I tried to answer this yesterday and SkinCell timed out while I was writing the post so today I'll be brief.
1) Lichen planus is *not* fungal. It is mysterious, but it can be identified under a microscope and it is not fungal. Tea tree oil is wonderful stuff for many conditions but it can be an irritant so I'd strongly advise you to give it a pass.
2) There is some confusion about LP and yeast/candida/thrush as the steroids used to treat severe OLP can cause thrush (just like the steroidal inhalers used for asthma). The thrush can be more unpleasant than the OLP, which is why so many doctors are reluctant to prescribe topical steroids in the mouth.
3) If you do want to try herbal remedies, my choices for LP and OLP woould be:
a) for LP of the skin, capsaicin cream, which is sold under various brand names. In Canada I find Zostrix. It is teh hot stuff in chili peppers. YOu can buy the cream in two strenths. Buy the MILDER one, read the package insert before applying it, do a test patch, and discuss capsaicin with your doctor t odetermine an approprite protocol (My dermatologist was all for my trying it but insisted I space it midway between steroid cream applications, to lessen the chance of it stinging, and also, to doa few control patches with and without, on my back (husband applying) to see if it helped. I do nt stop using the steroid cream when I use the capsaicin.
b) for OLP I would suggest trying food grade, debittered aloe vera gel. It tatses awful but has amazing healing powers (hospitals use aloe on burn patients). Fill an eggcup with aloe vera, swish it around in your mouth for aminute or so, swallow it and then don't eat or drink anything for a while, to give it a chance to help heal your tissues. It tastes awful but is very soothing (aloe vera is also avalable in liquid. It tastes no better than the gel and doesn't adhere as well so I'd go with gel. Keep it in the fridge to help dull the wretched taste).
4) If you are worried about devloping trrush buy some acidophilus from a reputable health food store. Only buy a brand that has been kept in the refrigerator and also has a best by date on it. Or eat an acidophilus-rich brand of yogurt.
5) Lichen planus is not a histamine reaction, however I find that it does seem to itch less when I use certain anthistamines. Different brands contain different ingredients in different places. Here in Canada I use Reactine and Benadryl. Benadryl in the UK contains totally different ingredients, but you might find the Nortgh American version packaged as sleep aid Nytol. You can check the chemical names of bothproducts online (my daughtter is ill and napping and I don't want to wake her or I'd go check). I'm not sure why it helps, but it does... and it may have helped with my OLP. Essentially, the antihistamines that seem to help with LP are the same ones that pharmacists and doctorsrecommend to ease the itch of chicken pox (which is also not a histamine reaction).
6) Stress and hormonal cycles both seem to be factors in flare-ups. Consider trying Evening Primrose Oil as the GLS it contains is helpful in relieving many PMS symptoms. I am not religiu about taking it and when I don't there are times I regret it. Obviously stress happens and there is little one can realistically do t elminate tress from one's life, but you can find ways to cope with stress that do not manifest thjemselves on your skin.
7) Have you visited the LP support group www.tambcd.edu/lichen?
It is an amazing site. Not chatty and chummy and uplifting like SkinCell (which I also recommend highly, but you have found it already
), but for solid medical tips, advice, etc. There is a link on the home page to email DR. Nancy Burhart. She is wonderful about answering questions. If you have not checked out the Baylor site (URL above) please do as it is such an excellent resource.
I am really, really glad that the treatment you've been prescribed is helping!