Natural Treatment for Acne & Fungal Infections

Natural Treatment for Acne & Fungal Infections
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Green tea may help with athlete’s foot, dental plaque, acne, impetigo, and bladder infections, but if it’s so good at killing bacteria, what about our gut flora?

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Which plant should we give for which skin disease? There have been thousands of studies published to date about the health effects of green tea, but it wasn’t until fairly recently that researchers have begun to look at the possibility of using green tea for the prevention and treatment of infections. Patents have been taken out on the “antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties of tea.” Let’s review some of the evidence.

In terms of fungal infections, green tea compounds “demonstrated…potent antifungal activity…against” the primary cause of athlete’s foot, fungal nail infections, jock itch, and ringworm—comparable, in some cases, to powerful antifungal drugs like fluconazole. Okay, but this is in a petri dish.

How about a green tea foot bath for athlete’s foot fungus between the toes? Evidently, tea leaves were once used as “a folk remedy” for the fungus. So, why not put it to the test? And indeed, a once-a-day 15-minute dilute green tea foot bath led to a significant improvement in symptoms, compared to control.

Green tea baths also appeared to help with fungus-associated atopic dermatitis, though there was no control group, and full-strength green tea may help clear candida yeast from poorly cleaned dentures. How about for the bacteria that cause plaque and gingivitis? Even a 2% green tea mouthwash was found to be effective. Yes, you should be able to control plaque just with proper brushing and flossing, but with an emphasis on “proper”—most people don’t brush the recommended 4 minutes a day; and so, a dilute green tea mouthwash may help.

Now, in terms of strictly plaque bacteria-killing ability, green tea got beat out by a “garlic with lime mouth rinse,” but I think I’ll just stick with the green tea, thank you very much.  Ew, especially when green tea appears to not just kill plaque bugs directly, but also boost the “antibacterial capacity” of saliva after you drink it.

What about green tea for acne? Six weeks of a 2% green tea lotion cut the number of pimples more than half, and significantly reduced the severity, making it a cheap, effective treatment for acne.

Impetigo is another bacterial skin infection that can affect the face, but a “tea ointment” can effect an 80% cure rate, on par with antibiotics given topically or orally.

What about bladder infections? We know a certain concentration of green tea compounds can kill the type of E. coli that causes urinary tract infections. The question then becomes how much tea do you have to drink to achieve those concentrations in your bladder? And, it turns out, not much. Just one cup of tea might have an effect, but you might have to space out multiple cups over the day, since it gets cleared out of your system within about eight hours. So, where we stand now: the test tube data look good, but there has yet to be a single study to put it to the test. So, it should, at this point, just be used as an adjunct therapy for bladder infections. But, “[w]ith emerging multidrug-resistant organisms,” green tea certainly holds potential.

Wait a second, though. If it’s so good at killing bacteria, if we drink green tea, might we be killing the good bacteria in our gut?  No, that’s the amazing thing; a great advantage against other bacteria-killing agents—”no effect [on our] intestinal flora.” But, that may actually not be true. Drinking green tea may actually boost the levels of our good bacteria, by acting “as a prebiotic and”, thereby, “improv[ing] the colon environment.”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Motion graphics by Tyler McReynolds, Teetotalin LLC

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Which plant should we give for which skin disease? There have been thousands of studies published to date about the health effects of green tea, but it wasn’t until fairly recently that researchers have begun to look at the possibility of using green tea for the prevention and treatment of infections. Patents have been taken out on the “antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties of tea.” Let’s review some of the evidence.

In terms of fungal infections, green tea compounds “demonstrated…potent antifungal activity…against” the primary cause of athlete’s foot, fungal nail infections, jock itch, and ringworm—comparable, in some cases, to powerful antifungal drugs like fluconazole. Okay, but this is in a petri dish.

How about a green tea foot bath for athlete’s foot fungus between the toes? Evidently, tea leaves were once used as “a folk remedy” for the fungus. So, why not put it to the test? And indeed, a once-a-day 15-minute dilute green tea foot bath led to a significant improvement in symptoms, compared to control.

Green tea baths also appeared to help with fungus-associated atopic dermatitis, though there was no control group, and full-strength green tea may help clear candida yeast from poorly cleaned dentures. How about for the bacteria that cause plaque and gingivitis? Even a 2% green tea mouthwash was found to be effective. Yes, you should be able to control plaque just with proper brushing and flossing, but with an emphasis on “proper”—most people don’t brush the recommended 4 minutes a day; and so, a dilute green tea mouthwash may help.

Now, in terms of strictly plaque bacteria-killing ability, green tea got beat out by a “garlic with lime mouth rinse,” but I think I’ll just stick with the green tea, thank you very much.  Ew, especially when green tea appears to not just kill plaque bugs directly, but also boost the “antibacterial capacity” of saliva after you drink it.

What about green tea for acne? Six weeks of a 2% green tea lotion cut the number of pimples more than half, and significantly reduced the severity, making it a cheap, effective treatment for acne.

Impetigo is another bacterial skin infection that can affect the face, but a “tea ointment” can effect an 80% cure rate, on par with antibiotics given topically or orally.

What about bladder infections? We know a certain concentration of green tea compounds can kill the type of E. coli that causes urinary tract infections. The question then becomes how much tea do you have to drink to achieve those concentrations in your bladder? And, it turns out, not much. Just one cup of tea might have an effect, but you might have to space out multiple cups over the day, since it gets cleared out of your system within about eight hours. So, where we stand now: the test tube data look good, but there has yet to be a single study to put it to the test. So, it should, at this point, just be used as an adjunct therapy for bladder infections. But, “[w]ith emerging multidrug-resistant organisms,” green tea certainly holds potential.

Wait a second, though. If it’s so good at killing bacteria, if we drink green tea, might we be killing the good bacteria in our gut?  No, that’s the amazing thing; a great advantage against other bacteria-killing agents—”no effect [on our] intestinal flora.” But, that may actually not be true. Drinking green tea may actually boost the levels of our good bacteria, by acting “as a prebiotic and”, thereby, “improv[ing] the colon environment.”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Motion graphics by Tyler McReynolds, Teetotalin LLC

Doctor's Note

Drinking tea with meals may impair iron absorption, so better to drink between meals. More on green tea, one of my three favorite beverages (along with water and hibiscus tea):

For more on acne, check out:

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