Do you have parasite concerns? Most of us like to believe that we are immune to such repulsive things as invasive, harmful organisms, also known as parasites. Unfortunately, these invasive organisms don’t care who we are or where we live, or even how clean we are. Increases in worldwide travel, importation of foods, personal pets, weakened immune systems, weakened digestive systems, and other parasitic concerns have become rampant for children and adults alike. As a result, harmful intestinal organism concerns occur in most people at some point in their lives.
Most sources estimate that a massive 90% of Americans have parasitic infections.
According to the CDC, a parasite is defined as an organism that lives on or in a host and gets its food from or at its host’s expense. Parasites can also cause disease in humans. Some of these parasitic diseases are easily treated, and some are not.
There are two major types of intestinal parasites which are helminths and protozoa. Helminths are worms with many cells. Tapeworms, pinworms, and roundworms are among the most common helminths in the United States. In their adult form, helminths cannot multiply in the human body. Protozoa have only one cell and can multiply inside the human body, fostering serious infections to develop. Intestinal parasites are usually spread when a person comes in contact with infected feces (for example, through contaminated soil, food, or water). In the U.S., the most common protozoa are giardia and cryptosporidium.
Schools and Day Care. According to The University of Maryland: “Parasites can live within the intestines for years without causing any symptoms.” They go on to say, “Exposure to child and institutional care centers” are possible causes of parasitic infections, which would pretty much describe all children attending school. Parasites are very contagious, especially when people (children and adults) don’t practice effective hand-washing and sanitary habits.
People Most Likely to Have a Harmful Organism Infection
- Those who suffer from a compromised immune system or chronic illness.
- Those who travel to, or live within, subtropical regions.
- Those who swim in rivers, ponds, or lakes where parasites are common.
- Those who work in childcare.
- Those who regularly work with soil.
- Those who suffer from leaky gut syndrome.
- Those who consume raw fish.
While some infections are easily treated, it can be tough to remove them from the system once a parasite has taken hold.
Experts estimate 80% of Americans are infected with parasites including Candida overgrowth and mold. Up to 50% of the USA water supply is contaminated with Giardia — one of the most common causes of waterborne disease in the United States
Loretta Lanphier, NP, BCTN, CCH, CCH, HHP
Signs and Symptoms of Parasite Concerns
Intestinal invaders can live in your intestines for years without causing symptoms. They can mimic many illnesses and threaten the intestinal tract when setting up a house inside your body. They will leech nutrients from your body and excrete harmful toxic waste materials. When they do, symptoms can include the following:
- Abdominal distension
- Abdominal pain
- Repeated diarrhea or constipation
- Nausea or vomiting
- Gas or bloating
- Dysentery (loose stools containing blood and mucus)
- Rash or itching around the rectum or vulva
- Stomach pain or tenderness
- Feeling tired
- Weight loss
- Passing a worm in your stool
- Multiple food allergies
- Difficulty sleeping
- Palpitations (Hookworms)
- Loss of appetite
- Recurrent bladder infections
- Psoriasis or eczema
- History of antibiotic use
- Low back pain
- Joint and muscle pain
- Bad breath
- Teeth grinding
- Urinary tract infections
- Skin issues
Options for Eliminating Parasite Concerns
Conventional Drug Therapies for Parasites
Your conventional medicine doctor will choose an anti-parasitic drug that is most effective against your intestinal parasite(s). You may need one dose, or you may have to take the medication for several weeks. Be careful to take the medication exactly as it is prescribed, or it may not work. These drugs are always toxic, for it is their toxicity that kills parasites. Be sure to read all contraindications as well as side effects before taking the drug. Swelling of the lymph nodes, hands, and feet is common. Vision concerns, lack of coordination, and convulsions can also occur. Diarrhea is also typical with these drugs.
Natural Medicine Therapies for Parasites
Alternative treatments can be used by themselves or along with conventional drugs. However, it is good if a knowledgeable doctor can determine what kind of organism is causing your concerns before starting treatment. The following may help keep parasites from growing.
Avoid simple carbohydrates, such as those found in refined foods, fruits, juices, dairy products, and all sugars, except honey. Also, avoid pork, raw fish, wheat, alcohol, and processed food.
Foods that Kill Parasites
Eat more raw garlic, raw pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, pomegranates, coconut, onions, beets, and carrots, all of which have been used traditionally to kill parasites. In one study, researchers found that a mixture of honey and papaya seeds cleared stools of parasites in 23 out of 30 subjects. Drink lots of purified water to help flush out your system.
Eat More Fiber
Consuming extra fiber while on a parasite cleanse is important as it helps absorb and sweep out dead parasitic material and toxins.
(Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus Plantarum, Saccharomyces boulardii, and bifidobacteria) These probiotics help to repopulate your gut and keep your digestive tract healthy. Probiotics are essential for restoring intestinal flora, even after a parasite has been removed. Probiotics may not be appropriate in some severely immune-compromised patients. Talk to a knowledgeable doctor/practitioner.
Digestive enzymes can help restore your intestinal tract to its normal state, making it inhospitable to parasites. Papain is an enzyme from the papaya plant that may help kill worms when taken 30 minutes before or after meals. Papain may increase bleeding in people with clotting disorders or those taking blood-thinning medications, such as warfarin (Coumadin).
Vitamin C supports the immune system and is also a powerful antioxidant. However, what most people don’t know is that vitamins are also very useful in parasite removal. The literature recommends that if you suffer from symptoms of parasite concerns, then you should be taking about four grams of vitamin C every day. It is important not to simultaneously take magnesium or calcium, as the nutrients may neutralize each other. Lower the dose if diarrhea develops.
Zinc supports the immune system. Zinc may interact with certain medications, particularly antibiotics, and may not be appropriate for people with HIV/AIDS. Talk to your doctor. I recommend using zinc orotate.
Diatomaceous Earth (DE)
Important: Use food-grade diatomaceous earth only. Diatomaceous earth is a naturally occurring substance with the remarkable ability to kill parasites, yeast overgrowth, and, most importantly, parasite eggs. Naturally high in silica and other trace minerals, it can also help restore body tissue and improve digestion. DE can also support healthy blood pressure and cholesterol, increase bone strength, and aid weight loss. If you decide to take DE, begin with 1 tsp per day in 8 ounces of purified water and work up to 1-2 TBSP a day until yeast symptoms disappear. Read the info below on Herxheimer’s reaction.
Cinnamon can offer a range of fantastic health benefits. Cinnamon has also been proven, alongside ginger, to be a natural remedy for certain forms of parasites. Mixing ginger and cinnamon into a cup of tea or a smoothie can be a good way to get your regular daily dosage. However, ensure that any smoothies are free from dairy and refined sugar to promote quick intestinal recovery.
Herbs for Parasite Concerns
Herbs can strengthen your body’s systems as well as help to make your body undesirable for parasites. As with any therapy, you should work with a knowledgeable doctor/practitioner before beginning the use of herbs. You can find herbs to use for a parasite infection in the form of dried extracts (capsules, powders, or teas), glycerites (glycerine extracts), or tinctures (alcohol extracts).
Some of the herbs used to treat intestinal parasites have side effects or interfere with other medications. Use them only under the supervision of a qualified and knowledgeable practitioner. A few of the herbs that your practitioner might consider include:
- Garlic (Allium sativum)
- Barberry (Berberis vulgaris)
- Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis)
- Oregon grape (Berberis aquifolium)
- Anise (Pimpinella anisum)
- Wormwood ((Artemisia annua))
- Curled mint (Mentha crispa)
- Black walnuts (Juglans nigra)
- Olive Leaf Extract
- Wild Mediterranean Oregano Oil
- Grapefruit Seed Extract
If you have severe yeast, candida overgrowth, or other parasite concerns, consider using one or more of these potent herbs. However, it’s important to first do your own research into possible side effects and contraindications, especially if you are taking prescription medications, and talk to a knowledgeable practitioner.
Homeopathy for Parasites
Before prescribing a remedy, homeopaths consider a person’s constitutional type, including your physical, emotional, and intellectual makeup. An experienced homeopath will assess all of these factors and any current symptoms when determining the most appropriate remedy for your specific needs. The following remedies may be suggested for parasites:
- Cuprum oxidatum nigrum
Yearly Parasite Cleansing
Prevention is always best when it comes to health concerns, and it rings true concerning parasites. Because harmful organisms and parasite exposure is widespread and can be attributed to environmental factors (suppressing the immune system from recognizing parasites) as well as undercooked meat, fish or poultry, contaminated water, poor hygiene, contact with contaminated feces or soil, pets, and unwashed fruits and vegetables, it’s always a good idea to perform a harmful organism cleanse at least two to three times yearly.
What are the Main Health Benefits of Parasite Cleansing
Effective parasite cleansing promotes healthy detoxification and freedom from most parasite side effects. It also helps to turn your body into an environment that is hostile to harmful organisms. Best of all, performing two to three-yearly parasite cleanses can rejuvenate your energy levels and help you feel better. Below are the main health benefits of parasite cleansing:
Many parasites make their home in your liver, bile duct, and intestines. Once they’re eliminated, you will notice improved digestion. The liver produces bile, which pushes through biliary tubes to reach the bile duct. Your gallbladder stores the bile, releasing it when you eat to help to emulsify fats. When your digestive organs are full of parasites, they won’t work optimally, which results in digestion difficulties. This causes other health issues, like allergies or pain. You may want to focus on castor oil packs and coffee enemas to work on your liver and gallbladder health during your parasite cleanse.
Heightened Mental Clarity
Have you ever struggled with brain fog? Do you experience difficulty remembering something, even though it feels right on the tip of your tongue? You find yourself re-reading the same sentence over and over, but you are unable to process it as you used to? Brain fog has many probable causes, and neurotoxins released by parasites could be one of them. After cleansing, you will definitely notice your mental acuity becomes sharper, and your thinking becomes clearer.
Increased Energy Levels
You can imagine that having hundreds and thousands of parasites stealing all your nutrients and minerals can cause some serious fatigue. Often, doctors are unable to pinpoint the cause of the fatigue and may diagnose you with fibromyalgia or irritable bowel, but the root cause could be parasites. Certain pathogens, like hookworms and babesia, can cause anemia because they affect your blood. Battling these overgrowths will surely restore your energy and vitality without extra cups of coffee. Being able to absorb the nutrients you intake rather than having them stolen will help you get back to normal energy levels.
Vanishing Rashes and Skin Issues
The skin is one of your organs of detoxification and elimination. Toxins, parasites, and even eggs exit your body through your skin and can cause itchy rashes or sores. Some ingredients in herbal parasite cleanse products are broad-spectrum herbs that target parasites and viruses, bacteria, heavy metals, toxins, and Candida. What this means is that performing parasite cleansing is cleansing more than just parasites. It’s also tackling pathogens that might be causing your skin rashes too. Either way, you may find a big difference in your skin after parasite-cleansing.
Natural health and wellness experts understand that parasites wreak havoc with more than just your digestion. If you feel an increase in irritability, anxiety, depression, or other mood concerns, parasites can be the culprit. Rest assured, you are not alone. For example, with infections such as Lyme, the chemistry of the brain is affected, as well as neurotransmitters — as neurotoxins build up and severely alter mood. You might experience a flare-up of mood-related symptoms while performing a parasite cleanse but then enjoy a much more stable mood afterward.
Parasites get much of their energy from sugar, so it’s not surprising that they can cause you to crave such things as ice cream, crackers, and bread. When performing a parasite cleanse, it’s crucial to eliminate sugar and grains, so you’re not feeding the pathogens. Most people will notice their cravings beginning to disappear as parasites are eliminated.
Improved Joint Function
Parasites release toxins that can cause systemic inflammation and can cause joint and muscle pain. Some experts believe parasites can seek out your old injuries to settle into, making soreness in those areas even worse. When you are cleansing, using an infrared heating pad or infrared sauna can help with most pain. Epsom salts baths are effective in relieving joint pain.
Stronger Respiratory Health
Certain parasites, like lung flukes, live in the lungs and can affect your respiratory health directly. Other parasites release toxins that may affect your respiratory system causing shortness of breath, air hunger, burning lungs, or other symptoms. You may want to try a Himalayan salt inhaler to naturally and temporarily calm irritated airways while you cleanse out the critters. In fact, a parasite cleanse might be the “breath of fresh air” you’ve been wanting.
Do you ever get unexplained migraines that are so debilitating, you’re nauseous for 24-hours and can’t handle the slightest light or quietest sound? Or just frequent dull headaches that don’t go away no matter how much water you drink? If you have neurological Lyme or parasites with an affinity for the brain, you may experience severe headaches due to the infection.
Don’t be discouraged if you experience some headaches during your cleanse. As with many of the above benefits, you may experience a slight worsening of current symptoms before you experience an improvement. Peppermint or lavender essential oils might provide you temporary pain relief.
Improved Immune system
Parasites are intelligent creatures who can trick the immune system into thinking they belong in the body. This survival tactic ensures their own survival, but over time causes your immune system to weaken. These parasites, now safe from being attacked, feast on all the nutrients and vitamins, and minerals your body needs for optimal health. When parasites weaken your immune system in this manner, it opens you up to other infections as well.
Enhanced Nutrient Absorption
When you no longer have pathogens gobbling up your nutrients, you’ll start to notice true health. And for many, this is something they haven’t felt for years. You will notice clearer skin, stronger nails, hair that grows thicker, and restful sleep. When the parasites are gone, you’re actually getting all the nutrition from your food and supplements and you will feel the true benefits of health and well-being.
Less Intestinal Concerns
Once you get deep into a parasite cleanse, you should notice less gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and other stomach and digestive tract issues. That doesn’t mean the cleansing process will be free of those symptoms — they could likely flare up as you’re eliminating pathogens. In fact, Lyme expert Dr. Jay Davidson eliminated two 20-inch worms during his parasite cleanse and noticed improvements in his digestive system after. Coffee enemas can help provide support for your liver and clear the bugs out faster.
A Word about Herxheimer Reaction
For some very sick individuals, including people with chronic fatigue syndrome or hefty loads of virus or bacteria in their bodies, cleansing from parasites and harmful organisms generates detoxification symptoms — known as the “die-off effect” — that may be unpleasant.
The “die-off effect,” or Herxheimer Reaction as it is medically called, refers to symptoms generated by a detoxification process. If you are already sick, you should be aware of the possibility. For this reason, it may be advisable to consult first with a knowledgeable healthcare practitioner before using it.
Die-off symptoms may include extreme fatigue, diarrhea, headaches, muscle/joint achiness, or flu-like symptoms. The severity usually differs from person to person. Keep in mind that such symptoms are positive signs. Nevertheless, they can be unpleasant and inconvenient. Some people may not want to continue because of the inconvenience. Others handle it better. Others experience no such effect.
What you can do in case of substantial detoxification symptoms using supplements/herbs: Drink at least 4-6 cups of purified water between each dose. Reduce the number of capsules, or even stop them altogether for a while. You may need a day or two, or even a week, to allow your body to process the “die-off.” When you feel better, you can resume the supplement at a lower dose and increase slowly. Vitamin C to bowel tolerance is also recommended for “die-off” symptoms.
Harmful organisms and parasite concerns decrease your ability to absorb nutrients, weaken your most important organs, contaminate your body with waste, and impair your immune system. Don’t allow invading organisms to affect your health. In a nutshell, no matter what symptoms you are experiencing or how long they have persisted, one thing is certain — if parasite concerns are the issue, performing 2-3 parasite cleanses every year, especially before the flu and virus season, will help to eliminate these invaders and improve your overall health and wellness. It’s never too late to cleanse.
References and Research
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Betti L, Trebbi G, Majewsky V, et al. Use of homeopathic preparations in phytopathological models and in field trials: a critical review. Homeopathy. 2009 Oct;98(4):244-66. Review.
Lima AA, Soares AM, Lima NL, et al. Effects of vitamin A supplementation on intestinal barrier function, growth, total parasitic, and specific Giardia spp infections in Brazilian children: a prospective randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2010;50(3):309-15.
Okeniyi JA, Ogunlesi TA, Oyelami OA, Adeyemi LA. Effectiveness of dried Carica papaya seeds against human intestinal parasitosis: a pilot study. J Med Food. 2007;10(1):194-6.
Ritchie BK, Brewster DR, Tran CD, Davidson GP, McNeil Y, Butler RN. Efficacy of Lactobacillus GG in aboriginal children with acute diarrhoeal disease: a randomised clinical trial. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2010;50(6):619-24.
Pereira AP, Ferreira IC, Marcelino F, Valentão P, Andrade PB, Seabra R, Estevinho L, Bento A, Pereira JA. Phenolic compounds and antimicrobial activity of olive (Olea europaea L. Cv. Cobrançosa) leaves. Molecules. 2007 May 26;12(5):1153-62.
W. R. van Kuijk, P. J. S. M. Kerstens, R. M. Perenboom, B. A. C. Dijkmans, and A. E. Voskuyl. Early-onset polyarthritis as presenting feature of intestinal infection with Strongloides stercoralis. Oxford Journals: Rheumatology. 2003. http://rheumatology.oxfordjournals.org/content/42/11/1419.long