Antifungal creams with aloe vera, turmeric more effective for rashes —Experts

MOST fungal infections are not particularly serious and can be treated with the help of over-the-counter creams. These products prevent fungi from getting oxygen and proliferating. Using an antifungal cream can help to stop an infection on the skin, scalp or nails in its tracks. Creams can also prevent conditions from getting worse, and will help to avoid lengthier and more expensive doctor-prescribed treatments.

Sometimes, an antifungal cream is combined with other creams when two actions are required. For example, an antifungal cream is often combined with a mild steroid cream to treat certain rashes. The antifungal cream clears the infection, and the mild steroid cream reduces the inflammation caused by the infection.

An alternative to mild steroid cream to add to an antifungal cream to treat certain rashes is turmeric essential oil (TEO) or aloe vera gel (AVG). In a new study, researchers say antifungal creams with turmeric essential oil or aloe vera gel can be used to cure skin infections with no side effects.

Common symptoms that may signal a fungal infection include redness and cracking of the skin, very intense itching and burning, or a ring-shaped rash. In the case of a yeast infection, symptoms also include thick vaginal discharge and a fishy smell.

Most antifungal drugs currently available to treat fungal infections have serious drawbacks, which include a low concentration of active ingredients, itching on the skin due to chemical composition, development of fungi resistance and side effects like burning, redness and swelling on the application site.

Besides different side effects committed to commercially available antifungal drugs, these days, multiple drug resistance is fast-rising worldwide and efficacy of a single antibiotic against resistant microorganisms is abating. The continuous therapeutic failure as a result of multi-drug resistance has caused an urgent demand for the production of effective antifungal drugs or creams.

So, antifungal combination therapy is trending with veracity in the fields of infectious diseases and medical mycology, including the combination and synergistic effects of commercial antifungal drugs with natural compounds from plants as a complementary and alternative approach to combat continuous incidents of fungal infection.

The potential synergistic combination between two or more antimicrobial agents can help in reducing resistant mutants, exhibit more antimicrobial action, improve toxicity against pathogens and thus, serve as effective alternative traditional medicine for the treatment of various fungal infections.

Turmeric is a bright yellow spice powder that is made from the root of Curcuma longa. Also, known as ‘ata ile pupa’, turmeric and especially its most active compound, curcumin, have many scientifically-proven health benefits, such as the potential to prevent heart disease, Alzheimer’s and cancer. It’s a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant and may also help improve symptoms of depression and arthritis.

Aloe vera is a popular medicinal plant that people have used for thousands of years. It is a thick, short-stemmed plant that stores water in its leaves. It is best known for treating skin injuries, but it also has several other uses that could potentially benefit health. Research backs the ancient use of topical aloe vera as a skin treatment, including acne. Also, its juice also lowers blood sugar level, reduces dental plaques, and aid digestion.

For this study, commercially-available antifungal creams (AFCs) namely; clotrimazole, fluconazole, ketoconazole and terbinafine were purchased. Also collected for testing were fungal isolates, including Candida albicans, Aspergillus fumigatus, and Trichophyton rubrum. The 2021 study was in the BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies.

The essential oil was extracted from the turmeric rhizomes by the process of steam distillation. Aloe vera leaf was cleaned with ethanol, dissected and the gel – a jelly-like substance found in the inner part of the leaf – was collected into sterile tubes.

The synergism, indifference, and antagonism of combined AFC with TEO or AVG were screened on the studied disease-causing fungi. The combination of plant extracts; TEO or AVG with AFC was effective against all the tested fungi.

The researchers said the chemical ingredients in these plant extracts could augment the formulation of body and hair creams (cosmetics) to treat resistant disease-causing fungi within a short time with no side effects.

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