Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the parasite Trichomonas vaginalis. Some people call it trich for short.
An estimated 2 million people in the United States have the infection, according to the
But once diagnosed, trichomoniasis is easy to treat with antibiotics. While some people who are hesitant to seek treatment may turn to home remedies, these generally aren’t a good idea.
Trichomoniasis isn’t a new infection — people have spent centuries attempting to treat it. To date, antibiotics remain the most effective treatment for trichomoniasis.
Researchers in a
The researchers exposed black tea extracts to three different parasite types, including the one that causes the STI. They found that black tea extract stopped the growth of the three trichomonad types. It also helped to kill off antibiotic-resistant strains of trichomoniasis.
However, the study results were obtained in a laboratory and haven’t been replicated in humans with trichomoniasis. More research is needed to understand how much black tea is needed and whether it’s effective in humans.
Hydrogen peroxide is a natural antimicrobial that some people use to prevent infections. Some Internet searches suggest that hydrogen peroxide may be able to treat trichomoniasis.
However, research hasn’t proven this is the case, according to an article in Clinical Microbiology Reviews.
Participants in a research study used hydrogen peroxide douches, but these didn’t treat their infection.
Also, hydrogen peroxide has the potential to irritate delicate vaginal or penile tissues. It can also kill off healthy bacteria that may otherwise protect you from other infections.
Garlic is for more than just adding flavor to food. People have used it as an herbal remedy for centuries.
A 2013 study observed different garlic concentrations and their power to kill off parasites that cause trichomoniasis. Researchers found that various garlic concentrations help to stop the movement of these parasites, killing them off.
The study was done in a laboratory and not on people, so it’s hard to know if garlic could have the same effects in practice. More research is needed to figure out how to use it effectively in humans.
Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has natural antimicrobial properties. People have tried everything from apple cider vinegar baths to soaking tampons in apple cider vinegar to try to cure trichomoniasis.
However, there’s no evidence that any of these remedies work. Plus, apple cider vinegar is very acidic, so it’s best to keep it away from sensitive genital tissues.
Pomegranate juice or extract
Pomegranates are flavorful, red fruits that also have medicinal properties. A
However, this parasite-killing ability depended on the pH of the environment. Because pH can vary in infections, it’s hard to say if a person has the right body pH to kill off the infection.
This remedy was also not tested in humans, so more research is needed to manage effectiveness in people with trichomoniasis.
Myrrh is a plant that has been used in medicine since ancient Egyptian times. It’s more technically called Commiphora molmol and is touted for its power to treat anything from worms to stomach pain with its anti-inflammatory properties, among other useful attributes.
The sample size for the study was quite small at just 33 women, only 13 of which were actually treated with myrrh. More research is needed to support myrrh as an effective option.
Zinc sulfate douche
The inherent antimicrobial properties in zinc sulfate make it a possible treatment for antibiotic-resistant trichomoniasis. One
Participants were treated with a douche that contained 1 percent zinc sulfate. Nearly all women — 87 percent — were cured of their infection using this treatment method.
While these results are promising, the sample size in this study was small at just 8 women. The study also took place over the course of several years and some women used the douche in conjunction with the medication tinidazole, making it difficult to attribute the effectiveness to the douche alone.
Ginger is yet another plant
Researchers studied ginger ethanol extracts as a possible treatment for trichomoniasis. The results showed that ginger was effective at treating infection some 17 to 100 percent of the time, depending on the concentration of the herb (the most effective was 800 micrograms per milliliter).
It’s important to note that this study was performed on mouse macrophages (cells). Research on human subjects is needed before recommending ginger as a suitable treatment.
Researchers performed an in vitro study on resveratrol and its potential as a treatment for Trichomonas vaginalis. Their results showed that this compound can effectively eliminate parasites at various concentrations.
More research on living subjects is needed before declaring resveratrol a useful treatment for trichomoniasis.
There are a variety of other herbs traditionally used to treat sexually transmitted infections. The basil leaf, for example, is known for being a “strong microbicide” which can kill off fungus and bacteria.
A recent in vitro study showed that basil, lemongrass, and eucalyptus essential oils showed antiparasitic action when exposed to Trichomonas vaginalis after just 12 to 24 hours.
More research is needed on these herbs in a real world setting before it is recommended as an alternative to standard antibiotic treatment.
You may love the taste of summer tomatoes sliced in your salad. Did you know they hold a concentrated compound called tomatine that has antimicrobial properties?
Researchers at the United States Department of Agriculture have examined tomatine and its possibility as a therapy for Trichomonas vaginalis and Tritrichomonas foetus. They suggest the compound has “potential value” as an ingredient to use in an alternative treatment for the STI in humans, cows, and cats.
This research is still in the theoretical stage and no specifics for how to use tomatoes is yet available.
Verbascum thapsus (also called great or common mullein) is a plant that harbors anti-inflammatory properties. It has been used to disinfect or heal skin as well as to treat diarrhea and urinary infections.
An in vitro
The researchers conclude that this compound should be considered for future research but do not state it is a suitable treatment as of now.
Nigella sativa (black cumin)
Another herb called Nigella sativa or black cumin has been used traditionally in both food and medicine in India and the Mediterranean. Like other herbs on this list, it is credited with having anti-inflammatory and anti-parasitic qualities, among other properties.
In a review on herbs to treat Trichomonas vaginalis, researchers share that — after just 24 hours of exposure to the infection — black cumin extract in a concentration of 2 milligrams per millileter may be as effective as metronidazole, the go-to medication.
The authors of the referenced study explain that more research is needed before recommending a standardized dose of black cumin to treat infection.
Boric acid is both antiviral and antifungal. For this reason, it is sometimes used to treat stubborn yeast infections.
Researchers set out to support the topical use of boric acid to treat Trichomonas vaginalis. They claim its effectiveness on yeast infections makes it a possible help for antibiotic-resistant infections. Their preliminary work shows that boric acid can slow the growth of parasites in a lab setting.
These findings are still theories and merely lay the groundwork for future in vitro and clinical studies on boric acid as an alternative therapy.
Manilkara rufula flavonoid and tannin extracts
Like other plants and herbs on this list, the extracts from the Manilkara rufula plant (a type of tree) have powerful antitrichomonal properties.
This study was yet again performed in vitro, meaning it was on cells and not humans. More research on these extracts and their specific concentration and application is needed before using it as a treatment method.
Antibiotics, which your healthcare provider can prescribe, are the most effective and reliable treatment for trichomoniasis. In many cases, you’ll just need a single dose.
Some strains are harder to kill than others, so your healthcare provider may have you come in for some follow-up testing to confirm you don’t need additional treatment.
Since trichomoniasis has a high rate of reinfection, especially in women, it’s important to get retested after treatment. There are at-home tests available (from Everlywell, LetsGetChecked, etc.) if you would rather not be re-tested at your doctor’s office.
You should also recommend that all of your sexual partners be tested. You should abstain from sexual activity until all partners have been treated and the infection is resolved.
Left untreated, trichomoniasis can cause inflammation that makes it easier for viruses, such as HIV, to enter your body. It can also increase your risk of other STIs, which can have lasting effects without prompt treatment.
If you’re pregnant, it’s especially important to get tested and treated. Untreated trichomoniasis can result in preterm labor and low birth weights.
There’s aren’t any proven home treatments for trichomoniasis. Plus, this STI often doesn’t cause symptoms, so it’s hard to gauge whether home treatments are effective.
It’s best to err on the side of caution and see a healthcare provider for any potential STIs. In many cases, you’ll just need a quick course of antibiotics.
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- Liu, J. & et al. (2016). Anti-protozoal effects of the tomato tetrasaccharide glycoalkaloid tomatine and the aglycone tomatidine on mucosal trichomonads. https://www.ars.usda.gov/research/publications/publication/?seqNo115=332990
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