Last updated February 18, 2019 by Lisa Richards, CNC   Reviewed by Katie Stone, ND.

Turmeric: A Natural Antifungal

Turmeric - antifungal, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory

Famous throughout Asia as a culinary spice used in hundreds of traditional dishes, turmeric is one of the world’s most talked-about medicinal herbs.

Ground turmeric root has an earthy taste, a slightly mustardy smell, and a distinctive bright yellow color. It’s been used throughout history in curries, soups and even as a coloring agent. But of course, it’s turmeric’s incredible therapeutic properties that have made it a part of traditional medicine.

When it comes to natural anti-inflammatory treatments, turmeric is the king. Turmeric’s secret is its active ingredient, curcumin. Numerous scientific studies have shown curcumin to have similar anti-inflammatory properties to pharmaceutical drugs such as hydrocortisone. It’s also suggested that curcumin could be effective in treating chronic inflammatory conditions such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and even arthritis.

As an antifungal agent, turmeric boasts some surprising properties. A number of studies have pointed to turmeric’s efficacy in fighting both Candida albicans and the biofilms that it forms. This makes it a very useful addition to an anti-Candida program. Pharmaceutical antifungal drugs are often associated with a number of side effects, which is why natural antifungal treatments can often be preferable.

How Does Turmeric Work?

While turmeric’s most celebrated properties include anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, its antifungal and antimicrobial actions have also come to light.

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However, today I am going to be focusing on turmeric’s role as an antifungal agent. Recent research has begun to show that turmeric can be effective both against Candida albicans and the biofilms that it forms, so it could be a very useful addition to your anti-Candida program.

Antifungal

A Brazilian research team investigating the efficacy of Curcumin against 23 strains of fungi found that Curcumin was able to completely inhibit the growth of Candida albicans, as well as a number of other fungal strains. The researchers also tested Curcumin using human cells, and found Curcumin was able to stop Candida from adhering to the human cells. In fact, they found that Curcumin was even more potent than the commercial antifungal drug fluconazole.

Another study examined the effect of ascorbic acid on the antifungal properties of Curcumin. Although ascorbic acid has no significant antifungal properties of its own, researchers found that using it alongside Curcumin actually made the Curcumin more effective. Even more remarkable was that the Curcumin was 5-10 times more effective against Candida albicans when it was used in the presence of ascorbic acid! This suggests that certain vitamin C supplements may help to make curcumin even more effective against Candida.

Antimicrobial

Evidence of curcumin’s antimicrobial properties have led to its use as a food-safe antibacterial agent. This means it can be used safely on food preparation surfaces such as chopping boards, meat cleavers and countertops. Researchers believe that curcumin is able to invade the cell of a bacterial species and kill it from the inside.

Other Benefits Of Turmeric

Turmeric’s numerous health benefits make it one of the most-researched herbs in the scientific world. So far, turmeric has been shown to:

  • Reduce acute and chronic inflammation in the body
  • Reduce pain
  • Fight harmful free radicals
  • Improve brain function
  • Reduce the progression of arthritis
  • Reduce the risk of heart disease
  • Reduce the risk of cancer-causing cells forming in the body
  • Help prevent Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Support mental health
  • Reduce the effects of ageing

How To Take Turmeric

Benefitting from turmeric’s amazing health properties is not simply a matter of swallowing teaspoons of turmeric powder! It’s believed that the curcumin content of turmeric is only around 3%, so it’s important to know how and when to take it properly.

Researchers have found that curcumin is better absorbed by the body when taken with black pepper and a healthy fat. Black pepper increases the bioavailability of the active compounds in turmeric. Many turmeric supplements include a patented form of black pepper for this very reason. Turmeric is most often available in capsule form, but it can also be taken as a tea.

  • Capsules: Most supplements recommend a dosage of 2-3 capsules per day. Refer to manufacturer’s instructions.
  • In meals: Curcumin supplements are much more concentrated than regular turmeric, but that certainly doesn’t mean that you won’t get any benefit from adding turmeric to your diet. If you enjoy curries or Middle Eastern cuisine, then including turmeric in your recipes is pretty easy. It can also be added to lots of meat dishes, used in marinades, and added to egg salads or scrambled eggs. Two good examples are this grilled chicken with bok choy recipe and these quinoa and rutabaga patties.
  • Drink: You can use turmeric to make a delicious anti-Candida drink too. This is a personal favorite of mine as it combines coconut milk with turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon. All 4 of these ingredients are proven antifungals. The healthy fats in the coconut milk also help you to absorb the turmeric, as it is not water-soluble.
4.7 from 13 votes
Turmeric - antifungal, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory
Turmeric Tea (Golden Milk)
Prep Time
2 mins
Cook Time
5 mins
Total Time
7 mins
 
Servings: 1 serving
Author: Lisa Richards
Ingredients
  • ½ can of coconut milk
  • ½ tsp. ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger (or finely chopped ginger)
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • Stevia to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat the coconut milk gently on the stove.

  2. Add the spices and stevia, then stir well. If you use a blender you will usually get more flavor and a smoother consistency.

Who Should Not Take Turmeric?

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding are not advised to take supplements, but turmeric in meals should be fine.

Those with gallbladder issues such as gallstones should consult with their health professional before taking curcumin supplements, as there is the potential for curcumin to cause contraction of the gallbladder.

It’s also advised that those taking medications for chronic conditions check with their health professional before commencing curcumin supplementation, in case of interaction. This may include medications involved with blood thinning, blood sugar or stomach acid.

Taking The Next Step

For more information on beating Candida, along with lots of delicious anti-Candida recipes, check out my Ultimate Candida Diet program and Candida Diet Recipe Book. You can find them both here. Good luck with your Candida treatment!

Filed under: Antifungals, Diet Tips, Recipes
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Comments

  1. Gina says:

    Thanks for the article. I was wondering, how much turmeric is beneficial on a daily basis?

    1. Paul W. says:

      I take a heaping tablespoon in a big glass of water. It has helped my candida more than anything else. I think the ticket (for me) was that I just have to make sure I take enough. So yeah, be generous in the dose. Take turmeric on an empty stomach, with black pepper (which I stuff into capsules to avoid the hot taste). The pepper makes the turmeric more effective.

      1. Jen says:

        I’m confused. I read in the above article that tumeric is not water soluble, therefore add it to coconut milk. Then I read the remedy you use with a heaping teaspoon of turmeric. So I guess my question and confusion is this, if turmeric is added to water is it still beneficial for Candida? Thank you 😊

        1. 5 stars
          Its fat soluble Jen, which is why you often see it combined with milk.

          1. Sam says:

            So, he was not serious about having it with water?

  2. Mary says:

    Hi. Your recipe sounds very good! I am going to try it. It calls for 1/2 can of coconut milk. What kind/brand do you recommend?

    1. There are so many different brands, but try to use an organic coconut milk if possible!

  3. Terri says:

    I swear by turmeric! In fact I advertise it all the time on my facebook wall to get everyone I know to use it in their cooking. I have been using turmeric a very long time and will use it for the rest of my life.

  4. Tehmine says:

    Is the use of coconut ok if i’m on a strict candida diet? can I make my own coconut milk?

    Thank you for the info on Turmeric, my mother is from Iran and I grew up on it.

    1. Yes coconut milk is definitely OK, in fact it has antifungal properties. If you can make your own, even better!

      1. Matt Rhoades says:

        I made a good desert from :
        1Tbs tumarac
        1Cup coconut milk
        1tsp sugar
        1/2 cup boiled rice
        mix coconut milk , tumarac and sugar; microwave. Add rice and enjoy.

        1. Don Diego says:

          Matt, not trying to disparage your share, but sugar and rice are counter productive to those suffering from Candida. I would also recommend avoiding the use of microwaves as it may damage the active compounds in Tumeric.

          1. Tony says:

            Thanks Don what you said here is TRUE. NO MICROWAVEs and NO SUGAR!!! Candida loves sugar.

          2. Kara Rana says:

            Good comment, As i am a diabetic and suffer oral thrush.. Sugar is the thing I’m not allowed. In My case to much sugar in my blood and saliva has caused this.

  5. deb says:

    how often do you drink this drink? daily? several times a day? thanks

    1. Try drinking it once a day to start, and see how you feel!

  6. Vikki Evers says:

    Is there a difference in potency/healing quality between fresh or dried turmeric as there is with ginger and garlic? We often have the fresh at our local natural food stores and it is really a great addition to Indian dishes. Also, what quantity are they talking about being therapeutic in the studies cited?

    1. Hi Vikki, that’s tough to say as the study I mentioned used diluted pure curcumin. Using fresh turmeric rather than the dried herb would generally give the most health benefits. Although they will both have antifungal properties, there have been no studies conducted on which is the more potent.

  7. Claire says:

    YUM! I’ve been investigating Candida as part of healing my Chronic Fatigue. I’d love to re-blog this article with your permission?

    1. Yes of course you can! Just include a link back to this page please 🙂

  8. Callie says:

    Is cumin ok for a candida diet? Is there anything in curry powder that isn’t ok?

    1. Curry powder is absolutely OK for the diet 🙂

      1. Don Diego says:

        Hi Callie, I agree with Lisa but would be sure that your specific curry powder doesn’t include sugar, monosodium glutumate (MSG) or other additives.

  9. Melinda says:

    I was wondering about using the turmeric in capsule form. If it’s Ok and how much to take. Thanks

    1. Turmeric in capsule form is absolutely fine. The amount you take really depends on the amount of curcumin per capsule, so you should follow the manufacturer’s recommendation.

  10. Antonella says:

    Does anybody know whether agave inulin is a bad sugar during the candida diet?
    I found a stevia with this ingredient in it and want to make sure I can get it without jeopardizing my diet!

    Thanks
    A.

    1. Don Diego says:

      Hi Antonella, I would avoid agave on the candida diet. Stevia is better, no sweeteners at all is best.

  11. Ella says:

    can a skin rush and some candida symptoms get worse if a die-off occurs?

    1. Yes, that’s exactly what die-off is – a worsening of regular Candida symptoms. It is caused by exactly the same Candida byproducts as regular symptoms, but there are just more of them!

  12. Blake says:

    By 1/2 a can what volume are you talking about? I purchased a can of coconut milk that is 400mL. Is that the standard size?

    So do you mean to say the recipe calls for 200mL of coconut milk?

    1. Yes I’m using a 400ml can – so you can use 200ml in the recipe 🙂

  13. mahalakshmi says:

    if it is natural coconut milk means how much i suppose take like 100 ml or 250 ml

  14. Ruqkayah says:

    Is this safe to drink while pregnant? And is it best hot or cold.

    1. I like to drink it slightly warm. You should always be extremely careful what you drink during pregnancy so I would consult with your doctor first.

  15. David says:

    Using curcumin capsules plus 1g the of vit c tab for the past 4 days. Definitely doing something. I take also at bed time and have been having v refreshing sleep for a change! May experiment with the ascorbic acid when run out of current vit c too.

  16. Shailaja says:

    I’m from South India and all these ingredients (except stevia) are part of my daily diet. Just thought I should tell you that if you take black pepper along with turmeric, it increases the bio availability anything from 500- 2000% (depending on which “research” you look up!).
    The whole family, in addition to it being included in our cooking, has a very small piece of peeled fresh turmeric (lasts for days in the fridge) along with two black pepper corns, first thing in the morning. Keeps us all healthy!

  17. Shimra says:

    Does it have to be canned coconut milk? Can Silk coconut milk work?

    1. Lisa Richards says:

      Hi Shimra, the canned milk is best because it contains fewer additives. Other nut milks will work though, but they won’t have the same creamy texture.

  18. Lee says:

    I have being suffering from. My situation is a bit completed because i have stomach and acid reflux. I realy dont know how to go about it. Doctors seems to recognise candida as a health change. But i mostly feel weak and tired even lying down all day. I need ur advice. Thank u

  19. JT says:

    I just tried this and it was delicious. Such creamy texture. I feel a tad bit nauseous but I’m guessing it’s a die-off symptom of some sort. I also poured a little bit of the mixture in popsicle molds which I am leaving in the freezer. We’ll see if it turns into a nice ice cream treat for the upcoming sunny days. I used xylitol instead of Stevia because I really do not like the taste of Stevia. Thanks for this wonderful recipe

  20. Heather says:

    Hi, just a few points to add:
    1) Curcumin is not Turmeric, it is a high dose extract, and as it is not water soluble it is usually extracted by using chemical solvents.
    2) Turmeric powder is far more concentrated than fresh root as the rhizome contains about 80% water so you would have to eat a large quantity of it every day to achieve good results.
    3) Turmeric is not water soluble so you need a good oil or fat in order for the body to digest it.
    4) The Piperine in the pepper (Which must be freshly ground as piperine is depleted by light, heat and time) increases the effect of the turmeric once digested and slows down the elimination from the body, thus making it more bioavailable.
    I learned all of this and so much more on Turmeric users Group on Facebook.

  21. Kathleen Maher says:

    I just stumbled upon your website after reading a lot of the different comments I actually feel a little bit better. I’ve been fighting candida yeast for over a year now, I’ve been sticking to my diet! I should be the healthiest person in the world! Just had blood work done and it actually got worse and my rashes got worse, but I feel great! I’m happy to know this is die off. Also has anyone else experienced hair loss and will it grow back? Someone please tell me this yeast will go away! Please! I need hope!

    1. MatthewGrace says:

      Fighting candida with diet for over a year, and worse? I find it very hard to believe that it’s die off; you’re probably doing something your body doesn’t like, and in my opinion, doing that for months and years is just asking for more serious chronic disease. Change something, then document your efforts, and repeat as desired. Please also consider not everyone does well controlling candida on super low carbs (I’m not sure what your diet looks like), which may also contribute to worsening health in their own right.

  22. Silent Z says:

    From what I have been reading you may take some activated charcoal 2 hours after any anti candida supplement to suck up any of the die-off toxins and ease the symptoms.

  23. John says:

    I have battled candida for many years and have tried just about all of the natural remedies just to try to keep it under control. There are some good days but mostly its a battle to keep going. I got to the stage whereby I started to suffer neurological implications and was at the point of giving up all together. As a last resort I started molybdenum supplementation which I had read about on the web. This is a trace element in the body which has the power to turn the acetaldehyde that is the potent product of candida into acetic acid in the body. This can then be released in ones urine to relieve the symptoms of the toxins circulating around the body. Acetaldehyde does not naturally leave the body and therefore accumulates in the blood stream and the liver causing the devastating symptoms and ill effects that seemingly are ever present. “Same symptoms of a hangover when too much alcohol has been consumed”. Lately I have discovered a tea type drink which is rich in turmeric,ginger, peppermint,lemon grass and wild honey which is all sourced from a mountainous region in the Philippines. It is called Yamang Bukid tea and also contains a number of wild herbs that grow in the same region. One tea spoon per day in hot water taken on an empty stomach first thing in the morning followed twice more daily at lunch time and lastly before bedtime. This really is amazing stuff and helps to remove toxins merely due to the fact that it is taken in liquid form and makes one urinate regularly due to its diuretic properties. I have been taking it for one month now and it has eased my symptoms no end. Still have to be careful in what I eat but definitely a great improvement.

    1. Alison says:

      If you don’t mind me asking, what kind of neurological implications?

  24. adam gottsdanker says:

    can you use honey instead of stevia?

  25. Kathylenr says:

    5 stars
    I thought my itchiness and few skin disorders are simple fungal infection only. I thank all these available information online which tell me I have yeast infection! It’s connected to my ear vertigo, never ending phlegm problem, leaky gut, low energy and UTI sometimes! Thank you!

  26. Brenda Indyer says:

    5 stars
    Can dis candida cause internal and sometimes external body heat on the body , stomach pain, vaginal discharge ?is taking dis procedure twice a day Owk?

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