Green tea is rich in nutrients including antioxidants, also known as polyphenols, that may help fight yeast infections. A 2004 study published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy found that the catechins in green tea inhibited yeast growth by to 90%. More recently in 2009, the Canadian Journal of Microbiology published research by Nikki A. Evensen and Phyllis C. Braun which suggested that polyphenols and antimicrobial properties in green tea may help prevent and break apart yeast formations. In this study, yeast cultures given EGCg, the strongest polyphenol in green tea, found that the antimicrobial properties reduced biofilms in formation by up to 75%, while established yeast cultures–normally resistant to antimicrobials– were reduced by 80%. Dr. Michael Murray explains on his website that this study is significant and demonstrates green tea’s potential in being an important component in treating health conditions associated with biofilm formation, including yeast infections.
While people with yeast overgrowth are often warned against drinking green tea because of the caffeine content, research has not linked green tea to causing yeast infections. Excessive amounts of caffeine are linked to adrenal fatigue, which can weaken the immune system, however according to Mayo Clinic, a cup of brewed green tea has only 25-45mg of caffeine versus 95-200mg in coffee. Green tea is considered likely safe for adults when taken in moderate amounts, however the caffeine in green tea may cause side effects for some people, including anxiety, hypertension, heart irregularities, and indigestion. People who have weakened cardiovascular systems, renal diseases, or are prone to spasms or panic attacks should be cautious when consuming any form of caffeine. Green tea does have contraindications with certain prescription medications, especially medications being used for anxiety or manic depression, so talk to your health care provider or check a medical website such as the University of Maryland Medical Center for a list of medications that may interact with green tea.
Green tea is available in a variety of forms, including pills and liquid tinctures along with tea bags and loose leaf tea. For yeast control, follow directions for the highest dosage if taking an extract, or drink up to three cups of green tea a day. Loose leaf tea has stronger nutritional content than bagged tea, however bagged tea is often more convenient to brew. If using loose leaf tea, add 1-2tsp of tea leaves into a strainer. Both forms of tea should be brewed in 175-200° water (slightly below boiling) for 3-5 minutes. Avoid adding any form of sugar in green tea as yeast thrives off of sugar. If green tea is too bitter for taste, try using a natural sugar alternative such as stevia, steeping the tea for a shorter period of time, or taking a green tea extract in pill form.
External uses of Green Tea can also help combat yeast infections that appear as skin rashes. Green tea essential oil contains antifungal properties that can target yeast rashes on the skin, reducing redness and fighting the infection. The essential oil can be used by adding 2-4 drops on a cotton ball and dabbed on the skin, or made into a spray by adding 3-6 drops of essential oil to 4oz of water. Green tea bags can be also be used directly on the skin after the bag has been brewed and cooled.
Bathing in green tea can help heal skin irritations and reduce fungal infections. According to research by Sugako Ikeda, Yuka Kanoya, and Shigeki Nagata, patients with athlete’s foot who soaked their feet in lukewarm water with green tea for 12 weeks found their skin conditions had significantly improved versus the placebo group who found no measurable improvement soaking feet in only the lukewarm water. To bathe in green tea, use six teabags or ten drops of green tea essential oil in bath water. If using teabags, allow the bags to soak in the water for 20 minutes before bathing.