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Can You Use Coconut Oil to Treat a Yeast Infection?
[Image: 1*421-5alxciXTc8N1d774hQ.jpeg]

The basics

Not only can yeast infections be uncomfortable and itchy, they can be hard to get rid of. Although they’re typically treated with over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription creams, some women are turning to home remedies. One such remedy is coconut oil.

Coconut oil is a fatty oil derived from the flesh of the coconut fruit. The oil is said to have many health benefits, such as aiding digestion and helping to balance your hormones.

It’s also thought to have antibacterial properties, which may make it an effective treatment for yeast infections. Here’s what you need to know about using coconut oil to treat a yeast infection.

What the research says

Coconut oil is an established antifungal. Although research on its use for yeast infections is limited, there’s evidence to suggest that this approach may work.

A 2007 lab studyTrusted Source found that coconut oil helped kill a species of yeast. Researchers found that the Candida albicans strain was the most susceptible to concentrated coconut oil.

In the study, less coconut oil was needed to get rid of the yeast than fluconazole. Fluconazole is an antifungal medication commonly recommended for the treatment of yeast infections.

A 2014 canine studyTrusted Source produced similar results. Twenty dogs were treated with a mixture of essential oils that included coconut oil. This mixture was applied topically for one month.

Researchers found that the treatment had a good clinical outcome, with no adverse effects or recurrence reported.

More research is needed to determine the possible short- and long-term effects of use.

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Treatment of Dermal Infections With Topical Coconut Oil

A review of efficacy and safety of Cocos nucifera L. in treating skin infections

By Lindsey K. Elmore, PharmD, BCPS, Gwen Nance, Samantha Singleton, and Luke Lorenz


Coconut oil, and many other portions of the plant Cocos nucifera L, have been hypothesized to have antimicrobial and antifungal activity.

Medium-chain fatty acid constituents of coconut oil including lauric acid, capric acid, and others provide antimicrobial effect by disrupting bacterial, fungal, and viral cell membranes, leading to cell death. This review summarizes in vivo and in vitro studies of topical anti-infective properties of coconut oil and the medium-chain fatty acids contained within, and describes the proposed use of coconut products for dermal infections.

Referred to as the “tree of life” because of its many uses, coconut, Cocos nucifera L., is a fruit tree found in warm, humid climates with well-drained soil. Different cultures around the globe have cultivated the coconut tree and utilized the various parts of the coconut fruit [water, meat (from which coconut oil is isolated), and husks] for a plethora of uses from biofuel to food. Coconut oil has traditionally been used as a medicinal agent for cancer, diabetes, diarrhea, dry skin, and psoriasis and is used as an antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral agent for the treatment of dermal infections.1–3 Evaluation of Cocos nucifera L. as an anti-infective agent is very important due to the increased prevalence of antibiotic-resistant infectious microorganisms, and the dearth of novel antibiotics in the pipeline.4,5

Medicinal properties of C. nucifera are attributed to 3 medium-chain fatty acids found in coconut fat: lauric acid, the most abundant fatty acid, capric acid, and caprylic acid.3 Lauric acid is a medium-chain fatty acid that, when esterified with glycerol, results in the monoglyceride monolaurin.6 Monolaurin has been suggested as the most potent antimicrobial agent among those found in C. nucifera.7

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