Anise, a plant native to Greece and Egypt, has been used since the seventh century to address health ailments and may best be identifiable today for its licorice flavor. During biblical times, taxes could be paid in crops, anise was one of them. The Romans cultivated anise and greatly exploited (in a good way) its many health benefits. Today, many people use anise to support digestion, which is not much surprise since it is related to caraway, dill, and fennel- also often fingered as digestive support agents.
However, one advantage that anise has over its similar counterparts is that it’s much more powerful against and resistant to, harmful organisms. In lab and clinical trials, anise stands its ground when faced up against harmful organisms and it’s even more potent when combined with other, similarly beneficial herbs.
Anise Seed and Annoying Insects
Mosquitoes are known to carry diseases and present a very serious public health issue to many communities all over the world. Because of a laundry list of negative health effects associated with chemical pesticides, there is much focus and effort on developing effective pest control measures using natural compounds. Research has shown that anise seed oil is toxic to mosquito larvae and offers potential as an essential oil that may be effective at controlling vector-borne disease carrying agents.
The Plant Protection Department at Turkey’s Akdeniz University evaluated essential oils of several therapeutic herbs, including anise, eucalyptus, mint, and basil for efficacy against mosquitos. All the samples were deemed effective, although to different degrees, and anise was identified as the most effective.
Mosquitos aren’t the only flying pests anise seed has defeated. Sterling International, a company based in Washington, evaluated common essential oils against several species of wasps. Anise seed was one of several observed as effective and having potential as a natural, eco-friendly wasp control measure.
Anise Seed vs. Harmful Organisms, Candida, Yeast, and Fungus
With anise seed’s demonstrated efficacy against insects, it’s no surprise that the amount of research supporting the toxicity of anise seed to other harmful organisms is staggering and comes from all corners of the globe.
Research conducted at The University of Mississippi’s School of Pharmacy evaluated various plant extracts for their resistance to fungus and noted that anise seed was the best at inhibiting both fungal and microbial activity.
Croatia’s University of Zagreb conducted similar research and had similar conclusions. When anise extract was put to the test against seven strains of yeast and four strains of fungus, in vitro experiments showed anise to retard both fungus and yeast proliferation.
Additionally, Iraq’s University of Mosul also tested essential oils for activity against several harmful strains of bacteria, including staph, e. Coli, and salmonella. Essential oil of anise seed demonstrated the highest resistance to bacteria.
Supplementing With Anise Seed
Perhaps the best argument for anise seed came from the Immunology Research Institute and Clinic in Nagoya, Japan. For patients undergoing antibiotic or immune-system-suppressing therapies, chronic urinary infection of candida can be a constant problem. In 2010, the Institute conducted a study that involved 39 such patients and concluded that a natural, plant-based compound with demonstrated resistance to fungus could offer an effective approach.
Symptoms of a Yeast Infection
Yeast infections are not a problem that only affects women or the vagina. The fact is that yeast infections can affect many parts of the body of both men and women of all ages. Yeast infections can cause pain, swelling, and unpleasant discharge. When they infiltrate the mouth, they can make the mouth feel cottony and impair the sense of taste. When a yeast infection strikes the skin it can cause it to crack, swell, or bleed. Perhaps most surprising, according to new research, yeast infections may be related to IBD and neurological dysfunction.
What Cause a Yeast Infection?
The most common sources of yeast infections are from a yeast called Candida, particularly Candida albicans. Candida krusei, Candida glabrata, and Candida parapsilosis are also high on the list. Candida is a fungal yeast that occurs naturally on the body. It’s present on everybody’s body, which is normal. However, Candida must be adequately balanced. If a Candida imbalance occurs, then dark, moist areas — especially the mouth and any region in which skin folds — may be subject to an overgrowth as a result of a systemic imbalance or inadequate cleanliness.
An even more serious problem, known as invasive Candidiasis, may occur when the fungus enters the bloodstream. this type of infection can quickly become a serious problem. Additionally, some people may be at higher risk for yeast infections. For instance, persons with psoriasis and eczema as likely to suffer from oral Candida infections.
Identifying a Yeast Infection
It’s important to identify a yeast infection early. Remember a yeast overgrowth literally means that yeast is reproducing on your body. The longer you wait the higher the count may be! Ignoring the problem can cause a simple overgrowth to become a serious issue. A yeast infection is like a noisy houseguest — it typically lets its presence be known. Experiencing any of the following? You may have a yeast infection…
The creamy, cottage cheese-like discharge common with yeast infections comes from lesions. In the mouth, they can occur on the tongue, tonsils, roof of the mouth or inner cheeks. The tongue may appear white. On the skin, lesions appear as small blisters around the infected area. The discharge from lesions of a vaginal yeast infection can be watery and white to thick and chunky.
On the skin, a yeast infection presents as reddish or purplish spots, similar to eczema or psoriasis. The vulva of an infected woman may be more red than normal and be much more sensitive.
Frequent, and potentially painful irritation naturally occurs as a result of infected skin and tissue of the vagina, vulva, or even penis (primarily in uncircumcised men). This can create a burning sensation and the urge to itch. Avoid scratching as it will only make the infection worse. Ozonated olive oil may provide cooling relief.
4. Cracking Skin
The skin around the mouth, or localized around the dermal infection may crack and bleed. While this indication means that the body is fighting the yeast infection, cracking and bleeding creates a location for further infection. Keep it clean and use a soothing balm that encourages wound healing.
The infected area will likely swell as the body fights off the Candida fungus. Swelling can occur in the mouth, sex organs, and skin, as well as in the intestines if a Candida infection occurs internally. Swelling usually accompanies tenderness…
When far enough advanced, Candidiasis can result in constant discomfort and tenderness. This stems from the swelling, itching and burning associated with infection. A vaginal yeast infection can cause uncomfortable urination and intercourse.
7. IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease)
Intestinal inflammation causes IBD. While bacterial infections have been linked as a cause, researchers have begun to understand the role of yeast, specifically Candida, in intestinal irritation. Studies have linked Candida to the development of some types of bowel disease.
Patients suffering from internal yeast infections frequently experience fatigue. In fact, individuals suffering from a Candida-related complex, or chronic candidiasis syndrome, share similar symptoms to those with chronic fatigue syndrome. The one difference is the chronic flu symptoms experienced by those with chronic fatigue.
9. Mood Disorders
There is a growing body of evidence that supports the use of micronutrients to combat depression. However, nutrition is only valuable when the body can use it. If absorption is hampered, then the micronutrients will not be effective. So what’s the problem? Well, Candida has been found to inhibit intestinal absorption. It has been shown that mood disorders can be worse during periods of Candida infection. When Candida clears up, mental status may improve.
10 Things You Didn’t Know About Yeast Infections
It’s hard to live in a living world without some living organisms taking residence on or inside of your body. It might not be the most pleasant idea, but everyone is carrying bugs of some sort. Harmful organisms in the intestines and bacteria in the gut are among the most common. Another is Candida albicans. If you’ve ever experienced a yeast infection, then you probably know this one well. Although everyone has Candida, problems are unlikely to arise if it’s kept in balance. However, if an imbalance occurs, so may a yeast infection. Yeast infections can affect the mouth, skin, and genitals (and that includes women AND men) and range in severity from inconvenient and uncomfortable to life-threatening. Additionally, overgrowth in the gastrointestinal tract may be a catalyst for serious problems if the fungus enters the bloodstream.
Let’s take a look at a few other must-know facts about yeast infections.
1. Yeast Infections May Occur Orally
Gross. Really? Yes, oral yeast infections are commonly called thrush. This infection is common in newborns but typically passes quickly. Babies are not the only ones affected, a recent study found that oral Candida overgrowth occurs in one out of every four adults. Poor oral hygiene is often a primary factor. Researchers identified the presence of plaque, tartar, and amalgam fillings as significantly related to the degree of Candida present. The best defense? Proper, and regular, oral hygiene.
2. Vaginal Yeast Infections Can Be Tricky
Practicing good hygiene is a very good deterrent for yeast infections. However, this isn’t always the case. Frequent douching has been associated with higher incidences of yeast infections. So has wearing tight nylon or synthetic underwear. Oddly enough, over-the-counter anti-fungal medications have also been associated with stubborn occurrences of vaginal candidiasis. The use of intrauterine contraceptive devices also shows a statistically significant increase in Candida infection.
3. Use of an Asthma Inhaler May Contribute to Candida
A Brazilian study of adults using inhalers for longer than 6 months identified oral candidiasis as one of several adverse effects. Anyone using an inhaler, or any other oral appliance (such as mouth guards, retainers, or dentures) should be aware of the possibility of Candida exposure.
4. Candida Naturally Occurs On and In Humans
Microbiota like Candida occur naturally on human skin and in the human gastrointestinal tract. In healthy individuals, the immune system and symbiotic bacteria help keep these fungal species in check. Not surprisingly, persons with compromised immune systems are among the most susceptible to Candida overgrowth.
5. The Connection Between Diabetes and Candida
Individuals with diabetes are more likely to develop genital yeast infections, both women and men. The high blood glucose levels of diabetics encourage yeast growth. And, because it inhibits immune response, the risk of recurring infection is higher. Women are more likely to suffer infection from Candida alibicans and Candida glabrate. Uncircumcised men may experience infection from Candida balaritis.
6. Candida Often Accompanies HIV
Research has shown nearly 90% of HIV positive patients suffer from oral Candidiasis. In contrast, these patients do not experience an increase in genital yeast infection.
7. Candida Loves Carbohydrates
While Candida occurs naturally in the human digestive tract, how much is present depends quite a bit on diet. Studies have identified that persons whose diets are high in carbohydrates are more susceptible than persons whose diets are high in amino acids, proteins, and fatty acids. Candida levels increase most immediately following consumption of carbohydrates.
8. You Can Protect Yourself With Probiotics
Intestinal yeast infections, or Candida overgrowth, have been associated with the development of several Irritable Bowel Diseases (IBDs) such as Crohn’s disease. Protecting intestinal health has become a major focus for research. One study identified a probiotic strain as successful for improving cellular defense against Candida.
9. Presents an Increased Risk of MS
This one is an unforeseen doozy to most — Candida infection has been associated with increased odds of multiple sclerosis (MS). A case-control study evaluated the relationship between MS and Candida infection and discovered that MS patients showed higher overall blood serum levels of Candida than the control group.
10. Potential Remedy for Warts?
Perhaps not all facts about Candida infections are bad. One study found positive benefits from using a purified C. albicans antigen solution for persistent warts. This has led researchers to suggest intralesional Candida immunotherapy may provide an effective treatment for warts resistant to other forms of destruction.