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Treating Parasites

Below are some commonly used treatments for parasites.

Angelica (A. archangelica and A. sinensis)
Along with Echinacea purpurea, are widely used herbs for the treatment of the protozoa, Trichomonas. Angelica contains coumarin compounds that have been effective against this organism, as well as other worms and parasites. The American and European species are two commonly used species of Angelica. A. archangelica, along with the Chinese variety, A. sinensis or dong quai, is also reported to be superior as a treatment for all ailments of the female reproductive system. It also relieves pain by reducing cramping in muscles, but may not be as effective in the treatment of Trichomonas. Pregnant women should not use this herb, nor should diabetics, as it tends to raise blood sugar levels.

Artemisia Annua Extract
Exhibits strong antimalarial properties, as well as being effective against worms and various other parasites.

Berberine-containing plants
Have been used as an antibiotic and antiparasitic for thousands of years around the world. Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), barberry (Berberis vulgaris), Oregon grape (Berberis aquifolium), and goldthread (Coptis chinensis) share similar effects on parasites because of their high concentrations of berberine. It has been used in cases of infection caused by fungi, protozoa, and even viruses and bacteria. It also inhibits the overgrowth of yeast, a common side effect of antibiotic use, nor does it appear to be harmful against the normal flora bacteria. These plants also have a remarkable antidiarrheal property, even in the most severe cases of infection, and are particularly useful in infections that cause profuse diarrhea. It is also known to increase the blood supply to the spleen, thereby improving the body’s immune system, plus activating the white blood cells called macrophages. Under supervision, the herb is safely used in treating children. Berberine can be used prophylactically if travelling. Suggested use begins one week before and and ends one week after the trip to areas of anticipated poor sanitation. Berberine is generally considered non-toxic at recommended dosages, but high doses can cause a lowering of blood pressure, difficulty breathing, flu-like symptoms, GI discomforts, and heart damage. Therefore, it is best used under the direction of a knowledgeable herbalist.

Black Walnut hulls (Juglans nigra)
Have been used for a long time to kill many kinds of intestinal worms, especially tapeworms. The active ingredient, however, is only in the green hull surrounding the nut, and must be harvested before the nut falls from the tree. This active ingredient is called juglone and exerts antifungal, antiworm, antiviral, and antibacterial effects. An extract can be used safely in recommended doses for adults, but should not be used for infants or children.

Butternut (Juglans cinerea)
Is a good all-purpose herb to relieve constipation and expel worms, especially threadworms and pinworms. Butternut can be safely combined with any other mixture for decreased bowel tone and as a soothing laxative in cases of chronic constipation, but should not be taken over a long time.

Calendula (C. officinalis)
Is commonly used as a topical remedy for the healing of wounds, pain, or irritations. A tea made from 1 tbsp. Flowers to ¼ quart of water is said to expel worms, as well as to repair tissue damage done by them.

Cascara (C. sagrada and Rhamnus purshiana)
Helps eliminate waste as a mild, but effective, laxative, and is especially good in cases of chronic constipation. Using this one hour after eating raw pumpkin seeds will eliminate from the body the parasites that the seeds have paralyzed. Cascara is milder than Senna, with the main site of action being in the lower bowel.

Cat’s Claw (Uncaria tomentosa)
Is a giant woody vine that grows in the Peruvian tropical forests. It has properties that help in resistant cases of imbalanced intestinal flora, infection, sluggish digestion, poor assimilation, and bile stimulation. It is very effective as an intestinal cleanser and immune system rejuvenator, possessing antimicrobial and antiinflammatory properties. It has the ability similar to white blood cells to engulf and digest harmful microorganisms. It is a good companion herb for treating most parasites except Giardia, which actually thrives when there is bile stimulation. It is virtually nontoxic, but should not be used by pregnant women.

Cayenne
Can be added to a treament plan to kill parasites. The volatile oil, capsaicin, is also recommended for digestive disorders and strengthening internal organs, particularly the heart muscle. It has an analgesic effect similar to ginger, but does present a danger if there is an existing ulcer or chronic irritation of the bowel. Bleeding and serious damage can be exacerbated.

Chaparral (Larrea divaricata)
Is an excellent herbal antibiotic that can be used both internally and externally against viruses, bacteria, and parasites. It is often used for intestinal tract infections, diarrhea, or urinary tract infections, and it is frequently combined with such other antibiotic herbs as goldenseal and echinacea. Externally, chaparral can be applied to wounds as an antiseptic and to the skin for itching, eczema, or scabies.

Cloves (Eugenia caryophyllata)
Is an ancient herbal medicine used for killing internal parasites and their eggs. The spice exhibits a broad range of antimicrobial activity against other organisms as well, including fungi and bacteria. Cloves also helps to increase the circulation of the blood, promote digestion, and eliminate gas and intestinal spasms.

Cranberry concentrate
Is rich in acids (citric, malic, quinic, and benzoic), that aid in the digestion of protozoa.

Echinacea (E. purpurea)
Or purple coneflower, is used to treat all manner of chronic and acute infections. It is one of the most widely used herbs for the treatment of Trichomonas vaginalis and as an effective douche for the treatment of other vaginal infections. Echinacea is also used as an effective blood and lymphatic cleanser and for strengthening the immune system.

Elecampane (Inula helenium)
Is specific for the roundworm (Ascaris lumbricoides), having a paralyzing effect on the worm’s central nervous system. It is recommeded as the safest herb for children and has been known to be a benefit for lung ailments and digestive disorders.

Essential oils
Have a diverse antimicrobial action that can kill many types of worms and protozoa. The essential oils of peppermint (Mentha piperita) and lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) have the fastest killing effects, acting within twenty minutes and fifteen minutes, respectively. The essential oil thymol is specific for hookworms. Caution should always be taken when using essential oils to treat parasitic infections. Many of them are toxic, especially to children. Those with heart, liver, kidney, stomach, or intestinal disease should also use caution, as well as in pregnancy.

Fennel seed (Foeniculum vulgare)
Helps to remove waste material, as well as parasites, from the body. Fennel is most often used as a digestive aid and flavoring agent. It is not a dangerous plant, but the oil extracted can cause skin irritation, nausea, vomiting, seizures, and edema of the lungs. This type of fennel should not be confused with other types, including dog fennel.

Ficin (Ficus glabrata)
Is a well-known anti-worm remedy used in the tropics by the natives of South America and the Panama region. The latex gathered from these trees has been commercially exploited for decades because of its enzyme properties of papain and bromelain. Even though the enzymes in the plant digest living worms, it is well tolerated and nontoxic to humans when taken internally. Despite this, it still should not be used by pregnant women.

Garlic (Allium sativum)
Is used worldwide as a food, spice, and medicine. The active ingredient, allicin, is released after the clove is crushed. It is responsible for the characteristic odor. Deoderized concentrates contain only 30-100 parts per million of allicin and are of a questionable value if using for medicinal purposes, especially for parasites. Garlic prevents and fights infections from various sources, including fungi, bacteria, viruses, and protozoa, as well as parasites. As far as parasites are concerned, garlic is effective against roundworms, tapeworms, pinworms, and hookworms, but it can cause dermatitis in some people, as well as irritating the digestive tract. Some may also not be able to detoxify allicin and other sulfur-containing componenets effectively, but generally, garlic is the best and cheapest means of ridding any infection.

Ginger (Zingiber officianalis)
Works against roundworms, as well as blood flukes, and is effective in treating dog heartworm and Trichomonas vaginali. It is believed to have some analgesic and antispasmodic effects, as well as having properties similar to cayenne that helps relieve inflammation. It also has a long history of treating all manner of digestive upsets.

Grapefruit seed extract
Has been proven to be effective against over 800 strains of viruses and bacteria, 100 strains of fungi, plus a great number of single-celled parasites. No other antimicrobial can make such claims. Despite destroying harmful intestinal parasites, it does not significantly harm the normal bowel flora. For some time in foreign countries, grapefruit seed extract has been used as a broad spectrum antibiotic, antifungal, antiprotozoan, antiviral, antiseptic, disinfectant, and as a preservative in cosmetics. In South America, it has long been used instead of chlorine in swimming pools and sewage treatment plants as well, as in treating drinking water, since chlorine does not kill a variety of pathogens, including Giardia. In Peru, it is used to disinfect agricultural products. The FDA is finally acknowledging that it is as effective as any other amebicide now available and perhaps more effective, without causing the side effects that chlorine is known to cause. When travelling abroad, including Mexico, it is proving to be an exceptional and simple alternative to the more harsh methods of killing parasites and other harmful organisms. Animals also respond well to grapefruit seed extract since it does not cause the side effects common in chemical dewormers. The extract should never be used full strength when applied to the skin. The standard dilution is 33% extract and 67% glycerin. For some applications, it is best used with almond, olive, sesame, or avocado oils instead of water. Keep it away from the eyes. A few drops can be added to household cleaners and soaps for a germ-free cleanser. By using eight drops to a gallon of water, it makes a safe and effective food wash that increases the shelf life of fruits and vegetables by as much as 400%. The extract should not be used full strength when taken internally. Start with drop drop dissolved in glycerin, and then mixed with a glass of water or fruit juice. Slowly increase according to your reactions. Work up to about eight drops (or a corresponding number of pills) in a full glass of water two or three times a day until symptoms disappear. When the organisms you are trying to kill begin to die, the toxins are released, leading you to feel some discomfort or tiredness. If the symptoms become too uncomfortable, reduce the extract a little and begin to increase it again when you are feeling better. Since grapefruit seed extract can be very bitter, the debittered powder used in capsules may be a preferable choice. For children, a capsule can be opened and the powder mixed into juice. In pill form, it can take 100-300 mg. per day to be effective for adults. One or two drops in a glass of water once or twice a day can act as a preventative against traveler’s diarrhea. The extract is nontoxic and environmentally friendly. Caution should be used if there is a sensitivity to citrus. The extract is not absorbed into the intestinal tissue, so can be safely taken for long periods of time, as in the cases of Giardia and yeast infections where it may take months to eliminate.

Horsemint (Monarda punctata)
Can be used both internally and externally against worms, bacteria, and fungus. Horsemint contains a large amount of thymol, making it a powerful disinfecting agent. Almost 50% of this oil is excreted in the urine when taken internally, making it useful as a urinary antiseptic. There have been no reports of toxicity, but it can be irritating when applied topically. A significant amount of this plant would be needed to be toxic when taken internally.

Olive leaf extract (Olea europea)
Is a bitter substance produced by the olive tree, but eliminated from olives once they are cured. A new processing technique applied to an old herbal remedy has produced a nontoxic herbal parasite remedy. Olive leaf is also effective against fungi, molds, worms, and bacteria, and can be used for yeast infections. For about 4,000 years, countries of the Mediterranean, as well as those bordering, have chopped up olive leaves in liquid or salad form to prevent and treat parasitic infections. It also proved to be superior to quinine for treating malaria, but not as easy to administer, so quinine became the preferred treatment. Studies in the 1960s confirmed that olive leaf extract has the ability to counteract the malaria protozoa. The manufacturing method of this product is very important, otherwise, the ingredients bind rapidly to serum proteins in the blood, rendering them virtually useless in living organisms. Those treating parasites that are causing chronic fatigue syndrome or are harboring a large infestation of parasites may experience extreme fatigue when starting this form of therapy. Headaches, muscle or joint pain, or flu-like symptoms may also appear. It is important to reduce the therapeutic dosage to a more comfortable level, and then increasing it slowly, allowing the body time to detoxify at a slower pace. Normally, olive leaf extract does not produce any adverse side effects.

Picrasma excelsa (Quassia amara)
Is a common Jamaican tree that produces a bitter tonic useful for killing amoebas, giardia, malaria, pinworms, and some roundworms. The herb does not have an odor, but does have an intensely bitter taste, which distinguishes the pure form from adulterations. This herb contains a group of alkaloids known to inhibit protozoa from reproducing by affecting their basic metabolic processes. Considerable evidence suggests that quassia is also effective against mosquito larva. Toxic symptoms are rare, but if they occur, it is usually in the form of diarrhea or vomiting. It is also a nontoxic, inexpensive, and effective means of treating head lice.

Pinkroot (Spigelia marilandicus)
Is a highly effective vermicide originally used by Native Americans, who introduced it to settlers and early physicians. The plant has the ability to cure infections from intestinal worms and is even effective for treating the fevers caused by parasites. It can produce some unpleasant side effects if large doses are taken; therefore, only the recommended lower doses should be given to children.

Pomegranate (Punica granatum)
Roots had widespread use against tapeworms until less toxic substances were discovered. The fruit rinds and bark are very astringent and effectively used to remove tapeworms and roundworms. The plant does contain an alkaloid that can be toxic if consumed in large quantities, producing such symptoms as muscle weakness, dizziness, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Propolis
Has proven to be 100% effective against some lethal protozoa and will also decrease inflammation associated with parasite infection. It is a natural antibiotic found in leaf buds or the bark of some trees. Bees collect it and add their own enzymes to line their hives, making the environment a sterile place. Propolis can create an antibiotic disease-fighting reaction to almost any illness, stimulating the thymus gland, and enhancing the body’s immune system.

Pumpkin seeds (Cucurbita pepo)
Is a traditional remedy for worms, used for both animals and humans. Seeds of several varieties of the species Cucurbita have long held the reputation for paralyzing, but not killing, worms. However, the viable substance that affects the worms varies even in seeds of the same species, causing reliability to vary too much to be accurate. Therefore, it is important to take a natural laxative to move the worms out of the digestive system before they regain function. It is important to leave the fine inner skin beneath the shell intact. Children are given ten to fifteen seeds a day, and adults, twenty to thirty seeds a day for about two weeks, increasing the number of seeds if tapeworms are a problem. Follow this with a laxative about one hour after each dose of seeds. The treatment can be repeated as often as necessary without any harmful side effects – as long as the laxatives are not taken over a lengthy period of time. When dealing with tapeworms, it is important that the entire worm be expelled, or else it will grow back. Daily consumption of pumpkin seeds may help to prevent parasites from taking up residence in the first place. Another suggestion is for pumpkin seeds and watermelon seeds to be ground to a powder and mixed with a little aloe vera juice and taken on an empty stomach every morning.

Red clover (Trifolium pratense)
Will kill flukes in all stages when used with cloves, black walnut hulls (green), and wormwood.

Sage
The garden variety (Salvia officinalis) and thyme were both used by the Romans as digestive aids, as well as for the treatment of intestinal worms and bacteria. Sage was often mixed with wormseed or white wine to relieve diarrhea or dysentery. Garden sage is not toxic, but excessive amounts can cause a dry mouth or local irritation.

Sarsaparilla (Smilax ornata)
Is a useful blood purifier that can also be used externally to treat skin parasites. When toxins absorbed by the intestines are excessive because the liver is not filtering properly, toxins begin to circulate in the bloodstream. Therefore, this herb can play a vital role in assisting the liver to filter and bind toxic compounds more effectively, especially those released from parasites or bacteria.

Senna (Cassia angustifolia and Cassia senna)
Is an ancient herb known for its laxative action. Today it is one of the most popular stimulant laxatives and is generally regarded as being safe for short term use, but long term dependence can develop. Senna’s chief action is on the lower bowel, causing mucus secretions with rapid contractions. It is best to use it in combination with such other aromatic herbs as cardamom, ginger, fennel, etc., to reduce the cramping. As in the case of Cascara, Senna can be used one hour after eating pumpkin seeds.

Slippery elm (Ulmus fulra)
Is a soothing herb that quickly heals irritations of the intestinal tract, including ulcers and Crohn’s-like symptoms often caused by parasites. It also normalizes bowel function, relieving constipation or diarrhea. In addition, it is an excellent binder and cleanser. Externally, slippery elm can be moistened and applied to sores, wounds, and infected areas.

Tansy (Tanacetum vulgaris)
Is largely used for expelling worms in children, but only under the supervision of a qualified herbalist since there are some side effects if used improperly.

Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca alternifolia)
Is a powerful all-purpose antiinfective, especially against Trichomonas vaginalis, when used as a daily douche (0.4% solution of oil in 1 quart of water twice a day).

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
Is an ancient remedy used as a digestive aid, antiseptic, and for treatment of intestinal worms. It should not be used in large amounts, however. Externally, it can be used as a mouthwash and for cleansing the skin. It will destroy such fungal infections as athlete’s foot and such skin parasites as scabies, crabs, and lice. For these purposes, a tincture or an essential oil is used. When used internally, essential oils leave very little margin for error, so use it only with supervision from a knowledgeable herbalist.

Turmeric (Curcuma longa)
Is a common root used in Indian dishes. It has long been used to treat dysentary and to expel worms from the body. It is also known as a body purifier, and can be use both internally and externally to heal wounds. Turmeric contains a substance that limits the inflammation caused by extensive tissue damage from parasites. Because turmeric may also stimulate the production of bile, it should be avoided when treating the amoeba, Giardia, since bile stimulates the growth and proliferation of this organism. Regular use poses no threat, but high doses can cause ulcers.

Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium)
Is an ancient remedy used to kill various parasites – as indicated by the name. It is effective against a variety of worms, including the giant intestinal roundworm (Ascaris lumbricoides). Wormwood is intensely bitter, and parasites are generally repelled because of this. The dried and powdered flowers are excellent for expelling worms, and the leaves are sufficient to eliminate all live worms and many other parasites. WORMWOOD IS MORE TOXIC WHEN USED ALONE, so it is best to combine it with other herbs. The oil of wormwood is especially toxic. Avoid giving it to children. The Chinese wormwood (Artemisia annua) is known as the sweet variety used to treat the parasite that causes malaria, Plasmodium falciparum. It contains the chemical artemesin, not found in any other species of Artemesia, and is now being viewed as a possible prototype for a new antimalarial medicine. This herb shows a broad spectrum of activity against protozoa and yeast. It is also effective against the liver fluke (Clonorchis sinensis), the blood fluke (Schistosoma japonicum), and the amoeba Giardia and other protozoa. This herb has a low toxicity level, and no side effects have been reported. It appears safe to use, even with heart, liver, or kidney diseases, as well as during pregnancy. The herb is not only effective, but quick-acting. It is able to cross the blood-brain barrier, making it effective against amoebic infections of the brain. High doses of antioxidant supplementation should be withheld during treatment of protozoan infection, especially when using A. annua. When taking for a Cryptosporidium infection, use 1000 mg. three times a day for twenty days. This herb may be given along with grapefruit seed extract or other antiparasitic herb. When treating malaria with A. annua, use for ten days. A. cina is very effective against worms. Since this herb is very bitter, it is advised that children take it in pill form. A. cina combines well with Cassia marilandica (American senna). HOWEVER, this herb can be fatal, so it must be dosed out accurately and only under the care of a knowledgeable herbalist.

Yellow gentian (Gentiana lutea)
Is an ancient herb used for treating malaria. This gastric stimulant is used to improve digestion, and has antiseptic properties. It also possesses a strong activity against the protozoa, Entamoeba histolytica, as well as expelling other intestinal worms. Yellow gentian strengthens the body system, and is an excellent tonic when combined with an herbal laxative. This prevents gentian from becoming toxic. In addition, because it is a bitter herb, combining it with an aromatic herb, makes it more palatable. It is not well tolerated, however, by those with high blood pressure or pregnant women.