Contrary to popular belief, “first-world” countries are not immune to parasites. In fact, parasitic infections are more common than most people think. You may even have parasites living in your intestines right now. And, when undiagnosed, they could live, feast and digest inside you for years, leaving you feeling ill most of the time. But here’s the good news — remedies can eliminate parasites. Here’s how to get rid of parasites naturally.
What exactly is a parasite?
Parasites are organisms that live off other organisms, or hosts, to survive. And they’re not uncommon. Human’s host nearly 300 species of parasitic worms, according to the Department of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, United Kingdom. Of course, some parasites may never affect their hosts. Others, however, thrive on the human body, causing poor nutrient absorption, weakness, and disease.
Parasites include roundworms, tapeworms, pinworms, whipworms, hookworms and more. Some parasites, like tapeworms, consume your food, leaving you hungry most of the day and unable to gain weight. Others feed on red blood cells and cause anemia. Some lay eggs, which keeps you itching, irritable and even unable to sleep at night.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that parasitic infections affect millions of Americans every year. In fact, 1.1 million people are newly infected with trichomonas. Trichomoniasis, one of the most common curable sexually transmitted disease In the U.S., is caused when a parasite passes from an infected person to an uninfected person during sex. Additionally, more than 300,000 people living, are infected with Trypanosoma cruzi — a parasite transmitted by insects — the cause of Chagas disease. If untreated, Chagas disease may lead to cardiomyopathy, heart failure, and intestinal complications.
How do you get parasites?
There are many ways to contract parasites. Have you ever had traveler’s diarrhea? If so, then you may have been host to a parasite called Giardia lamblia. It is the most common cause of parasitic gastrointestinal disease. And it’s estimated that 20,000 people contract giardiasis in the U.S. each year according to Medicine Net.
One of the most common ways to contract a parasite is through poor hygienic practices. But you might also get a parasite from drinking unfiltered tap water or eating contaminated foods. Additionally, parasites may be contracted by:
- Swimming in lakes, ponds, and rivers where Giardia or other parasites live.
- Traveling to countries that don’t have sanitary food, water or environmental practices in place.
- Owning a pet that frequently goes outside and has not been dewormed on a regular basis.
- Being bitten by insects that carry parasites.
- Having unprotected sex.
- Working in childcare.
- Working with soil regularly or areas contaminated with feces.
Signs you might have a parasitic infection
People with imbalanced gut flora, leaky gut syndrome or a weakened immune system may be more susceptible to contracting parasites. Here are some common signs of parasitic infection.
Constipation, diarrhea, and gas
Some of the more common symptoms of parasites in the body are constipation, diarrhea, and gas. Now, not all of these symptoms automatically lead to parasites. But if you have ongoing and unexplained:
- Constipation and gas
- Intense burning
- Bloating and cramping
…You could have a parasite.
Parasites, especially those living in the intestinal tract, may cause sleep disorders. That’s because parasites invade the central nervous system, causing disruption of sleep-wake patterns according to Sleep Disorders Medicine. So, if you have trouble falling asleep or wake up throughout the night, you may have a parasite.
Hives and rashes
Parasites that live in the intestinal tract can cause inflammation and skin irritation like hives and rashes. Some parasites may even cause eczema, rosacea, sores, and ulcers.
Are grinding your teeth at night? A study published in the Dental Research Journal found that parasites may cause bruxism. Bruxism is the medical term for grinding, gnashing, and clenching the teeth at night. The reason behind this is related to the anxiety and restlessness caused by parasites eliminating their waste and toxins into the body.
Eating raw or undercooked meat or drinking water contaminated with tapeworm eggs could lead to tapeworm infection. Tapeworms live in the gut and feed freely on the food you eat. While tapeworms from fish may reduce your appetite, tapeworms from beef or pork may actually increase your appetite.
Chronic fatigue and muscle pain
Pain or aching in your muscles or joints may not necessarily be a be a sign of parasites. But chronic fatigue, weakness, and muscle pain may be a symptom of Trichinella, which leads to trichinosis. Trichinosis is caused by eating the raw or undercooked meat of animals infected with the larvae according to the CDC. Basically, parasites can deplete the body of nutrients, minerals, fats, and carbs. When this happens, you’re left feeling fatigued and even depressed.
How to prevent parasitic infections
There are many ways to lower your risk of contracting a parasitic infection like washing your hands regularly after handling raw meat. Also, make sure your meat is cooked to the recommended internal temperature. Additionally, follow some safe practices like:
- Drinking only filtered water and bottled water when traveling.
- Practice safe sex.
- Don’t swim in polluted water, or swallow water from lakes, streams or ponds.
- Avoid changing the cat litter when you’re pregnant. Cats who regularly venture outdoors may come into contact with infected birds and rodents. Parasites can transfer to humans through their kitty litter. Known as the “cat poop parasite” toxoplasmosis can seriously harm pregnant women and their unborn babies.
Eliminate parasites naturally
If you’ve been diagnosed with a parasitic infection, there are ways to get rid of parasites naturally.
Traditionally, pumpkin seeds have been used as a remedy to expel intestinal parasites. A study from the Institute of Parasitic Diseases in China found that pumpkin seeds worked exceptionally well to rid tapeworms in the intestinal tract. But you’ll need to eat about a cup a day. Half in the morning and a half at night. Out of 115 patients, all expelled the tapeworms either completely or in pieces. Additionally, they had no further evidence of tapeworm infection. Some results took place within a couple of hours for certain participants, while others eliminated tapeworms within 15 hours following treatment.
Known for its anti-parasitic properties, wormwood has been used to treat parasitic infections for over 2000 years. In fact, it’s artemisinins, which come from extracts of sweet wormwood that are used for the treatment of malaria, including highly drug-resistant strains according to London research. To help eliminate parasites, use 200 milligrams three-times daily. Wormwood is not recommended for pregnant women or nursing mothers.
Maybe you’ve used oregano oil to ward off a cold, the flu, respiratory infections, and other illnesses. But did you know it also has anti-parasitic properties? Research conducted on 14 adult patients whose stools tested positive for parasites found that after taking oil of oregano, daily for six weeks, it significantly reduced certain parasites. Take 600 mg per day; however, pregnant women should avoid taking oregano oil, in case of miscarriage.
Cloves contain a powerful germicidal agent called eugenol. It also contains caryophyllene, a powerful antimicrobial compound. Together, these components kill microscopic parasites, larvae, and eggs. Research published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine suggests that cloves are very effective in killing malaria, tuberculosis, cholera, scabies, and other parasites. It’s even effective on viruses, bacteria, and fungi, including Candida.
Sure, it’s tasty in your favorite recipes, but did you know that garlic is one of the best remedies for ridding the body of parasites? In fact, garlic has been used for centuries in various cultures to fight infectious disease. Garlic is a rich source of organosulfur compounds, according to Oregon State research. And these compounds are thought to be responsible for its pungent flavor and aroma, and potential health benefits. Allicin along with ajoene are the compounds in garlic that kill parasites including one-cell varieties, pinworms, and hookworms. Crushing or chopping garlic releases enzymes and maximize its benefit. So, it’s for this reason that you should eat garlic raw to rid yourself of parasites. Crush it whole, and add it to your favorite salad dressing or dip.
Like fresh garlic, fresh onions also have anti-parasitic effects thanks to sulfur. But again, eat your onions raw. Add them to salad, salsa, egg salad, and other recipes.
Dried coconut is a traditional method for expelling tapeworms and other parasites. But the key to making this work is by eating a lot of dried coconut — 2 1/2 cups to be exact — suggests Dr. Bruce Fife in his book Coconut Cures. Dried coconut is actually more effective than fresh in eliminating parasites. Additionally, after eating the dried coconut, it should be followed by a strong laxative. The combination of the coconut and laxative effectively flushes parasites out of the intestinal tract. However, Dr. Fife suggests following the laxative with cloves to kill any parasite eggs lurking in your system.
Pomegranates are loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. In fact, according to research, pomegranate contains more than 100 different phytochemicals, and a big part of them contributes to the antioxidant activity. But remarkably, they also kill intestinal parasites like roundworms, pinworms, and tapeworms. Eating fresh pomegranate daily or drinking the juice will not only kill parasites but may also prevent future attacks.
Carrots have been used traditionally for parasite removal. But it’s not the actual carrot that removes parasites; it’s the vitamin A at work. Vitamin A helps remove harmful substances from your body. One of the best ways to get your vitamin A is by drinking a fresh glass of carrot juice daily.
Additional herbs that kill parasitic infections
Some herbs used to treat intestinal parasites may interfere with other medications. So, it’s important to use them only when supervised by a qualified practitioner. Here’s a list of herbs, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center that work well for parasite removal:
Barberry cleanses the gut and liver and is effective for both food poisoning and traveler’s diarrhea.
Goldenseal, one of the top-selling herbal products in the U.S., is an excellent antimicrobial.
Oregon grape, well-known among herbalists, is used to cure infectious conditions in both the stomach and intestines.
Anise, cultivated in Egypt for 4000 years and widely throughout the world, is used as a diuretic and for digestive problems.
Black walnuts, a modern-day superfood, work well to expel parasitic worms from the body.
Berberine, a compound found in herbs such as Oregon grape and goldenseal, successfully treat Giardia infections. The recommended dosage according to The Canadian Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine is 200 mg, three times per day. However, this supplement is not recommended for children.
Before using homeopathy, an experienced practitioner must first consider a person’s physical, emotional and intellectual makeup. Additionally, they must take into account any current symptoms experienced to determine the most appropriate remedy. The following homeopathic remedies may be used to eliminate all kinds of parasites including tapeworms and trichinosis according to the National Center for Homeopathy.
- Cuprum oxydatum nigrum
Before starting a treatment, speak with your doctor
As with any therapy, work with your doctor to determine if you have a parasite before starting a treatment. He or she may request to examine your stool to identify the type of parasite. In fact, several stool samples may be required to find the parasite. The “Scotch tape” test may be used to identify pinworms. This includes touching tape to the anus, then looking at it under a microscope for eggs. Once it has been determined that you do indeed have a parasite, choose a natural remedy that best suits your needs.
Lastly… Avoid foods like grains and sugars that can actually nourish parasites. Replace them instead, with natural foods proven to kill parasites and remove their waste like pumpkin seeds, dried coconut, carrots, garlic, and onions. Before you know it, you’ll be parasite free and feeling like your old self again.
-The Alternative Daily