Case Study: The Healing Power of Ayurveda & Systemic Candida by Leah Barr

Sally began her work with us in October with her chief complaints being systemic candida (the candida problems began in 2011 after a prolonged exposure to mold in her home ventilation system) and a severe rash on her hands. Her most salient secondary symptoms were lethargy, constipation, and lack of appetite or hunger cues.  We found her prakritti to be V 34%, P39%, K 27%.  We found her vikritti to be primarily vata with a strong secondary kapha influence presenting mainly in the form of candida, as evidenced by diagnostics performed by her physician, as well sluggish digestion.

Candida on SkinSally’s first bout with the hand rash occurred last Autumn and lasted from November 2014 to July 2015.  During this period she treated her hands with 2 separate rounds of an Rx topical anti-fungal and antibiotic treatment and met with limited results, as evidenced by the 9 month intermittent duration of the rash.

When Sally came to see me in October 2015 her rash was flaring up again. At the time of her IIC, it was getting worse rapidly.   By the ROF she had decided to treat herself again with the same Rx creams she had leftover from the previous year.  It appeared that the Rx creams reduced the intensity of the rash but at the end of the regimen her rash still lingered and would flare through the coming weeks with bouts of oozing puss, swelling, and bleeding.

In the meantime, as she was finishing her topical Rx treatment we prescribed Sally the following formulas: an anti-candida formula consisting of pau’ d’arco, musta, neem, and basil leaf; a digestion and elimination formula consisting of triphala, cascara sagrada, and trikatu; and a mind formula to treat vata in the mind consisting of shankapushpi, gotu kola, rose, and tulsi.

Candida on Skin ImprovementAdditionally we put Sally on the Vata/Kapha food program with special emphasis on the sour taste through the use of therapeutic, daily doses of apple cider vinegar, cultured vegetables (salt free made from culture is the best kind for candida), and takra. Sally was particularly drawn to the takra, and found herself craving it.  We believe the sour taste played a swift and crucial role in Sally’s healing process, as we can infer from the fact that we prescribed apple cider vinegar and takra at the ROF, and by FUV 1 her tongue was dramatically improved (having gone from a state of thick and crusty ama to a moist, pink, relatively ama free state between those two visits).  Sally was already following general anti- candida protocols— avoiding sugar and gluten— before she began her Ayurvedic work, but she re-committed and took them more seriously throughout the course of our work together.

By FUV 5 Sally was done with her Rx cream and had begun using topical hand formulas we prescribed under Brenda’s guidance.  This consisted of a 10-15 minute soak in a mugwort decoction followed by the application of a medicated oil consisting of neem, coconut oil, and essential oils of tea tree and myrrh.

As our work continued, we refined her diet, addressed the subtle body through golden flame meditation, and worked on addressing a deep seated vata imbalance through general education, asana, a medicated  ghee for the mind (simply her mind formula in a medicated ghee form), and numerous other interventions.

By FUV 9, Sally’s lethargy was alleviated and the intensity of her lack of appetite and hunger cues had gone from a 7 (at the IIC) to a 3.  At FUV10, her hand rash had gone from an intensity 10 to a 2, as can be seen in the before and after photographs.  Constipation is a lingering symptom that we continue to work on.

Sally feels strongly that the Ayurvedic formulas as well as the other work we did to treat vata were critical in making this year’s hand rash of far less intensity and far shorter duration as compared to last year.  She feels that she is in “a new place entirely” in regard to her rash, her other symptoms, and her overall mind, body, and spirit.  She considers many of the vata reducing protocols her “anchors” and no longer views her anti- candida life style as a pure deprivation, but now sees and feels the deep nourishment and even enjoyment in grounding dietary and life style practices. 

A big thank you to Lance and Brenda for all their support on this case!

Credits: Leah Barr, Brenda Igler, Lance*


Candida on the Skin Improves Substantially Candida on the TongueCandida on the Tongue