by Dr. David Olarsch
Practice of Naturopathic Medicine

Q: What is a “standardized” herb and do you recommend them?

A: A: Standardized herbs are the professional holistic health care provider’s answer to their allopathic colleagues allegations that our remedies vary in potency too much from batch to batch due to natural variances. They are made by mixing or blending batches that test low with batches that test high for particular compounds in herbs. I’ll give you an example: In St. John’s Wort, we have identified the active constituent, or compound, as Hypericin, and each capsule is guaranteed to contain 0.9 mg. of Hypericin. Similarly, in Turmeric, we know that Curcumin is the active compound, and ours is 95% Curcumin for the best results.

Traditional herbalists sometimes oppose standardization, while more modern, scientific based herbalists have endorsed it. I use them in my practice because I want results! In my experience, they work more consistently, safely, and have raised the standards of natural therapies. They are simply more effective. The patient gets more for their money. It is wise to use the wisdom of the old world with modern technology. I have not experienced any downside to the introduction and use of standardized herbs.

Q: I just started having (finally) a relationship with a kind gentlemen and now I am getting yeast infections. What should I do?

Q: Help, Dr. David, I have a urinary tract infection (UTI)!

A: I have answered both of these questions at the same time as the remedies are often similar. There is much to say on this, but I must be brief for now. We first have to consider if he has something! The best way to figure that out is to abstain from intercourse or use condoms exclusively for a short period of time, say during his next visit and see if that eliminates the problem. It also can be from “stirring things up” as it has been a while!

Yeast infections, whether they be occasional, chronic or systemic, are a serious indication of a women’s body chemistry being out of balance. It is not normal or usual for people to get them, although they are common. Some of the culprits include: not enough rest (get good sleep), an infection, stress, tight restrictive clothing and synthetic clothing (particularly underwear). Even too much sex can be an irritating factor. Sleep with no underwear on (let things breathe!) and get a medical examination to make certain it is not something more serious.

However, they are most often caused by sugars. I say sugars because many things convert to sugar – alcohol, carbs (bummer!), grains. Anything containing yeast, such as breads and other baked goods can feed a yeast imbalance. To some extent, birth control medicines can contribute to yeast infections and UTI’s. If you have a weak or rundown immune system, this might be one way that it manifests.

Both conditions could be fungal related. If you have issues with nails having fungus or thrush in the mouth, that can indicate it’s more of a fungus type issue. Also antibiotics destroy the good vaginal flora so one would need acidophilus supplements in large amounts to replenish what the antibiotics have removed.

As your doctor, I would ask about what kinds of sanitary products are being used, and what kind of cosmetics you’re applying and discuss your sex life if it could be a factor. With yeast infections, you can’t totally rule out a urinary tract infection, or something even more serious. But in most cases it’s just too much sugars!

Other factors that can also contribute include: pushing your body too much – i.e. excessive exercise if you are an athlete (such as bike rider chamois), time of year, dehydration or hormonal imbalances.

To treat it, we can use: Yeast Free tincture, Olive Leaf, Lomatium Combo, Echinacea & Goldenseal (or Immune System Support or Immune Boost), Garlic 500 mg., Suprema-Dophilus (full of good bacteria to rebuild intestinal flora), Oregano oil caps, Uña de Gato tincture and/or Pau D’ Arco. That is just off the top of my head; there are plenty others depending on what your body chemistry tells us. Drinking plenty of water is essential. Adding lemon or lime juice to your water helps alkalinize the body, as can some raw apple cider vinegar.

Here are some more natural remedies: Tea Tree Oil suppositories, Cranberry Concentrate, Kidney Care tincture, Kidney Rescue, Thyroid supplements (as it affects the immune system), Liver supplements (for issues that affects hormones), Dandelion/Burdock tincture. One of my favorite remedies is a Maitake Mushroom supplement. Another favorite of mine to boost the immune system is Silva Solution®. Many of these remedies are also indicated for UTI’s. Some D-Mannose can often clear up these problems.

As for the diet, cut out any alcohol, sugar, most breads (unless yeast free), “diet” foods (artificial sweeteners), and moldy products. You need to keep your body alkaline, not acidic, and consider if there is also a UTI (urinary tract infection). If you have been swimming, that could be a cause/factor. If you are wearing underwear 24 hours a day, that can be a problem also, as can thongs or too tight clothing during the day. The genitals need to “breathe.”

Eat more onions, garlic, mushrooms. Avoid all refined sugar or cane sugar, alcohol, cut down or eliminate grains (except for sprouted or quinoa) which includes breads, particularly those that have baking yeast, ice cream and soft drinks. Consider if your diet is too acidic, and read up on the acid/alkaline balance. Drink lots of water to act as a flush.

You could douche with some chlorophyll liquid to ease the irritation. You could also take some Chlorophyll Liquid or Chlorophyll caps. Adding a tablespoon of organic oregano to your diet daily has shown to be a good treatment. In my practice, dietary changes and supplements usually end this cycle of UTI’s and yeast infections once and for all.

Hope that helps. Sometimes yeast infections get worse when they are going away, called “die off” and that can be irritating. One thing I can say for certain, if you don’t clear it up using natural therapies, it will keep coming back, usually getting worse each time.

David G. Olarsch, N.D.