If you are suffering from symptoms of giardia infection, or giardiasis, there are many effective methods of self-care and treatment which can be attempted at home. Giardia parasites are transmitted through contaminated food and water, as well as contact with other people infected by the parasite, resulting in an infection of the small intestine. Symptoms include diarrhea, nausea, fever, abdominal bloating and flatulence.
Drink increased levels of fluids to prevent dehydration. Drink water, sports drinks and fruit juices throughout the day. If you have trouble keeping down fluids, try sucking on ice cubes. Avoid drinks containing caffeine or alcohol as these will encourage further loss of fluids from the body. Consume only bland foods such as potatoes, noodles, boiled vegetables and breads till your stool becomes well-formed again.
Take probiotics through supplements or whole foods. Probiotics are bacteria that are beneficial to our health and help us fight pathogens such as giardia through a variety of mechanisms. According to an article published in "Alternative Medicine Review" in 2003, author Jason Hawrelak, ND, states that probiotics directly reduce the growth of giardia through competing for cell receptor sites, competing for nutrients in the body and through the stimulation of the immune system against giardia. Take probiotics in the form of a supplement or through foods such as acidophilus yogurt, tempeh and saurkraut.
Take berberine-containing medicinal plants. Berberine is a bitter tasting and anti-parasitic chemical discovered naturally in herbal medicines such as goldenseal, barberry and Indian barberry. The primary chemical found in these two herbs, berberine, has been the subject of intense scientific scrutiny for its antibiotic properties. According to a study published in "Annals of Tropic Medicine and Parisitology" in 1991, berberine was found to be significantly effective in reducing the growth of several parasites, including giardia. Obtain berberine naturally through extracts of medicinal plants such as goldenseal and barberry.
Take garlic daily. In a study published in "The Journal of the Egyptian Society of Pasitology" in 1991, researchers discovered that dilutions of crude garlic in water was an effective treatment for children with giardiasis. Taking the garlic twice a day before meals significantly reduced the duration of illness and reduced symptoms. Cooking garlic destroys the active constituents, so consume whole fresh garlic or purchase a garlic supplement form a health food store.
Purchase travel-safe probotiocs when visiting foreign countries where traveller's diarrhoea is a risk.
Drink ginger root tea to reduce nausea and vomiting.
Take vitamin B6 supplements to reduce nausea and vomiting.
If symptoms persist or you experience bloody stools, body temperatures over 100°F (38°C), severe abdominal pain or dehydration, consult with a health care professional and seek medical attention. There are prescriptive medicines such as loperamide that can help to combat giardia infection and reduce symptoms. Practice good hygiene to prevent transmitting giardia to other people.
- eMedicineHealth: Giardiasis
- 'Alternative Medicine Review"; Giardiasis: Pathophysiology and Management; Jason Hawrelak, ND; 2003
- "The Journal of the Egyptian Society of Pasitology"; Evaluation of the antiparasitic effect of aqueous garlic (Allium sativum) extract in hymenolepiasis nana and giardiasis; Soffar SA, Mokhtar GM; 1991
- "Annals of Tropic Medicine and Parisitology"; In vitro effects of berberine sulphate on the growth and structure of Entamoeba histolytica, Giardia lamblia and Trichomonas vaginalis; Kaneda Y, Torii M, Tanaka T, Aikawa M.; 1991
Joel Le Blanc is a professional writer for various websites. Le Blanc is currently a student at the University of Canterbury, where he studies English literature, folklore and creative writing. He holds a Diploma in Herbal Medicine and has studied massage, nutrition, bach flowers and reiki.