strawberry or blueberry. I have the kids take a tablespoon or two several times per day and then again just before bed time. I make sure that they do it after they brush and drink so that they will leave the film coating in their mouth. This usually heals the condition within a couple of days and begins showing relief sometimes as early as 24 hours just from my experience.
Secondly, though I’ve known about the benefits of virgin, non processed coconut oil for health purposes, I’ve only recently heard about it’s ability to promote a healthy immune system and it’s natural properties(caprylic acid) for anti fungal assistance. This tropical oil can be melted over vegetables, spread on toast instead of butter or mixed into smoothies where you really don’t notice much of it at all. Because coconut oil melts at around room temperature, a 98.6 degree mouth melts the oil quite quickly. Just a quarter or half a teaspoon melted in the mouth might be an aid to help get rid of the thrush/yeast and give some soothing relief to your sweet relative. Again, I’m no expert in this area and nothing I’ve said is meant to be a prescription or a diagnosis, but I have used the Acidophilus before with great results.
Regarding the Tea Tree Oil, I’ve read several sources that voice some health concerns when using tea tree oil in or outside the body. I would take a look at this website (LiveStrong.com) and then do your own study. Then if you are still planning on using it, I would consult your relatives physician prior to administering any of the oil.
Best wishes in your quest to find a home remedy that’s effective and safe. I hope that what I’ve shared with you will help in some way.
Roy Shaw, RoyOnRescue.com