The two main types of intestinal parasites are helminths and protozoa. Helminths are multi-celled worms that do not multiply within the body. Protozoa are single celled organisms that can multiply inside the human body. Common symptoms of a parasitic infection include abdominal pain, nausea, weight loss, and diarrhea. Parasites may live within the body for years before any symptoms appear. They can be acquired from other people, pets, poor sanitation or hygiene, food or travel to areas known for parasites. Traditional medical treatment involves medication. Herbs may also be used to kill and expel a parasite and heal the digestive system. It is very important to receive a proper diagnosis from your physician, if you display symptoms of a parasite infestation. Consult with your physician before taking any natural remedy.
Eat foods traditionally eaten to discourage parasites, including pumpkin seeds, pomegranates, carrots and beets. Aim for 1 to 2 ounces of fresh pumpkin seeds daily. Avoid simple carbohydrates and refined foods.
Cleanse your intestines by eating more fiber or taking a supplement. High-fiber foods include raspberries, apples, peas, beans and artichokes. Psyllium, pectin and bentonite clay are all supplements traditionally used to cleanse the intestines.
Take a probiotic supplement. Probiotics are the friendly bacteria that inhabit your intestines. When more of them are present, it leaves less room for harmful organisms to occupy.
Chew 3 cloves of garlic each morning. For those who dislike the taste and odor of garlic, take a supplement. Garlic is available in drops, capsule, tablet and syrup. A 2006 study published in the “American Society for Microbiology”, proved garlic’s anti-parasitic activity.
Use grapefruit seed extract, GSE. GSE is effective against over 800 bacterial and viral strains, 100 strains of fungus and a large number of single and multicelled parasites, according to Asa Hershoff, naturopathic physician and author. Take GSE according to the supplement label.
Try goldenseal. The active constituent in goldenseal, berberine, is believed to be active against single protozoa. Goldenseal should not be given to children under two, nor taken for more than 2 weeks without a break from the supplement. The University of Maryland Medical Center lists the typical adult dosage as 500 to 1000mg in capsule form up to three times daily, or 2 to 3ml of tincture three times daily.
Drink 2 ounces to 1 teacup of wormwood night and morning. The sesquiterpene lactones in wormwood are thought to weaken parasitic membranes and inhibit their growth.
Rotate the herbs that you use for a period of 6 to 12 weeks. Most parasite life cycles will conclude during this length of time.
Drink plenty of fluids.
References and Resources"American Society for Microbiology"; Antimalarial Activity of Allicin, a Biologically Active Compound from Garlic Cloves; Alida Coppi, Melissa Cabinian, David Mirelman, and Photini Sinnis; 2006
"Herbal Remedies: A Quick and Easy Guide to Common Disorders and Their Herbal Remedies; Asa Hershoff and Andrea Rotelli; 2001
Univeristy of Maryland Medical Center: Goldenseal
University of Maryland Medical Center: Intestinal Parasites
Dr. Christopher's Herbal Legacy: Parasites and Worms