The term "natural" is a pretty vague term and can mean a lot of things, especially nowadays. Critics of a natural lifestyle will often snap that poisonous substances like lead and arsenic are natural. And that's true. One goal in living a healthy natural lifestyle is to be able to discern what things are just marketed as natural, safe options and which ones really are. There are a number of very commonly-used "natural" things out there that aren't really safe or beneficial, so let's discuss those.
While it's commonly believed that it is plant-based because of its name, the bright purple gentian violet often used for thrush is actually derived from coal tar and has been proven to be carcinogenic.
Coal tar. Cancer causing. Enough said. Please stop using this, especially with babies.
Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE)
Different than Grape Seed Extract, GrapeFRUIT seed extract is often recommended as a natural antifungal. Unfortunately, the only reason it has antifungal properties is due to the unnatural chemicals used to process it.
Research has proven that grapefruit seed extract alone has no antifungal properties and that the antifungal properties come from the triclosan or other unlabeled antifungals present from processing.
GSE is often usually contaminated with benzalkonium chloride and parabens in additio to the triclosan. Numerous studies have tested samples of commercially produced GSE and found these contaminants to be present. (See here, here, here and here.) The biggest contaminant found is benzalkonium chloride, a chemical that rates a 7 in the cosmetics database that's a known immune system toxin, skin toxin, and possible cancer risk.
What about organic grapefruit seed extract? The extract is still going to contain diphenol hydroxybenzene. The organic certifying body is the Soil Association, not the USDA. The Soil Association is the European organic standard, and the requirements are much less strict than that of the USDA. They will allow and certify a synthetic chemical like GSE if it meets certain criteria for biodegradability, aquatic toxicity and bioaccumulation. So, since the grapefruits were organically grown, and it meets the requirements, they approve the extract as organic, even though it contains or is processed with synthetic chemicals.
At the very least, GSE is a skin irritant and not worth using as there are many safer and more effective options.
Note: Grapefruit seed extract and grapefruit seed essential oil are two very different things.
A couple more that ARE natural but there are some things we need to know about them...
Diatomaceous Earth (DE)
Food-grade diatomaceous earth is often taken internally to help detoxify the body of fungus and parasites. I believed this for a little while too but didn't continue as I like to see research behind things and I hadn't seen any true research on it.
I recently found that the levels of heavy metals in DE are surprisingly high and are not chelated effectively by the DE.
Toxic Metals = Aluminum 3085.62 PPM, Cadmium 0.485 PPM, Lead 2.36 PPM & Mercury 0.0317 PPM.
Total Common Metal Toxins = 3088.4967 PPM
Chelators = Silica 324.07 PPM, Copper 9.78 PPM, Selenium 0.19 PPM & Zinc 26.2 PPM.
Total Chelators = 360.24 PPM
From that, we can see that there there are nearly 9 times more toxic metals than chelators available to remove them. It's just not worth the risk and there are safer alternatives with lots of research behind them and zero heavy metals present. (And I've personally found them to work a thousand times better. Message me for more info.)
Is there still any use for DE? I think so. I personally continue to use it on my barn and chicken coop floor underneath bedding to help with insects (being sure no animals are present to inhale it during application). And of course the information above is only one company's DE. I personally do not feel it is necessary to avoid all bowel-cleansing supplements that contain a small amount of DE.
I'm eating crow here. I know I've talked a lot about colloidal silver in the past. And it still has its place in my medicine cabinet. But after years of digging for research showing its effect on microflora, I have found that colloidal silver can indeed harm beneficial gut bacteria. (Click here, here, and here for research studies showing that.)
If you've followed HFFG for any time, you know that maintaining a proper microflora balance is one of the most important things we can do for good physical (and mental) health. It's obviously still a better option than prescription antibiotics in my opinion, but not better than other things that I discuss often on HFFG which are proven to actually support beneficial microbes while destroying the harmful ones.
I still keep colloidal silver on hand for emergencies as well as for eye or ear infections, but don't recommend taking it internally unless absolutely needed.