Pregnant women often have battles with fungal infections such as candida and dermatophytes (the fungi responsible for conditions like Athletes’ foot, ringworm, scalp and nail infections.) Just as we have seen with bacteria out-mutating antibiotics and vaccines, fungi seem to have built up resistance to popular antifungals. Compound that with how there are relatively few types of antifungal drugs anyway and the fact that those that are available often have side effects that would be undesirable for a pregnant woman, and it may be time to look towards a more natural fungal fix.
Lavender oil was tested early last year against a range of pathogenic fungi and was found to be lethal to both dermatophytes and some species of Candida. According to a study published in the Journal of Medical Microbiology, lavender oil could be used to kill antifungal-resistant infections. That’s not a huge surprise to crunchy moms. For many of us, lavender was our “gateway” herb. What is really cool to know though is how it works. Lavender oil (like many essential oils are proving to be capable of) work by destroying fungal cells by damaging the cell membrane of the fungal cells without damaging our own cells at all.
Is lavender oil safe during pregnancy?
The general consensus is yes. There has been discussion about whether it should be avoided during the first trimester, but you can read this fantastic post, chock full of good sources that explain much of the warnings we hear actually refer to a different kind of lavender called spike lavender.
Some medications have moderate interactions with lavender oil in that using them in conjunction could cause too much sleepiness. The following are the medications that might interact with lavender and cause excessive sleepiness:
- Chloral Hydrate interacts with lavender.
- Barbiturate sedatives interact with lavender.
- CNS depressants interact with lavender.
All things considered, lavender oil appears to be a really safe, affordable and effective natural remedy for fungal infections. As a side note… I can’t help but consider it’s effectiveness on killing yeast in diapers on top of just helping them smell fresher.
Society for General Microbiology (2011, February 16). Lavender oil has potent antifungal effect. ScienceDaily.
Vetenskapsrådet (The Swedish Research Council) (2009, April 6). Yeast Infections Worsening: Rapidly Mutating Yeast Causing