Irene McCabe, naturopathic nutritionist:

Candidiasis known as thrush is a term used to describe the overgrowth of candida, a strain of yeast that resides on the skin, in the mouth, intestinal tract and vagina. When candida overgrows it can change from its simple yeast form to become an invasive fungus. At this stage it can cause a whole host of symptoms such as vaginal and oral thrush, bloating, wind, constipation, diarrhoea, fluid retention, muscle aches, frequent infections, depression, brain fog and lack of concentration, chronic aches and allergies. Treatment should focus on restoring the balance of probiotic bacteria and supporting the body’s eliminatory pathways. If it gets to this stage you should contact a qualified practitioner to help guide you back to optimum health. Nikki and I can be contacted at

A balanced healthy diet should be low in sugars and high in good quality proteins, essential fats, fresh garlic, coconut oil, fresh green vegetables, oily fish, eggs, dairy alternatives, gluten free grains, organic meat and fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kefir and kombucha tea.

Sugar, refined foods, gluten, alcohol, tea, coffee, smoked/pickled meat or fish products, processed foods, artificial additives should be avoided.

High strength multi strain pro-biotics, aloe vera, coconut oil, garlic, vitamin C and vitamin B complex, multi-vitamins, chlorella and spirillina, digestive enzymes, grapeseed extract, oil of oregano and apple cider vinegar can all help as part of a treatment plan and adding bicarbonate of soda to your bath to sooth thrush can also be very effective.

Nikki Biddiss, medical herbalist:

Thrush when found in small amounts on the skin is harmless. Under certain conditions this fungus can multiply and cause infections on the skin, in the mouth or the genitals. Thrush develops on the skin in damp, sweaty areas such as in skin-folds, in-between fingers and toes, under armpits and in the groin. It is therefore important to ensure you dry these areas thoroughly after washing. Wear loose clothes in natural fabrics and for vaginal thrush avoid using perfumed toiletries or biological washing powders or fabric conditioners.

Thrush can also develop in uncontrolled diabetes, a lowered immune system, iron, folate or B12 deficiency, severe anaemia or general poor health. It may also be linked to medication. Antibiotics kill the bacteria which would normally defend the body against fungal infection as can the overuse of antibacterial mouth washes. Long-term steroid use or a steroid inhaler can also be a cause but never stop taking your medication, speak to your GP if you think this is a cause. There is an on-going unresolved debate around whether the contraceptive pill or HRT can also be a trigger. Oral thrush can also be caused by wearing dentures, smoking or from a dry mouth, which again may be a side effect of other medication.

The herbal approach is to consider the conditions that caused the infection in the first place and tackle these to prevent re-occurrence. There are also a number of anti-fungal herbs which can be used topically or as a mouth wash to treat affected areas.