Intestinal parasites are everywhere it seems–in the ground, in our food and water, even in the air. In fact, it’s hard to live and not be host to at least some of these nasty creatures. There are 3,200 different varieties of parasites, which can range in size from microscopic to inches, or in some cases, even several feet long. The World Health Organization estimates that as many as 85 percent of the world’s population may be infected.
Parasites live in our intestines primarily, but can navigate to other parts of the body such as the lungs, liver or even the brain. They feed on their ‘host’ (that would be you) by gobbling up the nutrients in the food you eat or infecting and feeding on your blood. Some types of parasites even feed on internal organs.
Worse, parasites can live in the body for years without causing obvious symptoms. You may just feel a general malaise or fatigue. Other symptoms can include recurrent diarrhea, abdominal pain, gas, bloating and weight loss. However, not all parasites are created equal. Certain types of infestations, left untreated, may result in illness or even death.
If you think you may have intestinal parasites you can be tested and treated effectively. Even without a test, it is advisable to do a parasite cleanse at least once a year. The following are ways–medical and alternative–to rid your body of its unwanted guests.
1. See your doctor. He can test your stool for parasites and administer potent drugs to kill them. Different drugs target different parasites. The most common anti-parasite drugs are mebendazole (Vermox) for roundworm, hookworm, pinworm; thiabendazole (Mintezol) for threadworm and pork worm; metronidazole (Flagyl) for a protozoan infection called giardiasis; and nitazoxanide (Alinia) for the protozoa giardiasi and cryptosporidiosis.
2. Take herbs for parasite cleansing. Herbs have been used for hundreds of years to cleanse the body. Ginger is especially lethal to roundworms and can be used in essential oil form. Other useful herbs include thyme, summer savory, chamomile, elecampane, rosemary, wormwood and gentian. A qualified herbalist or alternative healthcare provider should oversee your dosages. You can even make an intestinal parasite tea to drink during your cleanse. For the recipe, go to: http://www.mothernature.com/Library/Bookshelf/Books/15/92.cfm
3. Eat garlic. Garlic is toxic to parasites and was used by the ancient Chinese as well as the Greeks and Romans to expel them from the body. You can eat it raw–three cloves every morning–or take garlic pills. If you can’t stand the taste, another effective way to get your garlic is to rub fresh cloves on your feet. The garlic will be absorbed into the body and make its way to the intestines via the bloodstream.
4. Make a parasite-killing drink using pumpkin or papaya seeds. The seeds of these fruits are powerful agents for destroying parasites. Pumpkin seeds are most effective, while all parts of the papaya plant, including the leaves, will work. For detailed instructions on making pumpkin or papaya infusions along with dosages go to: http://www.home-remedies-for-you.com/remedy/Intestinal-Worms.html
5. Use homeopathy. Although science is not sure exactly how it works, homeopathy triggers the body’s own natural defenses to create healing using an individual diagnostic approach. An experienced homeopath will be able to determine the type of parasitic infection you have and customize your treatment using homeopathic remedies. She will take into account your age as well as your physical and emotional makeup before prescribing the remedy and will be there to monitor your progress.