By now, you probably know a thing or two about bacteria, fungi, and viruses, along with the natural remedies that kill them. But, what about intestinal parasites? These organisms live in and derive nutrition from, our gut.
The most common kinds of parasites in America are tapeworms, pinworms, and roundworms. They can multiply in the body and cause serious infections. And, in order to figure out if you do have intestinal parasites, you’d need to watch out for a few symptoms.
Symptoms Of Intestinal Parasitic Infections
Poor hygiene, a weakened immune system, and bad sanitation (of food or water) could lead to intestinal parasitic infections. Additionally, children and the elderly are at a higher risk of getting infected. Interestingly, parasites can live in the body without causing any symptoms. But, when they do, you’ll most likely experience the following:
- Gas and bloating
- Stomach pain
- Rashes or itching in your genital area
- Loose stools with blood and mucus
- Weight loss
In some cases, you might even see worms in your stool. If you suspect an infection, do see a professional immediately. However, you could use a few home remedies to supplement your treatment.1
Natural Remedies For Intestinal Parasitic Infections
Natural treatment options for intestinal parasites are simple and easy to follow. And, along with conventional treatment, they can help speed up the recovery process.
1. Papaya Seeds
Did you know that papaya seeds are edible? In fact, when ground up into a powder, they can be used like black pepper for cooking. But, most importantly, papaya seeds are believed to destroy parasitic worms.
A 2007 study in the Journal of Medicinal Food put this to the test. For the experiment, researchers divided 60 Nigerian children with intestinal parasites, into 2 groups. One group was given air-dried papaya seeds while the other was given honey. Stool samples from each group were tested after 7 days.
The papaya seed group had no signs of parasites. Most importantly, there didn’t experience any harmful side effects, making this remedy a good option.2
Garlic is known for killing fungi, bacteria, and viruses. And, now you can add parasites to the list!
A 2016 animal study found that garlic fights intestinal parasites by stopping them from reproducing and maturing! In fact, garlic seemed to work just as well as Metronidazole, the conventional anti-parasite drug of choice.3
3. Bishop’s Weed
If you can find bishop’s weed, you could take advantage of its anti-parasitic properties. The plant is a medicinal Chinese herb and a traditional antiparasitic plant in Northeast India.
Four major phytochemicals in Bishop’s weed – biochanin A, ursolic acid, betulinic acid and beta-sitosterol – are responsible for treating parasites.4 And, if you’d like to give Bishop’s weed a try, visit your local Chinese or Asian grocery store to see if they have it. It also goes by fish leaf, fish mint, fishwort, and heartleaf, and can be had as a tea.
Come fall, pumpkin seeds are all the rage. But, if you’re having troubles with intestinal parasites, this tasty treat might double up as a natural remedy.
Pumpkin seeds are rich in fatty acids, amino acids, and compounds called berberine, cucurbitine, and palatine. These compounds might destroy some parasites, according to 2016 study in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences.
Researchers in this study even propose that pumpkin seeds might be able to replace drug remedies one day.5 You could add pumpkin seeds to your meals or have them straight from the packet.
At the health store, barberry is generally labeled “bayberry root bark.” You could consume it in the form of tea, supplements, or extracts. If you do choose to try supplements, be sure to consult a professional first.
Although parasitic infections can make you extremely frustrated and uncomfortable, they are easy to treat. However, be sure to consult a professional even if you have the slightest of doubts.
|↑2||Okeniyi, John AO, Tinuade A. Ogunlesi, Oyeku A. Oyelami, and Lateef A. Adeyemi. “Effectiveness of dried Carica papaya seeds against human intestinal parasitosis: a pilot study.” Journal of medicinal food 10, no. 1 (2007): 194-196.|
|↑3||Morsy, Tosson A., Mohamed F. Abouel-Nour, Dina Magdy M. El-Shewehy, and Shadia F. Hamada. “The Efficacy of Three Medicinal Plants; Garlic, Ginger and Mirazid and a Chemical Drug Metronidazole against Cryptosporidium Parvum: Ii-Histological Changes.” Journal of the Egyptian Society of Parasitology 46, no. 1 (2016): 185-200.|
|↑4||Yadav, Arun K. “In vitro anthelmintic assessment of selected phytochemicals against Hymenolepis diminuta, a zoonotic tapeworm.” Journal of Parasitic Diseases 40, no. 3 (2016): 1082-1086.|
|↑5||Grzybek, Maciej, Wirginia Kukula-Koch, Aneta Strachecka, Aleksandra Jaworska, Andrew M. Phiri, Jerzy Paleolog, and Krzysztof Tomczuk. “Evaluation of Anthelmintic Activity and Composition of Pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo L.) Seed Extracts—In Vitro and in Vivo Studies.” International journal of molecular sciences 17, no. 9 (2016): 1456.|
|↑6||Imanshahidi, Mohsen, and Hossein Hosseinzadeh. “Pharmacological and therapeutic effects of Berberis vulgaris and its active constituent, berberine.” Phytotherapy research 22, no. 8 (2008): 999-1012.|
|↑7||Mahmoudvand, Hossein, Ebrahim Saedi Dezaki, Fariba Sharififar, Behrouz Ezatpour, Sareh Jahanbakhsh, and Majid Fasihi Harandi. “Protoscolecidal effect of Berberis vulgaris root extract and its main compound, berberine in cystic echinococcosis.” Iranian journal of parasitology 9, no. 4 (2014): 503.|